State of Mind is a story driven 3D adventure set in the near future of 2048, and it revolves around transhumanism, the use of technology to further the capacity of the human mind and body. The main parts of the story are written by German author Martin Ganteföhr, and take place in Berlin.
Looking beyond that, there are two worlds in State of Mind. One is within the digital cyberspace where everything seems fine and shiny, and the other one is based in reality, a place that's actually a murky dystopian mess: "This is a game of dualisms, it's a dystopian Berlin with a broken character and there's, if you will, a counterpart to this world," Ganteföhr said previously of the setting.
Richard Nolan is one of the playable characters and an editor-in-chief for the biggest media house in the world, called Voice. Despite his professional career seeming quite successful, his life is a complete mess, and he has fallen in love with another woman despite being married. As we start the game there's a big accident and we investigate it for the newspaper, and eventually events lead us to be knocked out and we find ourselves visiting the hospital. It turns out that we're a victim of amnestic-confabulatory syndrome (aka confusion) due to a brain hack, and we've lost parts of our memory in the process.
In general, this isn't the most original start to a game, but it actually does help increase the level of immersion in regards to the cyberpunk setting and gives a decent impression of how far modern technology has come over the years.
During the game there are up to six characters we can use to solve minor puzzles and explore the two worlds. When solving the first riddles that we encountered, we had to switch between two characters and interact with different objects simultaneously to open the path to the next area and proceed. As we progress through the game, we will be hacking a whole lot of different things such as drones and technical equipment, but it's too early to give an opinion about the variety in terms of gameplay. We'll just have to wait and see.
The presentation is functional, but we think it looks good, especially with the abstract styling of the characters. As Daedalic Entertainment explained to us, this low polygon aesthetic is a metaphor for the shattered, cyberpunk-ish, dystopian world itself, which actually makes sense and shows us how much thought has one into this relatively small project.
Life will not be easy with Nolan, and it appears as though bleeding-edge technology is about to turn itself against humanity in favour of the few. Although the start of State of Mind is quite slow in terms of pacing, we were assured there'll be more action later on. The devs tell us that it will offer around 20 hours of gameplay all told, and because we have to make lots of decisions there will be multiple endings to support multiple playthroughs. Let's just hope it can hold our attention for that long. For now, though, we're intrigued and looking forward to seeing what the full game will offer once it's released later this year.
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