Friday 13 March 2015

Metrocide: A Classic Murder Simulator!

The hum returned again, and it's clearer. It's soft now, but when it's ready it's gonna tear right through the guy.

The tracker stops, but the hum continues. She can make out his e-cig puffs at the corner. She has to move before the pop. She takes a few steps along the wall, hoping to avoid moving out into the street, but she can't make the line. She trusts the M-7 to deliver after the hum, but the shot's gotta be clear, otherwise it's eating wall and Marcel Ortiz is down the street, and her night gets longer. If she steps out now, the night can end now.

She decides it's happening.

The hum's nearly ready, and she's already got it on the guy as she clears the corner. Before her foot even hits the ground she hears the door open behind her, and catches the lady across the street, and right then, they're both up on her passive tracking.

The decision's been made. Right now, these people are going to watch, because she's standing in the open, looking down her M-7 at this guy's head. And they can see it. There's no exchange. No negotiation. They're just going to watch her M-7 eat right into this semi-electric puff-monkey, because she already made that decision.

And the guy who's on the losing end is looking right at her. She doesn't know if he can hear the hum over the din of the police drone down the block, but the lights are on. He knows whats happening. They all know what's happening. They all know what's happening, but no one's moving and no one's thinking. They're all just standing there waiting for the pop.

If you were to imagine a game that was the offspring of Syndicate and Grand Theft Auto 2, you would be understanding what Metrocide is, and as much as those games were, during the 90s, accused of being 'murder simulators', this game is actually much more of that than those games ever were.

Well, at the very least it is more focused. You play as simulated contract murderer, TJ Trench, who is either a simulated woman or a simulated man. The decision is yours.

As Trench, you are faced with a problem: people want you dead, so you need to get out of town. You also have another problem in that you have no money. I suppose that you also have this third problem of a limited skill set, but that turns out to be more of a problem for other people, because that limited skill set is murder. That is what you will be doing. For money. It's only simulated murder though.

You won't just be murdering folk in the super bland present day, though. You'll be busting caps and taking pay cheques in the near future. This mother is cyber-punk as shit, and you know how I get down on that. With a sense self-appointed of authority!

Metrocide is constructed from good ideas. That's its foundation. They're good ideas executed neatly and concisely. The behaviour of the characters, the layout of the city, and the way your tools and weapons work all serve a function that informs gameplay and your decision making.

The cyberpunk setting isn't a party trick, or an afterthought, either. It's intertwined in the gameplay and the behaviour of everything in the world. Unmanned police drones circle the city, while you make your way amongst trash collecting robots and armed gangs in the streets below.

Where a great many small budget games these days feel empty and incomplete, Metrocide feels rich and focused, like a AAA title from another era. The art style is consistent and engaging, the sense of humour is pervasive without interfering, and the game mechanics are refined to the point where risk assessment is totally informed.

Scenarios like the one at the top can and will happen, but you know the risks and possibilities before you step out into the street to release the hum on some fucker. You know, and that's your call. How you deal with it when the shit hits the fan is on you.

It's a whole and dedicated product ready for your digital consumption, which you can do at Steam, Good Old Games, Humble, Greenman Gaming, Gamersgate, and the App Store.

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