The somber and gritty atmosphere of Liberated feels like a splice between Gotham and 1984, which is fitting given the comic-book aesthetic that the game is designed with. Each level is an issue, and cutscenes are expressed through panels, whilst the gameplay itself takes place in larger panels, meaning that you scroll through the various books, taking part in an eerie noir adventure that puts you in control, or at least, as much as a side-scroller can.
Story-wise, Liberated is a mysterious enigma, with it being clear from the get-go, through its Watch_Dogs-like scanning system, that the government is, in true V for Vendetta fashion, monitoring the public and scrutinizing on their every waking moment – it’s not too far-fetched from reality. In the introductory, you’re on the run, and then you strap on the shoes of a captain in the second issue, gunning down a strange band of what seem to be freedom fighters, with ghastly white masks and haunting silhouettes that linger in the shadows. Toppled with the classic comic onomatopoeia expressions like ‘bang’ that pop out when you shoot your gun and Liberated well and truly cements itself as a playable graphic novel.
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It’s all fine and dandy that Liberated embraces its inspirations with style, succeeding in spades, but it’s a video-game first and foremost, so how does it handle? Well, I played on PC with an Xbox One controller and it was well and truly intuitive and responsive. The most comparable experience is Black The Fall, another indie Orwellian dystopia, albeit with far more communism. Gunplay is simplistic, as you point and pull the trigger, before automatically reloading when the mag empties, and movement is limited, given the sidescroller format, but the puzzles, level design, and obstacle courses are a treat, so simplicity works in their favor.
The demo was an unfortunate small portion of the game, sitting at a playtime of twenty minutes, and the release date is set ambiguously in Q2 2020, and I cannot wait. Whilst brief, I was left clinging for more, and I’m finding myself delving into similar titles, like the aforementioned Black The Fall, grasping for something to scratch the itch that I didn’t know I had. Unfortunately, given the uniquely excellent atmosphere and wonderful comic-book aesthetic that Liberated basks itself in, nothing else is hitting the spot, and so I’m left waiting for the full release of this brilliant experience.
Thank you for checking out our Liberated Preview, thank you to Armor Games Studios and Game If You Are PR for the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out!)
- Belinda Cubitt