Republique Review

Paranoid, but not an android.

Editor's note: This is an update to our original review of the PC version of Republique, which did not include Episodes 4 and 5 at the time. The review has been expanded to include specifics for the completed, PS4 version.

It begins with a plea for help. A close up on a teenage girl's panicked face, clandestinely whispering about being “erased." Her name is Hope. You don't know why she's called you. You can't quite tell where she is. But you know she's frightened, and everything is horribly wrong. We know this not because some omniscient narrator fills us in on the world in Republique's opening scene but in the same way you get all your information in Republique, a way that few games offer: you observe. You explore.The truth about Hope's new surroundings is out there, on the walls, in the newspapers, on the voicemails scattered around the game. A foreboding “headmaster” sees all, assuring an unseen populace that all is still right with the world--except clearly it isn't.

Nowhere to run, no where to hide.
Nowhere to run, no where to hide.

You're surrounded by guards, people are blathering on about manifestos, the dangers of information, and about the poisonous influence of a dead rebel named Daniel Zager, who sets the tone at the game's outset with a single quote: “I used to be angry at my government because I thought they weren't listening. Now I'm angry because I know they are.” We are in a world of lavish accommodations, a place that more resembles Xavier's School for the Gifted than any sort of prison, and yet all the other telltale signs of a stone cold prison are inescapable, and in full view.

And so begins Republique, with a sense of supreme disquiet, and a constant, ongoing bewilderment. It's that bewilderment that drives the game onward and what keeps players guessing episode after episode through a mystery that's all too reticent to hand out the easy answers.

The dystopian nightmare is a compelling veneer for a rather simple stealth game when it comes down to brass tacks, though. Once you break Hope out of her initial confinement cell, your task is simply to keep her out of the hands of the Prizrak, the private security stooges milling about, keeping Pre-Cals—that is, the children of Republique—in their place, locked up, and under control. You do this by hijacking the thousands of surveillance devices scattered around the place, Watch Dogs style, and guide Hope from hiding place to hiding place, just beyond the sight of the Prizrak, hacking every piece of electronics you can find, occasionally managing to improve your door access in the process. Republique's lineage shows here. Developer Camouflaj has a few Metal Gear Solid veterans working under its roof, and that game's stealth pedigree shows in the patrol patterns, Hope's hiding spots, and the more advanced reactions when the Prizrak spot Hope and give chase.

The Inquisition's here and it's here to stay.
The Inquisition's here and it's here to stay.

The difference is that Hope doesn't have Snake's arsenal—or anything much at all really. Hope can pick up pepper spray, tasers, and a landmine that puts Prizrak to sleep. She can even pickpocket from the Prisrak if she's clever. But for every item Hope picks up to just barely fend off being caught, the Prizrak get taser-proof armor and nerve gas. It's in character for the game at least, since Hope is definitely shown to be a naïve character who wouldn't know anything about the subtle arts of murder and persuasion. But it means often feeling like Hope is hideously outnumbered and outgunned.

Or at least it would if getting caught meant death, or punishment, or higher security. Instead, losing means getting marched hands-up to the nearest confinement cell (which are, essentially, the game's save rooms), waiting for the guard to leave so you can bust Hope out. For a place that seemingly wants Hope dead, and has no problem with putting the boots to anyone who disobeys, they seem to handle Hope the way you would a bratty 4 year old, and it works every time. It doesn't make sneaking any less fun, and arguably, the infinite retries are often a blessing, considering the amount of backtracking you already have to do, but it does mess with the game's immersion.

The game’s interface has been heavily redesigned to take full advantage of the DualShock4.

Indeed, breaking the hypnotic, curious spell the game can cast when its doling out more of the mystery is its biggest problem. Ironically, the Playstation 4 version’s greatest technical success lends a hand to its greatest failure. The mobile and PC ports strictly kept the player as an omniscient voyeur, whose all-seeing eye jumped around the facility, whose touch/cursor led Hope every step of the way to freedom. For PS4, the game’s interface has been heavily redesigned to take full advantage of the DualShock4, with camera jumps now context sensitive, with buttons assigned to elements in the environment, Mark of Kri-style.

