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Preview: State of Mind (PC)By Ofisil At 31.07.2018 16:20

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State of Mind constantly jumps between two, seemingly separate, storylines, which unfold in locations that seem to be polar opposites. On the one hand there's Richard Nolan, who lives in a dystopian, near-future Berlin, where machines constantly replace humans in every possible way, and an omnipresent surveillance is online 24/7, with Nolan being far from friendly towards that world. On the other side of the spectrum is Adam Newman, who lives in a perfect utopia, with no food, water, or energy crisis, and, of course, no crime - something that has a lot to do with the fact that this is nothing more than a digital heaven.

The lives of the two protagonists collide as they find themselves at the very centre of the ones behind this virtual realm, and the mission bestowed upon the player will be to find out all about it. State of Mind obviously has a pretty interesting concept on its hands, however, strictly in terms of direction, the world of narrative-driven titles has seen much better. In other words, the plot is great, but it's not that well-told.

The characters are fine and all, especially in the case of the much more realistic and relatable Richard Nolan; the writing and dialogue quality is more than decent; and the low-poly worlds are finely crafted, immersive, and distinct, whether that's the dark, cyber-punkish Berlin of Richard, or the bright and dreamy utopia of Adam… but that's where the good things end.

The game doesn't really "funnel" the player into its narrative in the best of ways. First of all, the pacing is all over the place. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, there are many scenes where nothing really seems to happen; scenes that end with an abrupt transition to the next one in line, something that's bound to leave most scratching their heads thinking "did something happen here that I didn't notice?" Now, while it's easy to forgive the game for this somewhat half-baked introductory chapter, the rest of the 10-or-so-hours better be in a better shape…

The worst thing about State of Mind, however, is the actual gameplay, which can be summed up to running from green cursor to green cursor, pressing 'OK,' and simply watch a scene happen, or engaging in some semi-multiple choice conversations - oh and, by the way, there's little to no extra interactions along the way. Again, the world is quite an engrossing one, but that won't be enough for the complete product.

The only part where this feels - barely - like a videogame is when it forces you to do some detective work… which frankly is stupefyingly simplistic, since it's all about connecting a bunch of dots (photos, notes, or whatever), and nothing more than that. Simply put, a traditional adventure game this is not. It should once again be mentioned that the story is very interesting, and that will be enough for many people, but, hopefully, the actual gameplay will follow suit.

User Comments
#1 RudyC3 - on 31.07.2018 at 17:20

From the sound of things, this sounds very much like a Telltale game, like the Walking Daed games, where all is about the narrative and very little about actual gameplay. Yet those games are amongst the best there are out there at doing what they do: tell an interactive story.

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