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Hidden Agenda

Hidden Agenda

Is this Trapper a keeper?

  • Text: Bengt Lemne

Becky Marney is a rookie beat cop when she makes the arrest of a lifetime, taking down "The Trapper" an infamous serial killer who has been rigging victims with explosives in order to take out first responders. She's a detective five years later as the execution date draws near, but all of a sudden the apparent Trapper, who was caught red-handed, claims he didn't do it. This sets in motion a dark detective drama that channels abuse and corruption, Hidden Agenda.

Supermassive Games' latest release takes about 90 minutes to play through (maybe a bit longer if you're a group of friends making the various decisions) and as such is ideal in length to be played with friends as a replacement for a movie. Any longer and you'd likely have some people growing restless, and to be perfectly honest it wouldn't do the plot any good to be dragged out more, especially as you'll no doubt start to figure things out about halfway through the case.

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It's a fairly standard plot that you'd find in any run-of-the-mill detective movie. It's a less complex Heavy Rain if you will, that borrows from dark detective stories like David Fincher's Seven or something like the original Speed. It covers the seedy underbelly of law enforcement as well as a dark background with abuse at an orphanage that serves as motivation for The Trapper. Apart from playing as Becky Marney, you'll also play as DA Felicity Graves, and depending on your actions they'll co-operate more or less closely on the case.

Hidden Agenda is a PlayLink title and it actually does more than just allow players to pool together for decisions. Much more. And this certainly adds to the replayability factor, something that a narrative-driven detective story usually doesn't feature. First of all, there are two ways of playing the game, story mode and competitive mode, the second being a score-based version of the game where one player is given a hidden agenda to complete while the others are tasked with figuring out who has the agenda and spoil it. It removes the focus from how you want the plot to unfold to more of a tug of war between players, so we'd suggest you play story mode first to fully enjoy the narrative rather than focusing on your fellow players.

Multiplayer in story mode also adds something. It's not just down to communal decision-making and majority votes, as you'll also make group decisions on who's the most trusting, observant, stress tolerant and so on, and then the chosen person will make certain decisions on their own. Then there are takeover cards (earned by finding clues first) that can overrule a majority decision. It's a very clever dynamic, and the votes are something that will typically bring out laughs and banter, particularly in groups where people know each other inside and out. Up to six players can participate using their smartphones, but even with just two players playing together it adds something to story mode (for the competitive mode you'd need a bigger group to truly enjoy it).

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