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+, +, +, +, + very brave and interesting story and atmosphere, i’d even call it “courageous” (in that suicidal kind of political sense) in that I wouldn’t be surprised if the edginess of their story cost them investors or maybe even political problems. What’s so strange about a silly “America gets invaded” story? If anything that’s the opposite, you might argue, and indeed that’s how the prequel game sort of felt, but whether through more thinking about it or (as I have come to suspect) through it being a metaphor for something much bigger and much more tabu, this game felt on a much deeper level.

+, +, +, +, – amazing length and depth. The game is huge, much bigger than I was expecting, and one of those rare gems that actually keeps some of its best content to spread it all over the story, even for the later parts. This is also a tiny negative because maybe the team might’ve been overly ambitious for their budget as maybe this is the reason why some regions might feel a bit thinner than what might’ve been needed to make a huge impact masterpiece

– there were small moments of being confused or unclear as to where to go next. I hear there were even bugs initially but by the time I played it the bugs were mostly gone and for anybody giving it a try now I’d say it’s overall a great game. The little moments of problem that might still remain are because you have to look around a bit more than might be comfortable

-, +, +, +, + this is not a “light” or clearly “fun” game, not just because of the great immersive storytelling, but in the sense of the atmosphere, the whole immersion. This was a minus even for me as it does for this kind of game what I would think maybe the difference is between a Gran Turismo car simulation and an arcade car show game like maybe some Need for Speeds. What I mean to say by that is that while most games about a revolution do little to get you into the mood of the place, but you feel like you’re always winning, this game is oppressive, sometimes even hard to bear. The propaganda you hear on the radios and everywhere is almost realistic, it’s almost convincing at times and certainly oppressive as opposed to caricatural. But I still count this as an overall positive because IF you’re willing to put up with it even if, like myself, with breaks of weeks, then you get something much more to a “simulation”. This is even stronger because:

-, -, +, +, + in terms of gameplay complemented by atmosphere also it’s the same: i’ve experienced quite a bit of frustration because I kept approaching this game like (in the above metaphor) a “Call of Duty” type hero game… this was frustrating. It’s only when i realized that this is NOT that, that this is a guerrilla, a behind enemy lines and always losing, a they’re in superiority and you’re weak, you’re lucky if you make a tiny difference, only when i started to accept that I started to do better and enjoy the game and also started to better get the story it was telling

+, +, + maybe i’m reading too much into this, but I had the impression that the game at times is trying to tell even bigger stories, the kinds of stories that you can only tell in history or scifi, because they’d be rejected about contemporary times by those in power and the well controlled public point of view. That sometimes in not being able to tell the contemporary stories it flips them so hard that it becomes ridiculous and I couldn’t help but wonder if the story it’s trying to tell is about something else than what it says it is. Hints that made me think like that (and if so I can imagine why the minds behind this were unloved/unfunded) is for example the great villain, and how it’s presented, it’s nothing half credible, it’s not even developed South Korea but poor starving North Korea, and yet here in the game they do all the things that America might’ve done in other countries. There’s a lot of references how in the game the americans loved initially the NKorean humanitarian aid, but then found themselves trapped and controlled, how they became dependent and loved NKorean technology but then lost their political and social freedoms, about their debts. There’s even cinematics of presentations from NKorea that look eerily like a Steve Jobs type presenting a new tablet to a cheering crowd… I got the feeling that the game tried to tell more than it could.

– sure the game is sometimes a bit rough around the corners, could’ve used more money for polish, though for the reasons above I’m not surprised they didn’t get it, what does surprise me is that it was made, and as well as it has

+, +, +, + great environmental love, attention to details. It’s not that it always looks beautiful, though there’s moments of that too, it’s more the touches, the uniqueness, the personality

– the gameplay does seem to be occasionally a bit stale/repetitive, yet at the same times it builds consistency and familiarity in going to the different zones with similar patterns, each having a certain flair

+ good music

+, +, + a great variety of gameplay tricks. There’s even a great implemented remote controlled car

-, -, +, + the game does little handholding. This can be a repeated source of frustration as you don’t know what to do, but then as you’re forced to actually look around, to really observe, you feel a big reward when you actually notice how to use a secondary side building to get the the building you were actually trying to go to through a circuitous route

+, +, +, +, + some extraordinary acting segments, great acting, great story, including wonderfully imperfect and flawed characters. Great motion capture, even for background characters that set the scene for a location.

+, +, + Like WOOOW, this game had the biggest secret I have ever found in a game, and I’ve seen many amazing easter eggs, but this game (and shockingly late in the game) had an arcade machine which when I started I couldn’t believe my eyes, it had whole levels out of the game Timesplitters 2 which was for me one of the more remarkable games of the ps2. It’s one thing to have games which emulate some old DOS games, which while I appreciated in Wolfenstein, but this is on a whole new level in size… we’re talking here about a game with full on scripted moments and true 3d. I’m afraid it’s just a few maps, but still, very very impressive. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Overall I’d call this a diamond in the rough. Maybe at release it was much more buggy then I experienced it, and maybe that’s why i see the hugely overwhelming negative press around this game, or maybe it was simply its serious tone, whatever the reason I think this is a huge gem that undeservedly got a super bad press. I’ve just bought the DLCs also and look forward to them and am genuinely sad for all the bad reviews it got and am fearful the studio will be killed off by this, which is sad because I could feel a lot of love behind this game, and despite the fact that it could’ve used some more polish I’d give this game a 3.4 on a -5 to 5 scale. I think this is an extraordinary and remarkable game, a one of a kind story and atmosphere that you’d miss something in life on to never have experienced as a gamer. I think of these developers with this game as people who had the flaw of being overly ambitious, but hey, if that’s a sin, may more developers have this sin that they may make such great masterpieces. It saddens me that they may pay the price but gamers across the world and posterity got a fantastic gem as a reward.