Games: Get Even and Town of Light
Get Even (Multi)
By: Bandai Namco
DELAYED in the wake of May's Manchester bombing, Bandai's latest psychological thriller plays out like an episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror and has 'cult hit' scrawled all over it.
Even for escapism, this one's on the crazy side. In a very British setting, ex-military contract killer Cole Black (played by what sounds like the non-union Sean Bean) infiltrates his past in a memory simulation, investigating the theft of an experimental gun that can fire around corners.
This, however, is simply a framing device: behind the creepy wards and gun-toting is a tale of eroding trust and the break-up of a family.
Like a Schwarzenegger flick spliced with Kramer vs Kramer, one minute it's Call of Duty, the next a grim walking simulator as you experience heart-wrenching blasts from the past.
High-octane wisecracks there are not as you engage in mirthless banter with your doctor and slowly pull back the curtain for a rollercoaster final act.
Nifty weaponry notwithstanding, Get Even's gunplay is standard-issue as you sneak around tunnel-visioned guards or plug 'em 90-degree style while Cole's trusty smartphone holds his map, evidence scanner and various flashlights.
And while the visuals are hardly cutting-edge, Olivier Deriviere's dynamic score is incredible – a creepshow mix of ambient sounds, chanting and heartbeats that sways with your actions.
A well-executed, if disjointed, tale of corporate shenanigans, Get Even is all about the story and well worth checking out for fans of Sega's much-missed and fabulously grimy Condemned series.
Even if its tonal shifts and occasional budget trimmings infuriate, I can guarantee you've never played a game like this.
Don't get mad – get Get Even.
Town of Light (Multi)
IF DONE well, the recent glut of “walking simulators” can immerse gamers more than any other genre: Town of Light is up there with Firewatch and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter for the sheer brio with which it tells its tale.
Videogame asylums have forever been crawling with mutated nutjobs aching for the bullet, but Town of Light turns to history for its horror. Don't go in expecting Resident Evil or Silent Hill – this is based on true events that happened decades ago in the Volterra Psychiatric Asylum in Tuscany.
An historically accurate recreation of the decidedly yuk-free goings-on down at the funny farm, it makes One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest look like Carry On Nurse.
Players take control of former resident Renee as she explores the now-ruined asylum to piece together her heartbreaking past. With little gameplay to speak of, Town of Light's ward-wandering simply triggers narrative events, and its dark vision of the early psychiatric system mines a tragic seam that's delivered in wonderfully inventive detail.
Not for gentler souls, Town of Light presents electroshock therapy and other gruesome goings on in all their harrowing detail.
Clocking in at around three hours, it's as linear as a piece of string, but a deeply affecting experience that you'll appreciate rather than enjoy.