State of Mind is one of those unique games that dazzles on concept. Its cyberpunk story and unique visuals make the game intriguing from the moment you lay eyes on it. State of Mind tries to tell a very real story with social commentaries, but it comes off as trying too hard. State of Mind comes off as a great concept, poor execution type game. Everything from its character interactions, story, to gameplay all have great concepts but are poorly executed. In short, State of Mind may not be what you’re looking for.
State of Mind is a narrative-driven game set in 2048, where you play as Richard Nolan. Richard is a journalist who focuses on government practices/conspiracies. The world is on the brink of total collapse, Earth’s resources are used up, the air is dangerously polluted, and crime has never been higher. The world is connected through technology, with governments and companies in the game promising fixes through such technology. Richard is thrown in the middle of a big conspiracy that will change the world.
As you can tell by the above paragraph, State of Mind is quick to throw you into a deep, very bleak story. However, as bleak as the world is in the game, the visuals are absolutely stunning. State of Mind is not trying for photorealistic graphics, it’s more like a late 90s, sharp, polygon style. What’s stunning is the environmental texture quality and lighting details. I mean, they are good and help make this world feel alive and real. Dark alleys are given great details, such as water on the walls that shimmers with light reflecting off it. You’ll see rain drops fall onto a neon-lit road. It’s small things like this that make this world something you want to explore.
That said, the basic gameplay of State of Mind, a contemporary point-and-click adventure, falls flat. The gameplay is meant to be slow, you’re supposed to explore the world. However, I wasn’t expecting it to be this painfully slow. The point is to get to a location, look for clues, examine things, and get out. The problem is that the story never picks up from there. The most exciting part of the game is supposed to be this deceptive-style gameplay, but it’s boring. Even worse, there isn’t really any combat. The game has you dealing with terrorists, evil corporations, and armed robots, yet there isn’t any time where you have actually get to battle them. The closest you get to combat is when you need to create a clear path in a security-filled train station. Even then, you don’t do much to avoid being seen. All of this makes for a pretty boring experience. There’s no danger of failing, so you never feel like you need to work quickly or smartly to avoid getting caught. This makes a 12 hour(ish) game consistently boring throughout the whole experience.
The other major criticism I have is that your decisions in the game don’t matter. To be fair, the game doesn’t offer RPG-like or Mass Effect-styled “choose one of the options that will change the story” dialogue options. State of Mind just plays out like a normal story. That would be fine if the story was fun or at least easy to follow. State of Mind tries to have too many things going on in the story that it’s hard to keep up. Still, the worst part for me is that it doesn’t feel like my story. I’m playing Richard’s story, and my decisions have no consequences to them. Games like Deus Ex allow you the option to choose how your story unfolds, making your playthrough as Adam Jensen different from my playthrough as him. In State of Mind, how you play Richard is the same as how I play Richard. This leaves you feeling disconnected from the character and the world as you never really feel like you’re a part of the story.
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 15th August 2018
We interviewed a cyber security expert, read all about it HERE