Republique (PS4)


Republique struggles to overcome a conceptually awkward premise. Implanted into the framework of a contemporary teen thriller, Republique battles with its own commentary on surveillance by simultaneously using surveillance as a core gameplay function.

Lost in its own fiction, Republique too quickly streams in a world, or rather an enclosed indoor environment called Metamorphosis. A rapid jaunt through in-world terminology leaves ideas and context hanging. Delivery muddles in a hunt for quickened pacing, a shame since Republique works best as a slow boil tale.

Republique surrenders to the needs of a sedate power fantasy, the young girl at the lead begging and pleading for help as if she is incapable of basic actions of her own accord. In fact, she is helpless. Although the perspective is strict (the view leaps between electronics and security cameras), direct control of the character is allowed, odd for something spouting allegories about free will.

To its credit, Republique finds a sensible reasoning for static cameras, reinvigorating the form founded for many in Resident Evil. Tension is thus legitimate and oftentimes uncomfortable, even if Metamorphosis’ guards follow pre-programmed patterns. Something or someone can still be out of view, generating risk which feels authentic instead of forced. Underneath is a grim political horror story, bound to literature like 1984, but confused to how best proceed in interactive form.


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