If you love an old school comic book, then you’re going to enjoy Liberated. Told across the panels and pages of a comic book, Liberated is the story of the struggle between the rebels and the government in a dystopian future. Although it isn’t too different from the world we know. Cameras are everywhere, cash is being phased out, and a citizen credit system has been implemented. Are you a good, obedient citizen? Add some credits. Are you not so good a citizen? Let’s take them away. If they get down to 0, then you’re pretty much screwed.
Fortunately, a group of rebels, The Liberated, are trying to bring down the system and expose the government to let the people be free! Though, the people don’t particularly seem to want to be free.
In Liberated, I expected to be playing as the rebels taking down a corrupt government, but you actually play as both rebels and government. There are four issues of Liberated (the comic) in the game, and you switch between rebel and government depending on the story. I liked this opportunity to see the situation from another perspective. Are the Liberated really helping the people or just another terrorist organisation?
I found the controls smooth and responsive but sometimes shooting felt a bit off. Ammo is unlimited, but you regularly have to reload, which usually means death. Fortunately, Liberated isn’t too punishing when you die, and you respawn at the beginning of a scene. Overall, the game isn’t challenging. There are two difficulty levels with the ‘normal’ level still being quite easy. The combat is the same throughout the game, and you will pick it up quite quickly. The entire game is a combination of mild platforming, stealth and headshots as the story is told through the panels of a comic book.
It would have been nice to have more variety, especially when playing as different characters, but for the most part, all characters are played the same using the same weapon.
The biggest let down of the gameplay would have to be the enemy AI. Oh boy are they stupid. Easily evaded and taken down, it was very simple to get the combat-based achievements because the AI made it so easy. There was one section where 5 or 6 drones appeared, and I ran to find somewhere to hide. They all hit a wall and exploded before finding me, making a stressful situation into an effortless one.
Art style and sound design
The art style is where Liberated excels. The art is perfect for the comic book style of the game. Black and white and full of grit, it really does feel like you’re reading a comic book. Both cut scenes and gameplay occur within the comic and the transitions are fairly seamless, so you don’t get taken out of the game with clunky cut scenes. The black and white of the game, combined with the noir feel brings another level to the game.
The sound effects in Liberated are nice and crisp but can become repetitive as they are the same regardless of which side you’re playing. There is very little, in terms of sound effects, to differentiate the Liberated from the police, with both gasping when found and having 2-way radios. I just felt like the rebels would use something a little more sophisticated.
The soundtrack is decent but it sort of just lingers in the background and doesn’t make much of an impact. At times I noticed the music and wondered whether it had been playing the entire time and I only just realised. The game could definitely have worked on the sound design a little more for a bigger atmospheric hit.
I enjoyed Liberated and loved the comic book feel, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. It ends abruptly, without many answers but does have two DLC which add a bit more to the story. It was interesting to play as both sides of the war and consider whether either are doing the right thing, especially with innocent people stuck in the fray. It’s also an eye-opener of what could become of us now if we don’t keep governments in check.
I would recommend Liberated if you’re looking for something with an interesting idea but don’t mind about the lack of variety in gameplay. I liked my time with it and it kept me involved in the story until the end.
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** Find The Strawberry received a free key for Liberated from Atomic Wolf. All opinions are my own **