March 25, 2021
Mar 31, 2021
A nerve-racking dark horror game with some "identity"!
The people over at NetEase show that they know how to make good mobile games, but also average console/PC games. They have been Blizzard's partners in China for over a decade. Regardless of all the criticisms that can be made about Blizzard, they have solidly maintained their status in the video game world, so it's still quite an endorsement.
I'm not here to talk about video game developers, but I felt you needed to know a bit about the team behind Identity V's for some context.
I mentioned earlier that Identity V had an "identity". Apart from seizing the opportunity to make a pun, I was attempting to illustrate how this game attempts to be too many things at once - a kind of halfway Among Us mixed with a detective novel and a survival game, coupled with Tim Burton-style visuals - while the final product ends up transcending the sum of its ingredients.
If I were to give a musical analogy, Identity V would be like the King Crimson of mobile games, as in, a mish-mash of styles and genres that somehow clicked for many people. It was a rather obscure reference, but you may hopefully get the idea.
Even though Identity V is a "free-to-play" game, it feels like a premium game. I don't simply say this in a "game looks nice, therefore premium" sense, but rather based on the sum of all its elements.
More often than not, free-to-play games end up being pure eye candy with no flavor at the core, like empty shells with shallow to no content at all. Identity V, on the flip side, is rich in content and lore, while not being too heavy on them. It's likened to a small idea executed correctly, which I find more satisfying than a plethora of grandiose ideas executed poorly. The whole backstory around the manor, while not strictly necessary, adds a layer of depth to the game and elicits immersion in a way most free-to-play games can't muster.
Of course, we should add the game's stunning visuals to the equation. Many free-to-play games offer pretty visuals, but they frequently feel too generic. The visuals in Identity V, by contrast, feel handcrafted from the ground up and, while overly stylized and cartoonish, they add to the menacing atmosphere that the developers were aiming for.
Glancing at this game's graphics is a real treat, especially on a mobile screen. Sure, you will find some glitches and pop-ups here and there, and the graphics are not precisely RTX material, but they manage to look beautiful in their simplicity.
As we segway into the gameplay aspects of this game, it bears mentioning how NetEase nailed it with the way they concocted the multiplayer in this game. Most multiplayer games end up becoming a chore for me, as I have to suffer looking at my screen only to find it clogged with weird-looking dudes sporting 20-character-long nicknames above their heads acting crazy and trollish.
In this game, as in Among Us, the multiplayer is more focused, and while this idea of an "asymmetrical multiplayer game" (which I'll explain shortly) is not exactly original, it's incredibly well-executed here.
Identity V is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror survival game that incorporates detective novel elements and that's played from a third-person perspective.
The game is set in a large manor called Oletus Manor, and you learn that the owner (who remains anonymous) is wont to hold deadly hunter/hunted games there.
The story is told from the perspective of an ex-novelist called Orpheus, who, after losing his memory, decides to become a detective. The opening scene shows Orpheus driving through a forest road in the middle of a stormy night while he introduces himself to you and discloses his plan.
He arrives at the manor in the hopes of finding a missing person and unraveling its mysteries. He claims to have received a letter, but not addressing him by his real name, but by his alias (which you'll be prompted to create). After the cutscene, you are presented with the game's main mechanics as you take control of Orpheus.
A paper airplane, which was made out of a diary page, catches Orpheus' attention. Using his self-proclaimed ability to sense the emotions of a text, he reconstructs from the page's content past scenes of a young man nicknamed Lucky Guy, who is a playable "Survivor". You immediately take control of Lucky Guy as he attempts to escape the hunter (Smiley Face).
As said previously, Identity V is an asymmetrical multiplayer game, wherein you are pitted against players with different objectives and mechanics. You can play as either the Hunter or one of the Survivors. Hunters must kill all the Survivors before they have a chance to escape, while Survivors must escape, either with the aid of five Cipher Machines that they must decipher in order to open one of two Exit Gates or through a Dungeon if the other Survivors were eliminated.
Identity V features five different game modes. In the "Violent Struggle" navigation submenu, you have access to three modes: Duo Hunters, Blackjack, and Tarot. Duo Hunters enables you to team up with another Hunter in the search for eight Survivors. Blackjack incorporated the famous card game's rules into the core gameplay, Tarot will divide players into "Upright" and "Reverse" factions, each consisting of a King, a Knight, and two Squires, just like the figures shown in the iconic Tarot card deck.
The other game modes are Quick Matches and Rank Matches, which necessitate five players, one of them being designated with the Hunter role, while the other four with the Survivor role. Survivors are, in turn, categorized into Decode, Assist, Contain, and Rescue types, which are rather self-explanatory.
The game is free-to-play but it doesn't have any pay-to-win monetization tactics, which is a very pleasant surprise. Most of the purchases you can make are for customization purposes. There are some boosters you could acquire if you don't wish to grind, but the grinding is not too taxing anyways.
Identity V is nothing short of a masterpiece in the mobile gaming sphere. A game that truly deserves the praise and hype it has gotten over the years. Few mobile games to this day come close to delivering the exhilarating experience that this game delivers, and, while there may be better mobile games out there, Identity V could easily rank among the top 10.
How about you? Did you enjoy this magnificent game? Voice your thoughts in the comments section below!
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