Is not easy to evaluate. It contains both brilliant findings and significant drawbacks.
is the worst thing in this game. Complete linearity is not an issue, as storytelling manner and diverse surroundings keep brain busy, not letting you get bored. What is a gameplay issue - combined lack of complexity and lack of originality. You start playing a level, get grasp of what needs to be done, and then level ends. In gameplay perspective, Master Reboot
is a collection of tutorials for different games: stealthy hide-and-seek, tetris-like car avoidance game, time race, Mario-like platformer and some more. Only gameplay elements that develop are exploration and puzzle-solving. Still, they are quite primitive. To say something pleasant, I will admit that one of the puzzles is truly brilliant and original. One out of circa two dozens. Four of which are actually the same puzzle that needs to be solved four times in a row (did I told you about lack of originality?)Art
is second drawback. Everything player sees looks like it is made from plasticine. I am no fan of fancy graphics, but rectangular beds with rectangular pillows on them are a little too schematic even for me. Maybe this style is derived from Psychonauts
, but somehow there it looked good and here it looks bad. Player gets ambushed by a ghost from a closet three times, and all those three times - same fighting animation of same models in same position (yes, 'position', not 'positions'). Sound sample library is quite small, you can hear recurring sound patterns. It all damages immersion into atmosphere badly, constantly reminding you that you are interacting with a simulation of simulation. Needs to be said, not all art is that bad - papers you find in blue ducks and drawings in Goddess of Death signs are actually awesome.
Program names in Soul Cloud have .exe extension. Designers, are you kidding? You telling me that enormous cloud solution capable of holding human personality inside itself will run on Windows
? No surprise it turned out so easy to hack!
Game contains cool mechanic of hacking wood with an axe. I enjoyed it a lot. Also, axe is ultimate hacking tool in this game. Just great.
Despite all those bad things I said about art, game atmosphere
is clearly an advantage. Struggling with unknown world, recombining story of your life piece by piece and constant threats from Serene create great immersion and motivation to move on. Characters
are good, their dramatic experience is interesting and understandable. Only exception is David, which looks like more of a human-like decoration than a living person. Antagonist deserves explicit kind word, as he is not a brutal destroyer, as it often happens, but a crazed creator.
The strongest aspect of Master Reboot
(and, for that, I am ready to forgive all its drawbacks). What starts looking like simple cyberpunk narrative about people losing their personalities in a world of soulless demonic machines, slowly and subtly turns into story about people, whose struggle, hard work and love changed world, and reminds us about simple but important thing - machines can never change who we really are, only we can. It reminds us that tools we create can make our lives easier and happier, but they cannot make us kind, selfless, diligent and rational, as they cannot cure envy, malice or infantility.
It reminds us that greatest threat for any human being is another human being, and that no machine should be feared more.
This is not a game everyone would enjoy. But it surely is a good finding for those who are attuned to cyberpunk, used to complicated storytelling, and like asking questions about nature of human personality.