GAME REVIEW: CLANDESTINE / DEVELOPER: LOGIC ARTISTS / PUBLISHER: LOGIC ARTISTS / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Clandestine is a self-titled "asymmetrical co-op spy thriller" that has a lot to offer, and has just hit Steam as an early access game. Set in 1996, players are investigating the murders of cold war operatives by sneaking, spying and hacking their way through a series of offices and buildings. The developers have created four challenge maps for the early access version, which allow the player or players to get to grips with the controls and the game mechanics without giving away any of the plot. The full release is set to include a storyline campaign, but for now it's just a few maps to come to terms with.
The game offers a great twist on the stealth genre, adding a hacking element that really gives players a chance to further submerge themselves in the action. Although the game can be played in single player, it's the co-op mode that really shows off what this early access has to offer. One player takes on the role of your typical stealth-genre protagonist, while the other player works as a guide behind the scenes, hacking into alarm systems, taking down firewalls and finding out door codes to safely guide you across the map. Whether you're spying or hacking, the co-op in this game offers something a little different from the norm, with two players taking on very different roles to achieve their goals.
Clandestine works amazingly well if you're playing on your own, too; the only difference being that you're hacking and traversing through the maps yourself, instead of splitting the gameplay. The game combines the two different elements really successfully, offering players a unique experience that's not really been seen in this genre. This early access game is still a little buggy, with a few problems that hinder the otherwise fun and tactical gameplay. Enemies that shouldn't be able to see you sometimes can, and shooting can be tricky at times.
Hacking in Clandestine is a lot of fun and requires a decent amount of thought and planning if you want to get through the map successfully. Playing as protagonist and field operative Katja isn't bad, but it's not great either. Playing as a female in what's become a genre dominated by men is great, and the character designs and graphics have a fantastic ‘90s vibe to them, but the gameplay still needs a lot of work. The bugs in the game make it hard to navigate, and it's sometimes easy to know what to do but difficult to execute your plan thanks to the controls.
This isn't a game that can be barrelled through with a few badly-aimed shots and a few health packs - you need to have tact, speed and skill to work your way through these unforgiving maps. A couple of shots from the enemy can take you down, meaning that every single move you make needs to be done with thought and care.
As with lots of early access games, the gameplay itself needs some development, though the creators are working to fix any and all issues that gamers come across. Overall, Clandestine has the makings of a great game that utilises a unique style of gameplay. The clever co-op mode provides hours of entertainment, whether you're spying or hacking, and the single player mode is sure to make a great campaign when the game is fully released.
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