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Gamedec – Review

A single-player detective adventure game with a heavily scripted story coursing through its veins.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Detective adventure game. Isometric presentation. Cyberpunk setting. Wide range of well-crafted locations. Good variety of crafted NPC individuals. Scripted, linear but self-deterministic story with arcs. Point & click style interaction system with some depth. Minimal character creation. Unrestrictive clue and deduction system. Occupational skill system for additional interaction options. Forgiving design generates some replayability. Made with no soft-caps. Text-heavy, requires lots of reading. Extensive Codex feature full of important game data. No combat system. Single-player.
ACHIEVEMENTS: STORY AND QUEST BASED. WILL LIKELY REQUIRE AT LEAST TWO PLAYS.
STATUS: RECENTLY RELEASED. STILL BEING SUPPORTED
TO BUY: A GOOD PRICE. IF UNSURE A SMALL SALE SHOULD SWEETEN THE DEAL.

More info below….

Review
Character creation in Gamedec is simple. With Origin and Values providing some effect on future interaction choices.

THE LOWDOWN:

Gamedec. A single-player detective adventure game with a heavily scripted story coursing through its veins. Set in a cyberpunk-themed world of the future. Where technology has advanced to create virtual realms akin to MMOs melded with virtual reality on powerful steroids. Allowing people to fully immerse themselves and live an existence within these artificial environments.

The game delivers a point-and-click experience with isometric presentation. Similar to games made using the Infinity engine. A style that should be familiar to fans of Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment. These worlds are replete with individuals hiding behind masks of 1s and 0s. Causing and perpetrating their own set of problems and crimes. Inhabitants lucky enough to possess the funds can hire professional detectives or Gamedecs; to track down these malefactors to discover and solve the shenanigans they are up to. After some brief character creation, the story begins.

Players take on the role of a Gamedec. A detective that lives in the real world but specialises in solving cases in virtual ones. Operating from an apartment that acts like a hub, players take on a string of cases. Sleuthing for a succession of clues to help uncover their version of the truth. Sometimes even having to take leads into the real world in the pursuit of finding resolution.

Isometric RPG
Cases are gained in real-world locations. This one has VR cots to plug into cyberspace.

Gameplay, in Gamedec centers on following a self-deterministic story with a fair number of possible arcs. Full of intrigue, suspense and mystery. Requiring the character visit a multitude of locations. Highlighting cursors to interact with critical constructs. Be they avatar, real-world dweller, or object. An Interaction System allows for action or dialogue to be conducted. Items picked up. Tasks attempted. Through dialogue, new quests can be gained. Even some abstracted combat can take place. It is a system where choices matter. It is the only game mechanic by which critical leads can be discovered. Leads provide clues. Clues allow for deductions. Deductions lock story arcs in place. Thereby affecting the experience of the current playthrough.

The player’s aim is to advance the story by finding enough relevant clues to make one of several available deductions about a case. When enough clues have been amassed, deductions can be made. Each deduction has more than one possible outcome. Deductions are the critical factor in determining how the story unfolds. Disregarding certain deductions or opting for other ones, ensures those story branches never take place. At least for that particular game. Selected deductions go on to reveal more deductions, which the player must work to solve. Requiring the discovery of their own clues. Eventually, the story progresses to the point that the case can be solved and the level can be ended. After which the Gamedec returns to the hub.

Deduction
Deduction branches, lead to further deductions or the end of the case.

There are several types of options available in the Interaction System. As well as basic story-driven choices, players have access to other choices depending on the particular origin chosen at character creation. Not as prevalent are choices previously made in the game’s past. These can also influence the flow of a conversation. Giving positive or negative options depending on the character’s standing with NPCs. Then there are Occupational choices.

Gamedec uses a skill system to allow for Occupations to be unlocked. These essentially provide additional interaction options that would not have to be available otherwise. Occupations require a certain number of personality attributes to be unlocked. Resources are awarded depending on which dialogue choices are made. They are fairly rare. There are four attribute types. With sixteen Occupations. Each of these provides the player with an advantage when using the interaction system. Not all of these occupations will be unlocked in a game and certainly not in an order where they will be immediately useful.

