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LIBERATED is a visually stylish comic-book brought to life in a manner that suits your style of play.

You can go for the Action based game or the campaign/thinking person's game, either way this is a weirdly unusual and disturbing game.
It has the depressing dystopian future we are continually being warned about as its main background theme, though it takes its life from games such as Earthdawn™ and CyberPunk™ which should make it appealing to fans of dark future horror.

From the off you are thrown into a confusion of what to do and how to do it. Then you realise you are in a side-scroller and you need to go catch a train so it's handy you are already on a Station Platform, though why you are currently where you currently are is not explained, nor necessary to know. You quickly discover you need to move to your right and so you set off at a run. I failed to get to the train the first few times because I didn't understand the urgency of my plight.

I reached the train twice and eventually, third time, I managed to position myself in the exactly required space to press [Q] and get on the train before it departed. From there on the game continues in the same vein but getting better as it goes along. [Q] becomes a very important key especially when combined with the [LMB] as it allows you to hide in nooks and crannies and to sneak out behind a guard or whoever and silently despatch them. At this point I had managed to kill 2 (Policemen? - that's what they looked like) but continuously missed my timing on the third; luckily he just sends you back to the start of the current scene, but the man doesn't reset to his original position, so if you run back hoping to get to where you had made it to before [being caught] you will almost certainly run into him and be captured again.

 

WASD or Arrow Keys generally move your character along the screen. The visuals appear to be game-noir black & white 3D buildings etc but in fact are 2D and your movement is basically Left or Right. LIBERATED is a gorgeous hand-drawn action-adventure comic book game about a revolution in a cyberpunk world. As the player you are in an activist group fightingthe government over its oppressive use of power whilst trying to uncover the truth about the reality you live in.

First released on Nintendo Switch, the game will come to PC with visual improvements as well as 2 free DLC chapters and full English voice-overs done by the award-winning localization agency, Roboto Global.  Priced at $19.99, €18.99, £15.99. LIBERATED is available on Steam, GOG.com, Humble Bundle, and GeForce Now.

 

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The action is an almost seamless juxtaposition of comic book and arcade adventure which borders on a multitude of scenarios you may well have encountered (or similar to) in tabletop role-playing games of the 80s and 90s in particular.

You can be involved in espionage, gunfights and a myriad other situations while you try to discover a better way to live. Science and technology are now the villains when they were once the greatest things since sliced bread. Humans corrupted by power and under the influence and will of machines are killing society, have actually done a good job of destroying much of it. Civil liberties and freedom of speech are amongst the social aspects of life that have fallen under the immense pressure of non-social media. There is no real good versus evil, it's now more like greed and cowardice versus the will of the people. A revolution has begun and you are deeply involved in it.

 

In all honesty this isn't the sort or genre of game I play too often. The future is now always displayed as dystopian, bleak, almost unlive-able, with mankind only being a backwards stone-throw away from the days of a cavemen existence. 

I am not a great fan of side-scrolling games though I understand their appeal and would never be detrimental to a game simply because it used a mechanic not popular with myself. Apart from the sideways movement LIBERATED's style reminded me of a Keanu Reeves movie, 'A Scanner Darkly' from a number of years back, 2006 apparently. 

Complete with speech bubbles, boxed information and 60s Batman Battle Emotions and Sounds, this is a story where the action, killing is necessary. Mankind needs to fight back but also to wake up to what is occurring around it, and to which it is inexcusably and unfortunately, part of.

Although much of it is in Black & White the game is Grey. Your actions drive the tale. Your actions, as long as you take knock backs without flinching, expand and extend the story. There are Black areas and White areas (I do not mean that racially) but overall the game and almost everything in it is Grey! There is a gloomy darkess to every scene, every part of the adventure is tinged with it until you are screaming for a bit of colour, but at the same time you know that colour might pop the doom. Frank Miller did it with Sin City and it worked fantastically well. Here it is innovative and just as sparse. 

 

LIBERATED is a noir-game for players who are looking for something different, for players with imagination, for comic book aficionados and for lovers of the bizarre, unique, unusual, weird. Think of a marriage between A Scanner Darkly and Sin City and you are on the right track to explain the complexities within this look at what may be the future of mankind.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015