Technology. Called to assist man in the development of the human species and the fulfillment of his dreams, it now accompanies us in all aspects of our society, to the point that we can not today do without. Since the advent of the all-digital that seems to devote this century, many works of fiction have emerged to state the potential drifts. The video game, directly concerned by the subject, does not naturally cut it. The Germans at Daedalic Entertainment are giving us a new sting reminder via a point’n click with futuristic-metaphysical accents: State of Mind.
It is not enough to say that technology occupies a preponderant place in the universe imagined for State of Mind as it is at the heart of the plot, which also addresses the question of the future of humanity.
Where is my mind?
Berlin, 2048. Famous journalist Richard Nolan has just suffered what appears to be an unfortunate accident on the road. When he regains consciousness, his mind is still confused and he can hardly remember the events that preceded the tragedy. On his return home, his wife Tracy and their son James are no longer there; it’s a domestic android named Simon who welcomes him. Alas, Richard does not seem to wear synthetics in his heart … Meanwhile, in the utopian city of City5, a certain Adam Newman, also a journalist, enjoys an ideal existence alongside his family. However, this paradisiacal life in which he takes pleasure seems to conceal a secret of which he is not yet aware …
Difficult to go further without revealing some sensitive elements of the plot. The first two hours of the game consist of a succession of small sequences alternating between Richard’s life and that of Adam. They act as a long exhibition before the plot is really put in place with a first discovery concerning the link that unites them. Alas, this early adventure suffers from a pace paxadoxalement quite slow and it is difficult to focus on the two protagonists as the title makes us incarnate one and the other consecutively. Fortunately, he really wins in rhythm afterwards when the revelations come in packs of ten, making the experience much more interesting to follow. For the most attentive of you, several indices nevertheless allow to anticipate some.
Over the dozen hours necessary to complete the adventure, many topics related to current or future technology are discussed: augmented reality, virtual reality, robotic assistance, surveillance by drones, sharing of personal data, eugenics, transhumanism. .. As many topics that impact us or impact us directly in the coming years. Some, of course, are more developed than others and the main question of State of Mind is to ask how much man is willing to sacrifice to his own humanity for a world in which technology will have its own square. Of course, through the sometimes hateful character of Richard Nolan, the game of Daedelic shows us that it is in fact only the mirror of Man and only exposes the flaws. Starting with the most widespread of them: the lie, in which all the characters are confused.
If you happen to follow the excellent English series Black Mirror, you will know how much the preceding paragraph also applies to it: difficult indeed not to draw the parallel. In the course of the game, other references will come to mind: Christopher Nolan’s Memento (“Nolan”, yours, yours), Wachowski’s Matrix or the work of Philip K. Dick and the many adaptations have resulted. Some are specifically mentioned, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. For those who are familiar with dystopian universes, State of Mind is a dive in known terrain.
However, the game stands out with a singular artistic direction, which gives pride of place to large polygons and flat surfaces. If the style can be disconcerting at first, it is done quickly especially as it gives it a certain cachet. City5’s bright and idyllic environment thus meets the dark and depressing world of Berlin. On the other hand, the fact of having opted for this visual paw generates a disadvantage and not least: the faces seem fixed in the marble, which hinders the identification with the characters. In general, their animations are really upbeat and some movements are more machine than human (this is not a potential spoiler).
On this subject, if the English dubbing of the game is rather successful overall, this time giving the beneficiaries a real personality, the voices of some secondary characters do not enjoy the same care, as Mina, Troy and to a lesser extent Lydia . Anyway, free to you to direct you towards the German V.O., only other option proposed for an experiment which is besides entirely subtitled in French.
State of Mind is a point and click in the third person can not be more traditional, with its lot of interaction with the objects of the decor. These are also allowed by the augmented reality system directly connected to the brain of the protagonists, which gives them the possibility to access additional information. Unfortunately, most of this data is rather superficial for understanding the plot and if we play at the beginning to read them all, we will get tired soon.
Let it be said, State of Mind is a headline on the whole rather dirigiste. The different elements potentially likely to enrich the possibilities of gameplay actually serve only the progression of the scenario. The CloudCall, a hologram telecommunication system, allows you to get in touch with other characters only if these interactions consent to advance the plot. In the same way, certain sequences show that the money is a problem only for the character and not the player, who can choose to pay for this or that reason because he does not have any knowledge of the value of this one anyway. money.
Fortunately, the game has more varied moments with the ability to control the time of a sequence, other characters than Richard or Adam. Regarding the latter two, they will have a time to help each other: Adam collecting corrupt data, Richard reviewing them before sending them back to Adam so that he can read them. During the last part of the game, it is also given the possibility to the player to control drones or to hack surveillance cameras in order to change the axis and thus to pass unnoticed.
If the environments are very compartmentalized during the first two thirds of the adventure, which consist mainly of several trips in the same places, they open considerably thereafter to allow the player a freer (and relative ) exploration. This goes hand in hand with the character’s journey, which emerges little by little from the established truths, which breaks the barriers imposed on him in order to reach his goal. Thus, although the first hours of State of Mind are sorely lacking panache, the narrative gradually grows in intensity until deliver a few moments of grace, all served by a delicate and emotional music.