Republique’s concept is interesting, its performance is not.
When a game centered on a dystopian future with a power-mad dictator bent on world (or his corner of the world) domination tells the story right, it can be one that grabs the player right away and holds on all the way to the end. Republique Remastered almost tells the story in a way that does this. It almost delivers on its great promise, but in the end, there’s just something missing that doesn’t quite let the player become fully immersed. That’s a shame since it does offer a very interesting take on one kind of dystopian future.
One of the hooks of the game is that there isn’t any kind of prologue or cut scene that leads you into the main story. When you first start the game up you meet Republique’s protagonist, Hope, as she’s begging you for help through a smuggled cellphone. She tells you that she’s in great danger and that the people who are after her want to either kill her or put her through some sort of brainwashing.
"In a kind of Watch Dogs fashion, you use these cameras to look up the hallway and around corners to see where you want Hope to go and what obstacles she will encounter when she goes there."
While we’re originally led to believe that Hope is in some sort of prison, we soon find out she’s actually in a futuristic school that is overseen by the villainous “Headmaster” who is referred to often throughout the game but kept in the shadows until it’s time for his reveal.
This is one of the things the game does right, because without the benefit of a large number of cut scenes that take you out of the story, you’re forced to discover just what the world entails as you go along. The goal of Republique Remastered is put simply, to help Hope escape from her sadistic jailers/school security and you do this by moving her along using well-worn stealth techniques such as those you might see in Assassin’s Creed or Metal Gear Solid titles. Where the game differs from those titles is the addition of the ability of your player to take over the many, many security cameras that are placed throughout the facility.
In a kind of Watch Dogs fashion, you use these cameras to look up the hallway and around corners to see where you want Hope to go and what obstacles she will encounter when she goes there. You’ll also be able to hack into various computers and machines and unlock doors by stealing passcodes from clipboards or computer monitors in the building. This is also where the game introduces its first big drawback in the gameplay. There are many cameras that have rather odd angles to the room that can actually cause the player to lose their bearings.
"It seems as though Republique Remastered has indeed had its graphical look remastered, the game is quite pretty but the load times certainly could have been fixed and sped up now that it’s on a more powerful console platform."
It’s likely some of this is done on purpose, in order to ramp up the difficulty. Other times there’s a lag from one camera to another that seems pointless and is definitely annoying. There are instances where load times are so long marked only with with black screens that players might start to think the game had crashed. This is especially disconcerting considering this is a port from a game that was originally offered on the iOS platform.
It seems as though Republique Remastered has indeed had its graphical look remastered, the game is quite pretty but the load times certainly could have been fixed and sped up now that it’s on a more powerful console platform. The load times between cameras aren’t the only part of this aspect that gets quite bothersome. At certain points in the game, you will be shifted from one camera and point of view to another automatically. Taking the control that is offered for most of the game out of the player’s hands does two things. One, it breaks the immersion level of the game since the player has grown quite accustomed to having control over how they view the story.The second drawback is that the camera jumping can already be off-putting when the player is deciding when to jump and when not to switch.
Another aspect of Republique that can interrupt the immersion of the game is the treatment of these imposing security forces placed throughout the school. At the beginning of the game, there is a mention of a character that has died before you joined the story. It’s heavily implied the character was killed by the very people keeping Hope prisoner. This detail is obviously meant to convey how dangerous this world is and certainly delivers that message well. The problem is that when these same evildoers catch Hope out of her cell and attempting to escape the school entirely, they merely lead her to the nearest holding cell, and then walk off. Certainly this was a conscious choice made because the developers didn’t want to have the girl die only to start over. This title’s version of death is being caught, but that leads to a leap in logic when thinking about the intelligence of an enemy that finds a girl who has escaped her cell a myriad of times, yet doesn’t need a more watchful eye.
"Another aspect of Republique that can interrupt the immersion of the game is the treatment of these imposing security forces placed throughout the school."
Despite the fact that the danger of getting caught is ramped down by being locked up an infinite amount of times, there is still a decent amount of tension when Hope is sneaking around, attempting to avoid detection. She’s not armed to the teeth as characters can be in games like Assassin’s Creed. Hope can score a gadget here and there throughout Republique but there are very few offensive weapons. There’s no killing from your side either, as pickpocketing and knocking someone out are your main modes of “melee.”
When all is said and done, Republique Remastered is one of those games that takes just enough of what other games have done before it and changes it, that it’s a unique feel. The story is one we haven’t seen all that often before either. In that regard it’s a very good game. Unfortunately, the way the story is carried out and the mechanics throughout leave an awful lot to be desired.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
The concept and story are good ones and the main character is someone I genuinely wanted to try and save. She's also someone you truly feel is in danger at every moment.
The lag between camera changes is far too long and the angles of those cameras can be annoying as well.
Republique first surfaced as an iOS game and the mechanics involved in this new PS4 version seem like the developer did a straight port, rather than take the time to sharpen anything other than the graphics.