This also allows the player full control over Hope using the left analog stick instead of just pointing her to the next location. On the positive side, except for an occasional stickiness when leaving cover, Hope’s movements are appropriately responsive and simple to latch onto, making stealth all the more intuitive. The problem is the dissonance that comes with now being in full control over someone who still consistently asks for your assistance during gameplay--it essentially robs her of hard-won agency in the process.

An example of Republique's new interface on PS4.
An example of Republique's new interface on PS4.

The hits to immersion don't stop there. When jumping from camera to camera, you have the ability to read detailed files on each of the guards, which would be a nifty touch, one that pays off in spades in the third episode, if not for the fact that most of the guards' files have a giant “Kickstarter backer” stamp under their country's flag, and often references their gamer identities. Early on, you start getting additional assistance from another Prizrak guard who calls and offers advice and information in emojis and a robotic voice. He's a strong character, whose role in the facility gets pieced together bit by bit, and who just so happens to have floppy disks referencing fellow indie developers and Playstation exclusives scattered all around the place as collectables. The game certainly has supporters in high places who deserve their tips of the hat, but placing those smirking nods so shortly after Hope sees her first dead body, or after watching Republique's media branch destroy a man's reputation feels wholly out of place.

It's only a stumbling block considering how great of a job the game does in world-building for such extended periods of time. For most of Republique, our eyes and ears are just as innocent as Hope's, and every new room is ripe with opportunities to learn something new, to fit a new piece of the puzzle on what we know about the Headmaster's plans and ambitions, the rampant, terrifying censorship and moralizing, the journalism-turned-propaganda-machine the failed, hostile attempts by Republique brass to engage the leaders of the free world. The stellar voice cast keeps us engaged from minute one, with every hackable device giving us brief, audio-only glimpses of the outside world and Republique's black-hat inner workings.

Where Republique's gameplay is satisfyingly simple, the plot driving it on is anything but.

At the center of it all, literally, and metaphorically, there's just Hope: a frightened girl who just wants to see the world outside Republique, not realizing just what kind of world she’s trying to work her way back into. She definitely finds out through the course of Republique’s five episodes. It's worrisome stuff that threatens to absolutely ruin a girl who we're already forced to tread lightly with in the early going. One of the few moral choices in the game involves that very idea, of how much Hope can bear. Though Episode 4 is a disappointing regression to point-and-click adventure game ideas that have long been rendered obsolete, the answers are abundant, frightening, and more than a little on the ambitious side when the game comes to its climax. Its pedigree as the offspring of Metal Gear Solid veterans is never so pronounced as it is when Republique crescendos, and it more than outshines the relative coyness of the first three episodes. Where Republique's gameplay is satisfyingly simple, the plot driving it on is anything but.

Needless to say, despite its mobile game roots, the world of Republique is meant to immerse, to beckon the player's curiosity, and to involve them enough in the city-state's ins and outs enough to get Hope out of danger. In transitioning to consoles, the game remains largely successful at that.

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The Good
Intuitive and fun stealth gameplay
Great environmental storytelling
Well-plotted mystery
Strong voice acting
New DualShock controls work like a charm
The Bad
Lacks in tension due to the inability to fail
Occasionally long load times
Fourth-wall references kill immersion
Episode 4 feels out of place
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Republique Remastered

About the Author

Justin Clark completed Republique Remastered in 10 hours on PlayStation 4. GameSpot was provided with a complimentary copy of the game for this review.
49 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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rodluke

I thought this game was dreadful for a game priced at £24.99 and having a GS rating of 8/10.
Hated the controls and found it so slow to do anything, even the simplest things such as accessing the map (which, once accessed, was quite confusing) - There's not been many games that make me very frustrated but this surely did. Not a difficult game at all, just pure hardship to play with no fluidity or smooth gameplay.

3/10 and overpriced

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moldyspud

Weak lame game

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Externalpower43

" inability to fail" Lol. Sounds challenging.

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jecomans

@externalpower43: It has a binary fail state. You get caught, you fail, you start back at the last check point. So maybe you have an 'inability to fail' insofar as it has no lasting consequences, but it's not as if you aren't punished for bad play.

