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Fight the power. Destroy authoritarianism. A group of freedom fighters enlist royal blood to undermine an establishment while searching for a truth of sorts. In this Flashback/OG Prince of Persia-esque comic, Liberated is a cyberpunk story of control and dominance through the rage of the machines. Liberated has four comics to read through in order to grasp the whole story. In a world filled with drones, diplomats and others to bring down the resistance. Or maybe to work against the coming wind through enforcement. Question is: who is wrong or right?
Liberated holds a bit more of a comic book endeavour. The noir colour scheme does keep to its message without any obscure ideas to subtract from its premise. The story is panel-by-panel sung. Comic book sound effects are illustrated in letters. We’ve seen this before through Max Payne and Comix Zone, but Liberated stays to its confines. Panels will change if the character goes out of the screen. The story is told through four books, each with a different member leading the charge.
Between dialogue points, players can be treated to QTE events, and a 2-3D platformer between scenes. Your character is equipped with a 9mm to put the hurt on enemies, while the cover provides a bit more stealth. Subdue a guard after going through a corner. Shoot down drones. Possibly hack your way through the security. Some puzzles are platform-specific, something nearly as brutal as Vagrant Story’s tests of courage and cargo. Sometimes, a puzzle would render me useless here. The QTE was unexpected, yet it can change the game if not done correctly. If something happens to the protagonist, the story skips a few beats into another. There are no do-overs, which is definitely a plus.
Liberated has a few issues in its rise to freedom. Some animations are a bit dated during the action scenes for something this modern. Characters, that you can control, seem to move the same and sound the same regardless of who it is. I did feel a bit of slowdown, also, and some animation cuts during the important parts like finding where things are. Some mechanics are cookie-cutter, but at this stage of the game, 2D stealth, as a side-scroller, can deem more frustrating than it allows. Enemies are generic guards with standard gun projectiles. This guy has a gun, yet it’s another handgun the majority of the time. There is no enemy variance or complication minus the drones that attack with lasers. No stacking, either. More consequences and branch out points would have been appreciated seeing that the narrative has the potential to stick to its tracks uninterrupted. Puzzle-wise, it could use a bit more handholding when it comes to abilities. I experienced a few technical issues involving panels with a dash of collision detection gone horribly wrong.
Liberated feels a bit nostalgic in a way with its choices to draw a narrative. While does have some good moves, Liberated seems to try a few strategies to keep it fresh, yet through sheer effort, the story pulls through over its gameplay fire. It’s good to see a game attempt a multi-sided story in this sort of presentation. Liberated is clearly in its own league, one page at a time.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 02/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Action
Developer: Atomic Wolf
Publisher: Walkabout Games
Download link: eShop