A limited number of interactions require the navigation of a slider system. One that requires a sequence of correct choices to determine success or failure. Bad choices send the marker towards a failure threshold. Good choices send the marker moving towards a success threshold. Essentially these are akin to interactive jousts, where the player must convince the NPC of their motives in order to reach a favourable outcome. Gamedec’s final significant component is a data-filled Codex. Updated with an assortment of details and information every time a new aspect of the game world is encountered. This vast resource can be a useful reference tool in understanding the game world’s virtual worlds.

Cyberpunk RPG
This conversation offers the choice of using two occupations to further progress.

THE GOOD

  • An impressive array of high-quality cyberpunk inspired locations and scenes with some atmospheric audio.
  • Beautifully rendered visuals.
  • An interesting and engaging story of mystery, intrigue and suspense. With some deduction based arcs.
  • An interaction system with some flexibility and depth of choice.
  • Designed to have no soft-caps.
  • Choices matter only in terms of how the story plays out. There is no right or wrong. Just a story with several possible arcs.
  • Interactive jousts bring some urgency to a few NPC interactions.

THE BAD

  • No open or semi-open world. Linear play.
  • Lack enough audio to really increase the ambience to strengthen each scene.
  • Needs latest drivers for GTX970 owners. Which may have caused a few CTDs when alt-tabbing and reloading a few saves.
  • Saving and reloading on the Harvest Time VW gave me extra pumpkins and loot-boxes. Though I’m not sure why I’m marking this as a negative.

AND THE REST

  • No dedicated combat system.
  • Story experience designed with some replayability in mind.
  • Some backtracking required. Kept to a minimum through concentrated locations.
  • Adult themes, lots of profanity but nudity has been censored.
Gamedec Codex
One element of the Codex system. The others are text-driven. A good source of information.

ANALYSIS:

Gamedec proved to be a very enjoyable experience. A well-made game with an abundance of quality. Its mix of detective mystery and point-and-click adventure style proved an interesting concept. As someone who hasn’t enjoyed many point-and-click adventures in the past, I was pleasantly surprised with its use of isometric presentation. A reminder of days spent playing Baldur’s Gate and the like. I very much preferred this over any 2D visuals that could have been used otherwise.

The setting was a big draw for this fan of Cyberpunk games. At times feeling like a spiritual successor to Blade Runner. A point-and-click adventure game released in 1997 by Westwood Studios. A very good thing in my opinion. In some ways, it possessed some of the feels of recent Shadowrun games but without the combat element. Though with graphics that were of a superior level than the first game of that series. By spreading the story locations over a number of virtual realms, it used a similar technique used by George Lucas did in Starwars. Delivering an alternating sequence of colourful places, that was different and inviting to visit. Concentrating locations in each realm to a handful of screens limited any potential backtracking to a minimum.

The story possessed a good level of writing. Lean enough not to overpower the reader with too much alphabetty-spaghetti. Proving engrossing to read. Engaging to experience. There was still a lot to read but it never felt overpowering. Keeping the amount of information to remember to manageable limits. Its adult subject-matter and variety of cases kept the experience interesting. Using the Gamedec as a conduit to link the cases for investigation gave the story a personal feel it. Rather than being a series of sequential quests.

Gamedec Impression
Find several clues to make a single deduction. In this case one from three.

The core detective element felt pretty much nailed on. The system of deductions not only focused on searching for missing clues but was loose enough to ensure that progression never really stalled. Something I was grateful for given my preclusion for missing obvious points of interest or not revisiting places or NPCs already interacted with.

Something that had caused me frustration when playing previous games of this nature. Even fostering a desire to quit in those older point-and-click games. Here there was just a feeling of determination and an inevitable eventually that the story would progress without too much effort. The only tangible result being the feeling of cheating oneself by making a deduction without all of the facts. Something that may grate with perfectionists.

The clue/deduction system was comprehensive yet designed with a light hand. It took away any fear of being one conversation or action away from missing an important lead and stalling progress. Something that did not apply to Gamedec. The developers designed the story to progress without all the clues required to make the most informed choice. By allowing a deduction to become active with a minimum of clues. Allowing the player to make the deduction when they wanted or if they could not fathom where to find every clue. Any deduction complete or otherwise would take the story forward. Minimising any frustration required by having to backtrack over the same ground and NPCs to find points of interest that may become active with later progression. The player could just march on.

