Liberated: Enhanced Edition is nothing if not stylish.
Touted as an interactive comic book, its black and white film-noir aesthetic gives it a moody atmosphere that befits its story of oppression. It’s just a shame that it’s not all that fun to play.
Across just over a handful of issues you’ll take control of numerous characters, leading them through the cells on each page. Being the Enhanced Edition, this version of Liberated features full voice acting as the story plays out, as well as some additional bonus issues to further flesh out the world. Though as enjoyable as the narrative is, whenever you’re thrust into control of a character chances are you’ll be disappointed with the gameplay.
Basic is a bit of an understatement. Liberated: Enhanced Edition attempts to blend stealth, platforming, shooting and puzzles into its tale, but does so without any finesse. The camera rarely gives you a good view of what’s ahead of you, so hiding from enemies is always done at the last minute with a sense of urgency. You can linger in the shadows if you want and wait for the opportunity to perform a stealth kill. But more often than not it’s faster to simply shoot any enemy you encounter without any real repercussions.
Though that’s not saying the shooting mechanics are any good. Your character is pretty slow to draw their gun. And you won’t want to move great distances with it already drawn as it limits your movement speed. You also can’t take cover, so most gun battles feel like a case of tit-for-tat until you or your enemy fall over and die. Thankfully checkpoints are fairly frequent.
It’s perhaps the puzzles that are the best thing about Liberated: Enhanced Edition aside from its story, but unfortunately they’re few and far between. And the only other gameplay element is a liberal smattering of quick time events that just feel awkward. In fact, “awkward” is the best way to describe most of Liberated: Enhanced Edition‘s gameplay. It simply feels stilted and unpolished.
But it’s not bad enough to totally put you off playing. Once the narrative has its hooks in you, you might want to persist to see how things play out. It helps that there are two difficulty settings, too. Simply put it on the easier of the two, and at least the gameplay segments won’t be as frustrating.
Each issue, or chapter, of the story doesn’t take too long to complete, but there are many choices to make in each one that can alter how things play out. You may choose to run from someone who tells you to get into their car, for example, instigating an additional scene. Or you may fail a quick time event, leading to unfortunate consequences. Needless to say, if you do find yourself gelling with Liberated: Enhanced Edition, you may end up playing through each of its chapters multiple times.
Liberated: Enhanced Edition is to be commended for trying to do something a bit different. It’s just a shame that the gameplay here isn’t a little deeper and more polished. But ultimately, it’s not really the focus of the experience: that’s the story. If you’re a sucker for tales that draw you into dark, dystopian worlds, chances are you’ll still get a considerable amount of enjoyment out of it.
Liberated: Enhanced Edition Review – GameSpew’s Score