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franzito

So this game is a hybrid of other titles and still worthy an 8? Well, I don't play games for originality anyway.

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jecomans

@franzito: Do you think it unusual that a game designer would take what has come before and add their own spin too it in their own game? I mean, the entire idea of a 'genre' is built upon such a thing.

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Kyelo

@franzito: Surprised? Look at games like COD and Forza.

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Boddicker

Those are some pretty big negatives to still receive an 8.

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ps3gamer1234

What does "Fourth-wall references kill immersion"(Clark) mean?

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linthes999

@ps3gamer1234: "Breaking the fourth/4th wall", generally means it's speaking directly to the audience, or making references about being in the game/tv show they're starring in.

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naryanrobinson

@ps3gamer1234: .

The protagonist speaks speaks to the player, or references the fact that they're in a video game.

I don't know exactly which, I haven't played it.

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jecomans

@naryanrobinson: I'm struggling to think of what the 4th wall breakers are, after the first four episodes? The main character, Hope, at times will pick up a phone or device and speak to the camera, to you, but the entire game is built around the idea that you are someone telling her where to move, guiding her escape, because you have access to all the cameras in the game, so it makes sense that she would talk to a camera if she wants to tell you something, or if she wants comfort. Her freedom is reliant on this unknown entity, and all she really knows is that you can see her. It's not immersion breaking, it's the game.

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GoodGamesGuy

Another quality title, will have to check this out soon!

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nomailx

quote: "It's that bewilderment that drives the game onward".

That's what happens when wanna be writers find themselves reviewing games for nerds.

Dude, i read the Review and still have no idea about what the game is about. (you see, I used about twice in a row and I don't give a sht bout it). Yes you write for gamers. Use sentences like:

"You shoot stuff" or "you shoot stuff in 3rd person", or even more "you shoot stuff like diablo"...

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@nomailx: I want to think that you are making a joke.

Yet you have made idiotic statements before in the past, and you actually seemed convinced of your statements.

You are like the successor to the "xxxNarutofanxxx" user which was often lampooned in Feedbackula and the earlier GameSpot shows.

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nomailx

@Gelugon_baat: I was quoted many times in Feedbackula but as "nomailx". But Naruto is an inspiration for everyone who like to speak their mind freely without worrying to be "politically incorrect".

About Feedbackula, it was the best internet show, if you take "freedom of speech" into consideration.

Unfortunately, it was canceled after one of the reviewers got too many attacks for giving only a "9" to GTA 5 cause it was sexist. After that, Gamespot went into a Decline and met the floor when Kevin resigned because of Assassin's Creed.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@nomailx: Feedbackula was stopped because its "star", Johnny Chiodini, resigned and eventually stopped making those videos. The other two staffers, Sebastian Ford and Cameron, who regularly participated in the show, also resigned to go freelance.

Also, Kevin resigned because he wanted to write stories for games - and for Trion Worlds, of all game-makers.

You got most of your facts wrong, so I am going to take the rest of your remarks with a proverbial fistful of salt.

Also, if you are referring to that "xxxNarutofanxxx", I repeat again: that dude was an idiot. Don't be an idiot.

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nomailx

@Gelugon_baat: Your so called "facts" are cover up stories pushed by Gamespot. Not real facts.

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Gelugon_baat

@nomailx: Describe how they are cover-up stories and not real facts then. Do you even have any proof?

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alien33

@nomailx: I thought Kevin was fired. What is this AC incident you mention?

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nomailx

@alien33: It's not just AC. Gamespot, for like 1 year now, has given itself even more into advertising. (30 seconds spots on videos, constant stream of betas, etc... like the IGN model if you prefer). Aggressive advertising, (like IGN is doing with TV shows right now) is some kind of "covered up paid review).

For example, you can't give a 5 to a game you advertised, based beta shows, etc...

That didn't suit Kevin's integrity and after a while he resigned. AC was the last drop. He left.

You can be skeptic of course, so just do the math yourself. Why did all the reviewers, editors, etc.... disappeared from Gamespot in a time period of 1 year?

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Gelugon_baat

@alien33: VanOrd was not fired. He resigned because he want to write stories for Trion Worlds.

