During the Steam Next Fest, a week-long occasion that includes demos and previews for upcoming video games, one sport referred to as out to me from the gang: the cyberpunk role-playing sport ANNO: Mutationem. The trailer alone felt particularly designed to lure me in, with its rhythmic soundtrack, its neon-drenched cityscape, and its badass feminine lead chopping up mechas with a laser sword. I used to be smitten.
Designed by ThinkingStars, ANNO: Mutationem is an action-adventure sport during which you play as Ann Flores, a “highly-skilled combat-trained lone wolf,” as she faces off in opposition to mega-corporations in pursuit of her lacking brother. If her description reminds you of Ghost within the Shell’s Motoko Kusanagi, properly, you’re not off-base. Right off the bat, ANNO’s aesthetic recollects the long-lasting cyberpunk tales that got here earlier than it like Ghost within the Shell, The Matrix, and Blade Runner. In the demo, Anno even wakes up from mattress and opens her blinds identical to GITS’ Major Kusanagi, wears an identical skin-tight fight swimsuit, and has a scripted scene the place she seems out on the metropolis’s skyline, like a pixel artwork model of Rick Deckard trying over Blade Runner’s dystopian Los Angeles. ANNO’s apparent inspirations don’t dip into parody although; as an alternative they supply a well-recognized basis from which the sport jumps off to inform its personal story.
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The demo follows Ann as she visits Alan Doyle, her cybernetics physician, to find who has been hacking her digital assistant. Naturally, the nice physician desires to run some checks via fight simulations, and Ann obliges. In what I can solely describe as a cyberpunk magical lady transformation, Ann dons her fight swimsuit and dives into the simulation like Neo in The Matrix. A+ for type factors.
After finishing a fight tutorial and reducing your enamel on a kaiju battle, you uncover that Ann is affected by “Entanglelitis,” a cybernetic “Mechanika’’ virus that has gone viral within the sport’s world. Ann’s Entanglelitis flares up when fights get too intense, inflicting her imaginative and prescient to distort. Ann then decides to see her brother, whom she hasn’t heard from in ages. She discovers he’s wrapped up within the metropolis’s felony underworld, and finds herself focused by the identical slew of cybernetic goons which might be searching him.
The sport’s fight is simply as “smoking attractive type” because the trailer makes it appear. Although it took a bit to determine the timing for dodges, I did a serviceable job of pulling off sick laser-sword combos on a bunch of enemies, which was satisfying as hell. There’s additionally a hacking mechanic that allows you to not solely unlock new story pathways, but additionally scan an enemy’s stats earlier than you hack and slash your approach via them.
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This all takes place in a world so full of intriguing particulars that you could possibly simply miss many in your first playthrough. I normally get my fill from a demo by enjoying it as soon as, however I used to be compelled to play this one a number of occasions to hunt for brand new merchandise particulars, dialogue choices, and weapon upgrades.
My efforts revealed extra lore, extra characters to work together with, and weapon upgrades I’d missed, although the demo locks you out of gaining sufficient credit to purchase them, and, tragically, of feeding the mysterious particular person within the sewers who’s frightened about their “bubbly farts.”
The beautiful pixel artwork mixes 2D and 3D components seamlessly in a approach that jogs my memory of 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, my 2020 sport of the 12 months. The demo means that ANNO: Mutationem may very well be a breathtakingly stunning RPG with a powerful feminine lead and a fight system during which I can specific myself. Hopefully the complete sport will dwell as much as that promise.
ANNO: Mutationem is slated to launch someday earlier than the tip of 2021.