Archives by Day

State of Mind

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: Aug. 15, 2018


PC Preview - 'State of Mind'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 3, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

State of Mind is a futuristic thriller/adventure with remarkably realistic low poly visuals where a dystopian reality and a utopian virtual future stand in stark contrast to each other.

The themes of a technologically enhanced future and its associated issues have been showing up more often lately. Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the more anticipated games coming out of E3 2018, and most recently, we had Detroit: Become Human on the PS4. Of course, we can't discount other efforts, like the recent Deus Ex games and smaller endeavors like Tokyo 42. Revealed roughly two years ago, State of Mind rides this setting as well, under the hands of Daedalic Entertainment.

The year is 2048, and the world is in an advanced but bleak place. Robots have been constructed to help humans perform menial tasks, but that has also caused some people to have their livelihoods displaced. In Berlin, journalist Richard Nolan is writing about the surveillance issues and lack of privacy in this new digitally driven world when he succumbs to an accident due to malfunctioning driving software. Once he awakens, he finds that his memory is fuzzy, but his wife and child are gone, and there's no way to tell if this was the result of a breakup or something worse. Meanwhile, in City 5, Adam has also recovered from an eerily similar accident, and he has to take care of his son, who's suffering from an unknown trauma.

Although we didn't delve too deeply into the preview build, what we saw made for a very fascinating tale. You saw the accident immediately, but the rest of the tale plays out rather slowly. You'll spend a great deal of time simply exploring your environment and getting a feel for how the characters are living. There are also the noticeable differences between both locales. The Berlin of the future is dark and grimy, with a seedy underbelly that's been exposed to everyone, but City 5 is more of an idyllic landscape with obvious issues that people seem to happily ignore. There are some nice contrasts found in both stories shown so far, but with the promise of more controllable characters later, things could get even more interesting.

When you consider what the studio is famous for, you'll be surprised that State of Mind isn't simply another point-and-click title. Instead, you have something similar to Quantic Dreams games, like Detroit: Being Human and Heavy Rain. Presented from a third-person perspective, the game lets you freely move your character all over the environment while highlighted objects give you context-sensitive interaction buttons once you're in close proximity. Dialogue plays an important role in that choices are permanent, but there's no sign that it permanently alters the direction of the story.

That also means that puzzle-solving is rather light. Most of your time is going to be spent walking around an environment and activating prompts in order to watch a cut scene. The aforementioned dialogue sequences are puzzles in their own right, but they don't exactly have definitive solutions. Every other puzzle in the game thus far is rather simple, like putting up post-it notes to cover up cameras or cycling through images to complete a full 360-degree picture. There's nothing really taxing thus far, but the hope is that it all changes further into the tale.

If the story and simpler adventure gameplay mechanics aren't enough to draw your interest, then the presentation certainly will. The score is haunting even during what should be calm moments, while there is a sense of unease whenever you hear the score pick up. The voice acting is quite nice, especially with the likes of Doug Cockle voicing Richard in a perpetually angry state. Graphically, what will stand out more is the purposefully low-polygon look, making it seem like an old PC title. It works artistically, and even the limited mouth animations and jerky transitions sells people on the idea of this being a very lo-fi experience.

So far, State of Mind is intriguing. The stories are developing at a nice pace, and each time you change to a new character, you're left wondering what will happen for everyone else. The presentation is arresting, and while some will lament the lack of difficult puzzles so far, the intrigue makes up for it. There are only a few weeks to go before the game is officially out, and hopefully, the final product is as interesting as the preview build seems to be.

More articles about State of Mind
blog comments powered by Disqus