NEON STRUCT: Afterthoughts Sunday 7th of July 2019

A game about eyes
A game about eyes

Having recently re-played Deus Ex: Human Revolution (the Director's Cut this time) and not feeling like jumping to Mankind Divided quite yet, I felt like playing something new, rather than just going back to Thief. I can't remember where I first came across NEON STRUCT: Die Augen der Welt but I've been aware of it for a while and decided it to give it a go.

You are Jillian Cleary: an ex-spy on the run, framed for treason and hunted by your former agency. You must move in secret, survive off the grid, and find a way to clear your name. Old friends and new allies will lend their support; but with the eyes of the world upon you, who can you trust?

Does this not sound like it could be awesome? Sold!

Buying it directly from the developers site netted me both a DRM free copy (huzzah), but also a Steam key (huzzah, for reasons I might describe in a future mote). A few minutes later and I was ready to play.

First impressions... were not good, at all. I was looking at a screen which appeared to have tiny insects crawling all over it, and the graphics looked like something from THE BEFORE TIMES, and the lighting...

I freely admit I wasn't impressed when starting the game and was expecting the worst...
I freely admit I wasn't impressed when starting the game and was expecting the worst...

I really did think I'd made a mistake buying the game, for about 30 seconds. Then I started moving around. I can jump (I'm looking at you NuThief!), holy hell I can mantel. A light gem! It. Is. ON!

Nobody in this game has eyes... only electronic ones to be found
Nobody in this game has eyes... only electronic ones to be found

After my brief upset, I really enjoyed the look and feel of the game. All the levels are made out of blocks and it's a really nice aesthetic. I also did eventually get used to the film grain effect it uses.

An example of dialogue within the game
An example of dialogue within the game

The first mission is a gentle introduction into game mechanics and sneaking around. Scattered around most levels are "geo caches", and if you find one you know there's another 4 to be found. One neat thing about geo caches is when you find one you get a token which can be used to throw at guards to distract them.

Could it be? It is! A vent! Now I _know_ I'm playing a stealth game!
Could it be? It is! A vent! Now I _know_ I'm playing a stealth game!

All levels also have Strangers in them, fourth-wall breaking characters who ask questions or make comments that are supposed to make you think.

Each level you get a rating showing how skilled you were, with the stop rating being S if you were ghost-like and got all the collectibles.

I thought the audio was a bit hit and miss - it seems oddly loudly at times and often the NPC's seem to be deaf (I played Normal). Otherwise it was fine. One amusement was many levels have a radio in them somewhere, switching them off turns of background music!

Best hacking mini-game ever!
Best hacking mini-game ever!

The game takes you various locations although graphically they are all fairly similar. You can manipulate the environment in limited ways, for example by switching off lights or television screens. You can also hack security cameras, alarm boxes and, oddly enough, doors, using what is clearly the best hacking mini-game in history.

Anyone decked out with glowing gizmo's is out to give you a bad day
Anyone decked out with glowing gizmo's is out to give you a bad day

Most levels are hostile, but they are interspersed by levels which are more "civilian" in nature and offer vendors for buying food (to heal) and for "stims" which give you brief bonuses, such as speed or invisibility. You're mostly up against human opponents, with the odd security camera to avoid or hack. Your human opponents can be pickpocketed (NPC's carrying access cards is a popular mechanic in the game) or knocked out if they are in your way. You can also pick them up and move them into the shadows to avoid someone else finding the body. Doing anything to an NPC other than pickpocket them will affect your mission rating however.

Don't mess with these, if you want to continue breathing
Don't mess with these, if you want to continue breathing

Later on the game some mechanical options arrive in the form of walking and flying drones. As far as I know, the only thing to do with bots is not be seen! Actually I lie, I remember some orb things which you could use to take out cameras would work on bots as well I think. I didn't use any items in my play through so I can't be sure.

An example of one of the more cool levels in the game!
An example of one of the more cool levels in the game!

I spent about 10 hours slowly creeping around the games 15 or so levels split across 8 missions and I had a blast, definitely an enjoyable game and well worth playing. There's an official expansion named The Dulce Archives which is next on my hit list.

This post was first published Sunday 7th of July 2019 and was last modified Sunday 7th of July 2019 at 14:56:19.

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