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RaveNRolla

@Gelugon_baat: do you know what happened to shaun too? and chris seems to still be here (i saw him recently in a very short clip) but not on the frontlines anymore? just asking because you seem to know the site well. Except for Danny i don't know any1 here anymore.

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Gelugon_baat

@RaveNRolla: Shaun left because he realized that he was falling into a routine during his time at GameSpot - and having seen what he does in his videos when he was in GameSpot, he's the kind that gets bored easily by anything that is familiar. He left, and I wouldn't chalk it up to more than just a whim on his part.

As for Chris Watters, he's behind the scenes now. He appears every now and then in a sponsored or promo-collabo event. He's pretty much the only one at GameSpot who has a stomach for this kind of thing, which can be easily seen as selling-out.

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RaveNRolla

@Gelugon_baat: thx. shame, i liked the old "crew", including Kevin, even though he bashed some of my favourite games, i always respected that. nowadays it seems all AAA-titles get an 8 or 9 here (QB seems to be an exception), while all indie-games get a 6 or 5. now i'm exaggerating a bit, but it kinda feels this way.

and my favourite show "house of horrors" seems to be gone too...

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scatterbrain007

@RaveNRolla: I'm not sure which Chris you're refering too. A last name would help, but a google search turned up Shaun's twitter which is up-to-date. He's @smcinnis on Twitter.

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RaveNRolla

@scatterbrain007: watters, didn't know there is another one here, but i don't know a lot of names of the newer guys and girls.

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Daian

@Gelugon_baat: I miss Feedbackula.

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dooNish

@nomailx: Oh...... my....... God.

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RogerioFM

@nomailx: I gave you a like just because of how courageous you are about being an idiot.

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nomailx

@RogerioFM: And I gave you a Like back cause i know that deep down... you agree... :)

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D-Man

@nomailx: Oh look, another weeaboo man-child telling professional critics how to do their job. On GS no less. What a shocker.

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jecomans

@d-man: I think you need to tighten up your use of the phrase, 'weeaboo', because the only thing remotely connecting OP to the Japanese or Japanese culture is his picture, and liking anime is a continent away from what being a weeaboo is.

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D-Man

@jecomans: no it's not

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Argle

@nomailx: "you see, I used about twice in a row and I don't give a sht bout it" - which is grammatically incorrect....If there is a point here I'm missing it.

Look at the 4th paragraph, read the summary at the end.....you don't shoot anything. From what I can tell, it's a non-combat stealth game.

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StammBladecastr

@Argle: I think he's saying that he used the word "about" twice in the same sentence. Apparently that makes him a rebel. Maybe his Junior High writing teacher told him not to repeat words.

But no, he's a gamer daredevil that tells it like it is -- even if that means repeating words (gasp!).

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alien33

@nomailx: Wait, you shoot stuff in Diablo? Maybe you meant Doom?

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nomailx

@alien33: If you play with the Demon Hunter, yeah you shoot stuff.

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alien33

@nomailx: Yeah, but what a rare comparison you made there. I've heard people saying you shoot stuff like Doom or like CoD or like Battlefield. I've never heard anyone saying you shoot stuff like Diablo :P

Avatar image for Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@nomailx: From the summary in the bottom of the review:

Intuitive and fun stealth gameplay (So we can guess it's a stealth game)
Great environmental storytelling (So it's story based)
Well-plotted mystery (So it can be placed withing the thriller genre)
I think it's pretty clear there.
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StaticPenguin

@Warlord_Irochi: Obviously that escapes him though. It's not straight forward enough.

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jecomans

It's interesting that several reviews have mentioned that they thought episode four was bad or out of place, yet by user feedback in the forums it has been widely praised.

It's odd, reviewers always seem to dislike episode 4 of episodic games (like, basically all of them going back to Walking Dead season 1) significantly more than consumers do. I wonder why?

Avatar image for doonish
dooNish

@jecomans:

Basic rule of comedy: Things are funny in 3's.

Basic rule of comedy: Things are funny in 3's.

Basic rule of comedy: Things are funny in 3's.

Basic rule of comedy: Things are funny in 3's. SEE?! That one wasn't funny.

