Friday, 13 March 2015

There Came An Echo / Episode 6 / End Simulation

And so we hit the end. An ending I would definitely class as unexpected. It basically comes out of left field in order to answer the last remaining questions. I can't say it is one I thought was particularly cool, which is a pity because as you can see in my last post I was really having fun riffing on some of the ideas introduced in the tower. Ultimately I think I was way more interested in exploring them than the game was.

There Came An Echo does achieve the primary hook, it is a tactics game that can be fully controlled with your voice. It still missed enough that I got frustrated at times, but not to a point where it was unplayable, and I am not sure if some of those instances weren't just bugs.

That said, the voice control limits it in unusual ways, your squad size has to be manageable, the battlefield has to be split up into predefined points, your limited squad size results in smaller enemy confrontations and the vocabulary you can use is limited and definable. You can really see the trade offs they had to make for this to all work and the end result is mostly novelty. The best system to come from this is the Mark system. I actually really want to be able to use it in other real time games. To be able to queue up a bunch of different orders to be executed at one specific time in the future.

Being able to set a single mark is useful enough, but being able to have multiple marks means you can try to set up contingencies a thing I am pretty bad at handling in these kinds of games. All you need is a bit of prep time to get it all going.

The art, animation and voice acting all tie together really well, soldiers even stick their guns out of of their shields when threatening people. The writing up until the end was also good enough, they answered questions at similar times to when I asked them, characters mostly acted in a believable manner and no one was particularly one sided.

Then we get that ending followed the best video game credits sequence I have ever seen, though admittedly one that could never be done by a AAA studio.

Overall really happy with having backed There Came An Echo, I am glad it exists and that Iridium are building new and interesting games.

It is available over on Steam right now and I believe is also coming out on consoles at some point in the future.

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