Narrative based games have been ever increasing in popularity and thanks to the work of Quantic Dream and Tell-Tale games and the successes of their titles, the genre has now become a mainstream. The focus is rarely on gameplay but the ability to craft and experience a story but at your own pace and in many cases, you can mould the story depending on your choices. State of Mind is the latest title to arrive onto the scene.
Possibly the first thing you will notice is the unique art style, reminiscent of the polygonal art in the PlayStation 1 days. It is a bit jarring to begin with, especially when the environment is modelled ‘normally’ and the characters are ‘low-poly’ characters. After a while you get used to it, but there are certain characters that simply look awful, there is a female character who has a very angular and distracting face with a lot of harsh shadows. I understand that in this genre you need to stand out and take on a unique look, but some of the characters needed more work.
Thankfully the main characters look good; Richard Nolan a down on his luck journalist and Adam Newman who is a more successful journalist with a very positive outlook on life. Richard starts off with a car accident and can’t remember what happened and when he returns home discovers that his wife has left with his son. Similarly, Adam was also in a car accident. You switch between these characters as well as a few others throughout the game. But the main goal of the story is to show you how Richard’s and Adam’s lives interlink with each other’s.
Richard is in Berlin and Adam is in City5 Central. Both cities appear to be set in 2048. There are flying vehicles and the city is full of robotic droids that not only help people with their day to day lives, but also police them too, in an aggressive manner. The look is similar to Bladerunner and has similar themes of the recent release from Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human.
The story begins quite slowly and thankfully doesn’t abruptly end when you realise what the connection between the two main protagonists is, but layers of depth keep being added to the story which makes it more and more intriguing as you play. I found myself thinking about where it would go next after taking a break from the gameplay. Thinking about how much I disliked Richard’s character, and even the voice actor sounded a little obnoxious, and how much nicer Adam was.
I won’t spoil any of the story, as it is the key factor of the game. In some ways this is one the drawbacks of State of Mind. The story is very linear, and cannot be moulded for the most part. You simply select conversation options and regardless of which ones you choose the game progresses in exactly the way it was going to. There are several points towards the end of the game when they impact a bit more drastically, but it was a little disappointing during the rest of the game.
The game is long too, don’t expect a 2-3 hour experience like the Walking Dead episodic series, even if you combine all of them I believe State of Mind trumps them still. Falling somewhere between 10 and 15 hours this game is substantial if you listened to all the dialogue and have all the optional conversations. Thankfully you can skip through the speech by hitting circle if you prefer. But with this being the majority of the game, you would be remiss to skip.
Gameplay is very repetitive to begin with, you walk around and talk to people and interact with objects. One step above point and click. There are segments where you need to match up photo fragments, but even this is repeated multiple times and loses its novelty soon. One of the most varied gameplay sections was a drone flying segment, which was very frustrating as it does not really guide you through it too well and it drags on if you don’t scan the person it wants you to. The character movement is also quite clunky, not only do they animate oddly when they run, but rarely run in the direction you point them in and require you to adjust as they get up to speed.
State of Mind really doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but what it does manage to do is tell a good and layered story that once you hit a certain point you have to see to the end. It lasts a little longer than necessary but some people may prefer that.
- Replay Value