Fundamentally a cross between a point and click adventure and a stealth game, République Remastered has one main goal: to tell you its story.
A PC conversion of a mobile game, you would be forgiven for immediately hearing alarm bells, however République Remastered has updated the graphics and adapted the controls to work superbly with a keyboard and mouse. As an episodic game, the PC version currently grants you access to the first three episodes, with the final two scheduled to be released this year.
République Remastered begins with you answering a phone call from a distressed young girl, aptly named Hope. Fearing being erased, which sounds like a bad deal, she begs you for help and the action picks up from there. You soon learn of a totalitarian society, ruled by The Headmaster, also known as the Overseer, where anything that threatens his ideal is banned and everything is monitored in order to maintain the order of the place.
I should point out that you are, essentially, playing yourself in this game, or at least a version of you that has hacked into the security system. In your position of an interested observer you are free to use and control any camera, and switch between them at will. This is performed via a mode known as OMNI view and this is also your primary tool for gathering more information about the world via the collectables strewn about. Unfortunately this exposition usually involves looking at a static picture of an item while a voiceover, be it a description or a conversation, plays out. Your options here are to sit through it or skip the entire piece of dialogue. Whilst I was engaged in République’s narrative, I couldn’t help sighing on reaching a new area and seeing three or four of these together – knowing that I would be listening, and not interacting, for a while.
Your aim soon becomes to aid Hope in escaping from the facility she lives in, however she is not an action hero so stealth is paramount here. To guide Hope to the next destination you use your position as a fly on the wall to scout ahead and learn the guard’s patrol routes, before moving her through the area, hopefully undetected. Hope’s movement is, for the most part, intelligent, naturally hiding behind objects and she has some subtle behaviours that make her feel a little more alive, for instance peeking round a corner, or shuffling slightly away if a guard gets too close. However there were a couple of occasions where this did not work, and in one instance Hope stood up from the perfectly safe hiding spot and walked directly into a guard. This was only a minor annoyance as Hope will defend herself if she has the tools to do so, and the penalty for being caught is to have any items confiscated and be slowly escorted to the nearest confinement cell. Getting past the guards isn’t difficult with a little patience and I only let Hope be caught once. As luck would have it this was during a rare backtracking period, and the guard ushered Hope straight through the area. More stealth sections would not have gone amiss yet this means that they have yet to outstay their welcome and the odd puzzle breaks up the wandering.
République is good looking, with small details supporting the place you have found yourself in. Some well-known voice actors have been brought on board to provide the dialogue, which is of an expected high quality. The Headmaster is particularly enthralling to listen to, which accentuates his character as a likeable, alluring leader. The sound design is also good, with small details such as replicating the electronic interference noise when a mobile phone rings.
Each episode has been better than the last so far, which bodes well for episodes 4 and 5 when they are released. So far each episode has ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
The result of all this is a polished and thoughtful stealth game which takes a backseat to the contemporary, cautionary tale, with strong characterisation. I’ve tried to avoid talking too much about the story and setting, as it was these that piqued and held my interest, and the best experience of the game is one where you discover this for yourself.