Game Review: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

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While you good sir or madam sit there with your tea and toast, munching away with your pipe smoldering on its holder and newspaper at the ready, some of us were out struggling for the future of mankind against their cruelest enemy. Robots. Once products of our own hands and minds, they rose up in rebellion to strike out and take this planet for their own. My beard is scraggly, my clothes are torn and I have eaten more live game than I care to admit. Surviving in this world is a tough affair and unfortunately not a very fun one either.

Starting out on the main island with various different loadouts based on the class you choose, you’re thrust headfirst into dangerous terrritory. You’re by a stone that can teleport you home but your robot butler informs you that pieces are missing. You’re then tasked with tracking down all of the missing pieces over the 5 randomly generated islands before you can come home. With each piece of the transporter stone collected, the game begins to ramp up the difficulty. New, tighter patrols will begin to show up in areas you thought were cleared out. New types of enemies such as the trap-happy Poacher, levitating-horseback riding Rider and the invincible plodding menace that is the Landowner appear giving you even less space to work with to stealth through. This all piles up on top of each other to create a bit too active combat scenario and somewhat hurts the pacing the early game sets.

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Another issue the game suffers from is inconsistencies. Sometimes you’ll be standing completely still with zero visibility and a robot can still spot you from a fair distance away. The ambiance of the island is top notch on the visual front, but audio often goes missing or seems to not be programmed to exist entirely. There were countless times I had rain falling around me but no sound to accompany this. Being near water never gave off any sort of sound until I would go into it. Sometimes this would result in a running river sound effect brashly spiking through the mix before cutting out randomly, other times there would be no water sound at all. A shame since walking the isles as the run rose above the horizon, watching the light peek from between the delicate and brittle twisting branches of trees that have seen better days with shadows dancing against their dried trunks, is truly a sight to behold. Being pulled straight out of the moment by an awkward audio error truly breaks my heart as the atmosphere is what the game does best.

Perhaps the worst aspect of S,YABH is the transporter stone collection quest which fuels the dash for survival in the first place. Spread across each of the 5 islands are 24 shards of The Device, a piece of magic or technology which will teleport you home to safety. In order to construct said device one must gather each piece, place it into their inventory and lug it back to the main island to place it in the stones. This collection quest can build up quite a bit of tedium as you scour around, evading detection and murdering when the time calls for it to grab a piece and carry it back. One could reduce some of the tedium by stuffing pieces into a storage container somewhere near the boat on that island and only leaving once you have all three, but you’re still needing to shuffle items around to make room for it all. Not to mention that robots tend to spawn and patrol around storage chests filled with goodies, forcing you to spend more time distracting or eliminating this new threat before being able to continue on. And why can I not combine pieces of ammo that are taking up huge chunks of my inventory space? Having a handful of bullets spread out between 3 to 5 different bundles that I sourced from different houses is a pain and adds artificial stress to my inventory management.

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So the question then remains, is Sir, You Are Being Hunted? Worth it? The lack of true survival or stealth elements really hurt the game on the mechanics end. The sheer cliff of difficulty that appears as you progress past a certain point overloads the player and does not give them enough tools to be able to put up a good fight. Nor can it handle stealth with any amount of grace, feeling almost too loosely inserted into place instead of being an integral part of the whole. The tweedpunk looks, comedic elements and sense of place and atmosphere are all excellently presented. I laughed every time I heard my eventual executioners crack jokes about the economy and cheerfully proclaiming how extraordinarily wealthy they are. Watching the sun rise over a field as I slowly work my way through the brush hoping to not get noticed is simplistic yet beautiful. Emergent moments like robot families clashing with each other and sparking a massive firefight is both frightening and amazingly well implemented. It’s just that in between all of that, there’s really nothing more than crouchwalking in knee-high brush and hoping the stealth meter is telling the truth about how hidden you are. And that, I feel, hurts the game like a bullet to the gabber.

 

Final Score:  3/5

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Published in: on June 1, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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