Glitchpunk: Early Access – Review

Our Rating: 6/10

We begin Glitchpunk in front of a chapel, having no recollection of what had occurred or who we were. Magnus, the commander of Ordor, a fanatical religious organization, interrogates us and asks a series of questions. He wants to determine whether he is interacting with a human or an android. He concludes that we are the latter (regardless of our answers). Although we are android, we are unique in the way that we have a special feature known as a “glitch”. This allows us to function contrary to our programming.

As a result of this condition, we became mercenaries and began carrying out various quests such as murder, car theft, and drug delivery, among others. We will have three tasks to accomplish at first; this will essentially serve to introduce us to the three groups for which we can work and their ideologies.

Following that, the player chooses the relationship and order in which the tasks are completed. This, in turn, determines which of the game’s multiple endings is available. This type of narrative – for those who are fans of the theme – has a clear comparison to several cult books and films on the subject. It was amusing, as simple as it may seem.

A beautiful but unconvincing cyberpunk city

First and foremost, the game was created using the Unreal 4 engine. We had no idea was capable of producing something so different from what I’d seen before. Glitchpunk isn’t visually stunning. We have a top-down camera that gives us something basic and nostalgic, but it isn’t enough to persuade us.

The game’s graphics, in contrast to its inspirational source, are bland, delivering a confusing and monotonous. The structures are all the same and don’t offer anything new. I understand the creators’ desire to create something sentimental. However, as a fan of the franchise, I found GTA II’s visual content and setting to be far more appealing. To be fair, the visuals in the game aren’t bad; they just don’t show anything new or exciting at the moment.

The exchange of fire, in which we have a very arcade-style game, can be quite entertaining. Even so, in its current preview phase, we have a major issue with instability. Despite giving us something simple and seemingly lightweight, Glitchpunk still causes some PC to crash and gag, which was an unexpected negative given the game’s simple appearance. According to the community, these issues aren’t always present, and their creators are already aware of them and working on solutions for future patches.

Looks more like a mod than a new game

As previously stated, Glitchpunk is a “themed copy” of GTA II, which means it includes numerous quests and/or references to its predecessor. There are several recurring missions, such as transporting a car from one location to another, assassinating someone, or transporting an NPC/something.

The controls are limited to WASD and mouse, with little variety except for hack mode, which allows us to pick a target and use one of the installed hacks to execute various actions on him, such as killing him or sending him into a rage, causing everyone to turn against him.

This is most likely the part of the game with the most potential. It can be used to infiltrate locations or to covertly eliminate targets. After all, the game is still in early access, which means that there will be a lot of improvements and/or additions in the future. This section, for example, was the one that piqued my interest the most and it could be explored further in the future.

The AI in the game bothered me the most. The police and the citizens are both needing several major optimizations. There are programming errors, to the point where we face invisible walls, an “army” of police, citizens “hitting heads” into walls, and we cannot escape the police on our own because they are evident in every inch of the city – which is not very big.

Of course, this last detail fits better with the game’s reality; after all, we’re in the future of the future, so getting away with a crime shouldn’t be easy. Within the game genre, however, this can quickly become frustrating and exhausting.

“Mass” soundtrack, inside cars

In terms of sound, Glitchpunk has the same quieter walking routine as its predecessor, with some radios available when entering a car. This is pretty cool if we consider the game’s goal of immersion because these radios can help create the right mood for the situation, especially during pursuits.

The game’s “ambient” sound might be a highlight. Normally, the world in this cyberpunk setting is overcrowded, resulting in a cacophony of voices, salespeople, and police clashes. The world appears to be dead from this vantage point. We do have some city sounds, but they almost seem ghostly due to the lack of more noise and more people and vehicles, which does not fit the theme.

Final Thoughts

Glitchpunk Early Access gave a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, the game evoked a cool sense of nostalgia and piqued my interest due to the theme; on the other hand, the game was a huge letdown given how “warm” the city is presented. The most enjoyable aspects of the game, in my opinion, are the mods we installed and the plot; however, the game becomes so empty and repetitive that it barely holds our attention until we reach one of the numerous endings.

It’s a pity that, in keeping with the theme, the game features a world devoid of sounds and people on the streets, which goes completely against the flow of the scenario, which depicts the consequences of future overpopulation. Is it worth it? Because the game is still in early access, many bugs and features will need much attention. But, if you’re a fan of Grand Theft Auto II, you’re probably as excited as I am about its future.

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