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jecomans

@doonish: You make a succinct point.

Avatar image for deactivated-58bf2c0ad76b2

@jecomans: Shot in the dark: maybe it's the natural feel of the trilogy structure? I think trilogies are so popular because they easily fit the Introduction-Body-Climax/Conclusion structure. Perhaps making more than three components is inherently more difficult to do in a way that keeps the narrative running smoothly?

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jecomans

@FinalPreator: In Goldberg's texts on storytelling (the guy that wrote the book on the Hero's Journey, and codified the 3 act story), the three act basis was the simplification of a greater narrative structure. The heroes journey itself has 12 components, but the important thing in terms of narrative pacing is the arc. So 3, 5, 7, etc, act structures can all fit. In a five act structure, the 4th is generally designated the lull before the finale. Such is the case in this game. The third act ends with the realisation of the immediate goal being sought in the first three acts, but of course a complication must occur. That's why you find in similar 5 act games, like the Telltale games, the fourth act does comparatively little to drive the plot, except for the very ending, and usually contains minimal action (though in this case the action is heavy, but very different in tone). The point of the fourth act is usually to reinforce character and the characters relationships, before the eventual despair and catharsis of the ultimate act.

I'm simplifying that, too, because each individual episode does usually conform to its own act structure, as part of the overriding structure (see how RE:Revelations 2 fails as an episodic game, because it was clearly not designed to be so, chapters there don't have proper arcs or resolutions).

So perhaps the issue is that your average consumer who has made it this far is more emotionally involved with the characters they are playing? As opposed to a reviewer who just has to play the whole thing though to get a review out. So when the fourth episode slows down to adapt and reinforce the players relationship with the character, the mindset is different between those two very different styles of play? And I don't mean to say that reviewers don't feel invested, they clearly often do, but I think maybe the immediacy of a reviewers intent, compared to a normal gamer, might go some way to explaining why the 4th act disconnect occurs so frequently.

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@jecomans:

Man, I feel like it's been way too long since I've engaged critically with this sort of thing, especially from a structuralist standpoint. I'm not familiar with Goldberg, or other structural approaches to narrative for that matter, but your point on the disparity of emotional investments across players and critics makes sense to me.

I wonder what serialized games lately do to player investment and if they emphasize these sorts of structures? One of the reasons I couldn't play a game like this until it was released in compilation is because between the time of playing each episode I've forgotten why I care. The clear division of episodes would also seem to make the narrative structure all the more obvious.

Avatar image for jecomans
jecomans

@FinalPreator: With Telltale I definitely prefer waiting until the end, because their release schedule is choppy, too say the least. Life is Strange did pretty well, having a very steady 8 weeks between chapters. One thing that I really love about the episodic structure is that it gives you a bit of time where so many players want to talk about the little details in each episode, and you miss that playing at the end, where there is so much game too talk about that most of it focuses on the broad strokes.

Thinking on the investment aspect further, I was watching a podcast earlier this year that had a look at the episodic nature of the new Hitman game, and the business wisdom of such a decision. They looked at Steam achievement data, and SteamSpy (a reasonably accurate sales counter), for a bunch of Telltale games, and found that between episode 1 and 2, 20% of the audience dropped off, and between 2 and 3 a further 40% dropped off, but after that most people who got to the end of episode three finished the game. I've had a gander over Google too see how that meshes with achievements in normal games, to see whether a similar drop off occurs, but I couldn't find any decent sounding average for such a disparate sample. Any way, that data suggests that by episode four less than half of the players who started the game will still be around, so from that perspective you're self-selecting for players who have a real investment in the game, especially considering that engagement levels appear to drop off quickly, but remain rather steady in the back-end.

Republique Remastered More Info

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  • First Released Dec 31, 2014
    released
    • Android
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • + 4 more
    • Macintosh
    • Oculus Go
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    Republique is a stealth-action game that explores the perils of government surveillance in the Internet Age.
    7.9
    Average Rating23 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Republique Remastered
    Developed by:
    Camouflaj, LLC
    Published by:
    Camouflaj, LLC, GungHo, NIS America
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Strong Language, Violence