Picture a world where humanity is gone. The remnants of the fractured world they left behind are filled with robots. Sounds like a sci-fi film, right? This is the premise for The Uncertain: Last Quiet Day. An advanced civilisation of robots lives on in the skeletal remains of the human world, their artifacts a vital part of the scenery and world scape Common Games has created. The premise of this game and the dystopian art style were enough to put this game onto my list of must plays for review.
The story of this game focuses on RT; a robot with great electronic skills and no primary function. His world is thrown into turmoil when a craft carrying supposedly extinct humans crashes into his front garden. He is exposed to a world of government conspiracies, a resistant rebel force and human artifacts he’s never seen before. The story for me, however, lacked a lot of flow. You’ve been in the game only 5 minutes before this ‘secret’ is thrown at you, and being robots the main characters lack the nuance to bring the story in subtly which I suppose is part of its charm. The mission quests are quite interesting though and the characters themselves are very likable, with RT having the classic dry humour of a robot – similar to the likes of Gladys and Co in Portal. I was a little disappointed to find the choices you are presented within the game do not have an effect on the story and have no real consequence to them; however the premise of the game itself was definitely enough to keep me interested as layers of the conspiracy unfolded.
The biggest issue this game has is gameplay. At points, RT is hard to control and his movement, even for a robot, is very stuttered. The walking speed of the character was set at the perfect speed to admire the beautiful art style of the game but was noticeably slow; with the running speed not much faster. It is, for the most part, a typical point-and-click game but there is definitely plenty of scope to uncover some really cool references and easter eggs within, especially if you like The Walking Dead. Being a game about robots there was destined to be hacking mini-games somewhere along the way (which personally I love!). These were relatively simple in concept but challenging enough to keep me interested, they were also never the same. For me, some of the most frustrating moments of gameplay were the driving challenges; suddenly the typical game controls changed and the game was moving the camera independently as I was trying to control it with the mouse which erratically spun around the screen as they fought with each other. After a dizzying and confusing several minutes of gameplay I figured out that I needed to leave the mouse well and truly alone, otherwise, the ensuing spinning was bound to make me feel sick. Another issue with the gameplay was delayed objectives taking forever to show up. A few times, I was left wandering around until the game decided to queue the next section of gameplay. For example; At the beginning of the game there are several tasks to complete in Rt’s home. I finished one of these tasks before being left aimlessly wandering through the house, before the game realised it needed to progress the story.
The graphics to this game are awesome, no doubt about it. The art style was gorgeous; combining old and new with rustic abandoned hover cars and neon-lit glowing cities. The attention to detail when it came to the lighting in this game was astounding – with the light from everything reflecting off RT’s shining metal body – a great touch. The contrast between each level design was clear and executed well. Tonally the contrast between the orange, green and yellow rugged woodlands to the cold stone blue, black and grey of the city was beautiful. The detailing of the modern setting, did however clash with the somewhat blocky and featureless trees. However, I liked the way the leaves on the ground in particular seemed to blow across the streets, a nice little detail.
A special mention needs to be given to the soundtrack. The music, at all times was appropriate and atmospheric and even found its way into a very creative puzzle. It was genuinely interesting and the futuristic-sounding synths in particular, were especially cool. The game set the mood straight away with the sound of rain and thunder, a classic piece of pathetic fallacy to keep you feeling warm and immersed.
I want to mention the voice acting of the robots here as well. It would have been very easy for the developers to use derivative sounding voices for the robots, however, they have gone out of their way here to make each sound unique and individual, helpful for identifying the characters but also a great way to build a game world and story. I did experience a few issues with sound during gameplay; both the soundtrack and atmospheric sounds were inconcistant with both cutting out intermittantly and frequently. Having tweaked the in-game audio & visual settings to attempt a workaround I was disappointed to see the issue prevailed.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this game. The art style and premise definitely held their own amongst the games’ many technical issues and ultimately I felt the game has the potential to stand apart within its genre. This game is however only part 1 of the episodic series and I felt that the 2 and a half-hour run time was definitely a little short for the otherwise agreeable price tag. That said, I would definitely buy the second episode ‘Uncertain: Light at the End’ if for no other reason than to see how the story ends. For those who enjoyed the game, and the art style, there is currently a free VR museum of the game to play on Steam, which looks ace!
The Uncertain : Last Quiet Day is available on Steam
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