Gamedec (PC) Review

By Athanasios 18.05.2022

Review for Gamedec on PC

For some strange reason, cyberpunk doesn't get the same amount of love as medieval fantasy. Not in cinema, not in comics, and certainly not video games. Moreso, when it makes an appearance, it's not even done that well. Cyberpunk 2077, for instance is cyberpunk in terms of style, but not so much in terms of substance, unlike, say, the Deus Ex and System Shock series, or even "unknown" indies the likes of Whispers of a Machine, which manage to capture the essence of the genre. The good news is that the Matrix-esque Gamedec understands what cyberpunk means. The bad news is that this high-tech detective adventure is not that intriguing as an actual game.

You are a Gamedec. A detective of real crimes, which take place in "fake" worlds. In the gloomy (yet shiny) dystopia of 21XX Warsaw, VR has reached its peak, with people losing themselves in digital realms for hours and hours; realms that are so "real," that actual bad things can happen, ranging from hackers hijacking one's bank account, to more serious stuff like death, whether through equipment failure, overuse, or actual murderous intend from someone. Your Gamedec begins his adventure after he or she gets a call from a business tycoon of some sort, whose son has gone missing inside the… well, the adult section of the matrix, and it is then where players will get a chance to see how this play.

Screenshot for Gamedec on PC

So, how does this play? The short answer is: like a detective point-and-click adventure. You gather clues (physical or otherwise), and use them to make a deduction, and solve the case. The long answer is a bit more complex, though. Gamedec is both an adventure, and a CRPG-style game, with zero combat, and dialogue at the forefront. In practice, the protagonist explores a top-down world, interacts with the environment, talks with people, and after lots of work, opens up the Deduction menu, and tries to connect the dots, by mixing and matching bits of info. The interesting part is that you can reach a wrong decision, and ruin your investigation, or even cause harm to others, but, truth be told, you won't be penalized that much, so this carries little weight.

The process of deduction is arguably the best thing on offer, but it's not perfect. A lot of times you are forced into picking a specific solution to a case, simply because the Gamedec failed to find more clues. The biggest problem, however, lies elsewhere. The majority of time spend here doesn't revolve around solving puzzles, exploring, or whatever. This is mainly about talking. It's no exaggeration to say that in the relatively short amount you need to reach the finishing line, you will have read a small novel. There tons of text at hand, so the aspect of writing is definitely the most important one. Sadly, it's also where this fails…

Screenshot for Gamedec on PC

Forget the many typos, which are to be expected from a text-heavy, indie release from Poland, or the many, many, many new terminologies that turn conversations into walls of text that are hard to comprehend. These are easy to stomach, unlike how monotonous, and lifeless dialogue is. Those who are in love with Obsidian's prose, which makes you read every single word, will find themselves pressing the skip button, and in a game where you are supposed to pay attention to every piece of information that you can find, and where your choice matters. That's not a good sign. The mediocre-to-subpar writing ruins the high concepts and themes that are explored here, makes it impossible to care for any character, and, in the end kills one's immersion and drive to keep on sleuthing. You won't care, and as such, you'll find yourself going through the motions just to reach a conclusion.

Screenshot for Gamedec on PC

If that wasn't enough, this struggles with making players understand the mechanics. The first hour or so is basically a large tutorial, but so much information is thrown at you that it will be hard to keep up. It's not that the mechanics are hard to understand, though. Gamedec simply doesn't handle the explanation bit all that well. Even the codex, where a great deal of information is stored while playing, turns out to be something needlessly complex, with paragraphs on top of paragraphs, whereas a few lines of text would suffice. The codex is basically a collection of interviews, dialogue logs, advertisements, and so on and forth, rather than the to-the-point journal that it should be. Style over substance, no matter how you look at it.

The Gamedec has a set of skills, which are tied to his chosen profession; skills which in turn open up new dialogue options or actions, with more skills to unlock as you play. The interesting part is that this is connected to some personality stats that decrease or increase depending on the way dialogue is handled. There are two problems here, however. The first is the lack of any decent feedback to know whether dialogue has affected your stats after a decision, and the second is the fact the system sometimes does weird things. For example, you might choose the cynically realistic and "cold," logical answer, and see a trait like 'Calm' or 'Empathy' rise, in essence marring the whole roleplaying that can be done here.

Screenshot for Gamedec on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Pretty much all the pieces for a good detective game are there, but Gamedec fails for a variety of reasons. Apart from an unhelpful, tutorial-esque chapter that confuses more than it helps, and a UI that makes simple things harder, the writing is extremely boring, ruining the incentive to keep on sleuthing, as it is hard to care about anything, or even remember what is actually going on. Bad writing isn't just a small thing here, either, with almost 90% of the experience revolving around reading text.

Developer

Anshar Studios

Publisher

Anshar Publishing

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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