CHENNAI: There are games where if you took a break from playing them, getting back to them would be as disorienting as waking up mid-nap. Why am I here? What was I doing? How do I move? How did Trevor land up near this dumpster? So, once every so often, we find ourselves in need of a tastebreaker. This time, I played ‘The Red Strings Club’.It is a cyberpunk-based story that I started playingwhen Cyberpunk 2077 initially released across consoles.
TRSC is a narrative driven game, where we learn more about the story of this universe based on dialogue and some action choices of the stories of multiple characters. Donovan is a bartender at The Red Strings Club. He serves drinks to alter the moods of the visitors, and requests payment in information. While I wonder how they manage to breakeven, Donovan begins to uncover the conspiracy behind ‘Social Psyche Welfare’, when a half-alive ‘Akara’ android stumbles into the bar.
While most of the game is just reading a lot of dialogue with ambient music backing it, there is some gameplay interspersed within the story.TRSC does a good job of occasionally breaking the fourth wall to summon spirits (us) to help us vibe match the game. This involves us doing a bit of the heavy-lifting — mixing Donovan’s drinks to create the optimal mixture to obtain information from the visitors, or creating the right implants to alter the cyberpunk lifestyle of people in Supercontinent Ltd.
What the game lacks in pixel density and gameplay, it compensates for in the intricacy of the storyline and character depth. As the drink mixes get more complicated, so does the story surrounding SPW. Would a new civilization with half-humans who can’t experience sadness prevail?A normal game would have us seeing the story unravel first-hand from Donovan. But this game goes a level above, by having us see Donovan use visitors to the bar provide him with important information.
Without a doubt, the best part of TRSC is that the game provides highlights of important plot points at the top of the screen. Take a two month break from playing the game? No problem, there’s a ticker that gives you exactly where you’re at in terms of information gathered in the story. Donovan can have all my information if in return it meant that all games have this feature.
(This economics graduate spends her leisure time preparing for the zombie apocalypse)