Simplicity of controls and interaction made playing the game an almost effortless exercise. Another positive with the choice in GUI and isometric presentation. This in turn provided an ease of accessibility that allowed for the almost exclusive concentration on immersing oneself in the gameworld and engaging with the excellent story. A story that proved engrossing to read for the most part. Despite its linear nature. Undoubtedly made so by the Cyberpunk setting and adult subject matter of the cases involved.

Gamedec Pc Game
Problems in cyberspace are a serious thing.

Looking through the discussion forum there were a number of bugs posted. Only one minor one presented itself through my playthrough. There were a few crashes when loading saved game and alt-tabbing. This could have been more to do with owning a GTX970 with outdated drivers. Something the game let me know but nothing that stopped me from playing and being able to restart and continue.

Putting aside its wonderful setting, Gamedec is essentially an adventure game. With a linear story and very few mechanics to encourage replayability. Curtailing any potential longevity. However, there were some design factors that provided wiggle-room in the experience generated with a particular playthrough. The forgiving nature of not requiring every clue to make a deduction. The possibility to choose from a range of options for each deduction. Only selecting certain occupations during a run. The few interaction jousts between character and NPCs but only if any of these ended in failure. The choice of origin during character creation and to some extent certain past choices, made through the interaction system. Together these provided some variation in the overall experience. How much I am unsure of. Possibly enough for hardcore adventure game fans.

‘Would I miss the lack of combat?’ was a question that cemented itself in my mind during the playthrough. Frankly, the answer changed from yes to no. Then from no to yes. A lot of times. The fact of the matter is that this game does not need a combat system like so many other games. Perhaps that is why I do not see this as an RPG. Yes, you play a role but will the openness in its design, and the lack of consequences.

It’s a tough call to make. In the end, I came away with the feeling that Gamedec as it is, was a great first step for potential games of the future. Something the developers can continue to take on this path or perhaps change-up and go the full RPG. It certainly is something that intrigued me. I would love to see a full Cyberpunk RPG using this engine but with a complete tactical combat element, with full inventory and some stats to create some element of RPG in accomplishing combat and some out-of-combat tasks. Who knows what the future may bring.

Gamedec RPG
A conversation that could have ended in failure or success. This time it was success.

VERDICT

For anyone who enjoys a game full of sci-fi, with cyberpunk vibes and a good ol’ detective story, then Gamedec is definitely for them! It will appeal to fans of point-and-click adventure games and sleuthing games such as the Sherlock Holmes series. It will unlikely be something anyone needing tactical combat or gamers who do not like to read.

The quality of the game is beyond doubt. As is its accessibility and the immersion granted by its setting, visuals, and accompanying audio. An engaging story with absorbing plotlines is sure to keep up interest in completing the game. While its clue and deduction mechanics keep players focused but allow for some flexibility in experience and replayability, in what otherwise would be a linear experience.

It may not be outrageously brilliant but it’s definitely COMPELLING enough if the above sounds interesting. With a high level of polish, it’s certainly worth looking at, at full price. Perhaps on a small sale if waiting isn’t an issue.

Good
  • An impressive array of high-quality cyberpunk inspired locations and scenes with some atmospheric audio.
  • Beautifully rendered visuals
  • An interesting and engaging story of mystery, intrigue and suspense. With some deduction based arcs.
  • An interaction system with some flexibility and depth of choice.
  • Designed to have no soft-caps.
  • Choices matter only in terms of how the story plays out. There is no right or wrong. Just a story with several possible arcs.
  • Interactive jousts bring some urgency to a few NPC interactions.
  • Story experience designed with some replayability in mind.
Bad
  • No open or semi-open world. Linear play.
  • A lack of audio doesn't add to the ambience or the scene.
  • Needs latest drivers for GTX970 owners. Which may have caused a few CTDs when alt-tabbing and reloading a few saves.
  • Saving and reloading on the Harvest Time VW gave me extra pumpkins and lootboxes. Though Im not sure why Im marking this as a negative.
  • No dedicated combat system.
  • Some backtracking required. Kept to a minimum through concentrated locations.
8.5
Great

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