Heavy Rain with robots. And an attitude.
Imagine waking up in hospital, finding out you’ve been in a car accident, and only having vague, piecemeal memories of what happened. You go home to find your wife and son are gone and that a robot (named Simon) has been moved into your apartment to “help you.”
Your name is Richard and apparently, you don’t like robots. In fact, you don’t seem to like much of anything as you storm around your apartment, indignant that your wife and child are not there to meet you. It seems that you don’t normally lack for female company, though, as you soon find that three voice messages have been left via CloudCall by a mystery woman who seems a bit too overly concerned about your lack of contact, y’know, considering you’re married and all.
Turns out you’re a bit of an asshole.
Don’t worry; State of Mind follows the events of two men, and thankfully, our second character has infinitely more charisma than Richard.
Adam Newman has also been in a car accident, though like Richard, the details are foggy. We join him in his apartment where we find him looking after his nine-year-old son as his wife has had to pop out – but not before leaving a thoughtful note. We help him perform menial tasks such as making his son’s breakfast or looking for a lost toy (think Heavy Rain) before taking him to the hospital for a number of undisclosed tests.
State of Mind is a story-driven, futuristic thriller from Daedalic Entertainment, set in the year 2048. The game follows the lives of Richard Nolan, a prickly journalist known for his controversial views in a world that appears to embrace robots, and Adam Newman, a doting father (and husband?) who seems almost meek in comparison. While both men are worlds apart as far as their personalities go, their lives seem connected; both are a similar age, married with a son, and both have almost non-existent memories of a freak car accident that appears to have happened at the same time. The story takes you on a journey to recover your memory and find out what happened to you, from both Richard and Adam’s perspectives.
Richard resides in Berlin while Adam lives in a place called City5. Humanoid robots are everywhere, serving as medical centre receptionists, household helpers, and even police officers. You’ll pass by people begging on the streets, homeless because their job was taken by a robot, while a news station blasts out reports on the latest bombings, interspersed with advertisements for “nano screening,” a two-minute test that finds out if you are suitable to join the colonisation of Mars.
Presumably, human augmentation is commonplace, as both Richard and Adam have access to CloudCall, some kind of built-in smartphone, allowing them to “call,” people and bring up a hologramatic representation of the person they’re speaking to. They both also have the added ability to scan objects or people and identify them from some unseen database. You’ll also be able to hack drones and use them to search for people or objects.
As you explore the world around you, you can (and should) interact with various objects and people. Both Richard and Adam have a Pin Board in their apartments which contains anything of importance that they’ve uncovered, helping you to figure out what you need to do or where you need to go. Initiating a conversation will often give you various dialogue options, though it is unclear from the preview whether or not this will have any impact on story or gameplay.
Most of the gameplay involves the exploration of your surroundings as you search for information or anything that will help to bring back the memory of the accident and the days preceding it. The low-poly visuals suit the game’s theme well; the angled environment “looks,” sharp or vaguely industrial, suiting this technologically advanced world. The controls are intuitive and simple – though I did have to turn up the mouse sensitivity a touch – and you can use a controller if the fancy takes you. Pleasingly, the in-game prompts will adapt to the controller you’re using, recognising both XB1 and PS4 controllers.
State of Mind has done a fantastic job of intriguing me in the hour or so that it took me to play the preview; I want to know what happens to both characters and I want to know how they are connected. The full game promises around fifteen hours of gameplay and I’m excited to know more.
State of Mind launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on August 15, 2018.
This review is based on a preview copy of the game, provided by the publisher for the purposes of this article.