Battle royale-style storytelling is no longer precisely uncharted territory. Even before fortnitethe meteoric rise of, the concept has appeared in other games, popular movies like the hunger games franchise and, of course, the eponymous 2000s Japanese film (itself based on the novel).
Developers Wales Interactive and Good Gate Media attempted to adapt the formula to an interactive action movie, trying to combine explosive action set-pieces with a choose-your-own player agency, the latter of which was something that have had quite a bit of experience with it. Bloodshore is everything it reads on the label, though a lackluster story and boring, uninteresting locations make the game hard to recommend to ardent fans of the interactive movie subgenre.
Things start off quite promising: It’s the nebulous near future, a world run and governed by corporations, and conglomerate Alyn Corp is set to live-stream the thirteenth season of its life-and-death contest, Kill/ . Originally designed as a battle royale for the worst of the worst to compete for a $10 million cash prize, the show saw death row inmates turn into millionaire celebrities overnight. Over time, however, global economic conditions have seen the game show evolve into a more inclusive battleground, harboring online streamers and content creators whose eye is as much on the prospect of bolstering their celebrity status. than on the cash prize.
This is the version of Kill/Stream that we literally fell into, as the latest generation of contestants are en route to the undisclosed location of the island, preparing to parachute out of a cargo plane. Although audiences are told that Kill/Stream features fifty contenders vying for the top spot, we spend our time with this particular camp of eight contenders, including former child actor Nick Romeo whom we vet (although the level of agency in interactive movie games like this is, charitably said, limited). The remaining cast is made up of vloggers, streamers, and podcast personalities all hoping for their fifteen minutes of fame. Little do they know that the lethality of the games this time around has been increased: while previous iterations of the show allowed contestants to capitulate, this time there will be not just one winner but one survivor, period.
While Nick Romeo isn’t exactly a deep character as the protagonists, there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye. During the adventure, it is revealed that he may in fact have ulterior motives for becoming a Kill/Stream competitor, and he may not be the only one. It’s also possible that Nick will ignite a romance while on the island, though that’s entirely up to the choices you make, and after two full games (attempting a different romance each time), I haven’t been able to ignite a spark. Compared to Nick, however, the rest of the main characters range from decent to increasingly one-dimensional, with some of them also receiving very little screen time. Overall, the actors do a fairly fine job – there are no particular standouts but no absolute flatliners either – and it’s hard to fault them for material that is, in some cases, more of a note.
I will admit that the first few minutes of the game at least put a smile on my face enjoying some well-orchestrated cheese. As the camera pans around the interior of the cargo plane, each cast member is presented with an on-screen graphic detailing their background and notable stats (this is, after all, a TV show). reality show). As they exchange banter with each other, we’re treated to a handful of banter and quick comebacks before everyone heads for the open door and jumps out. Tricks from the filmmaker’s toolkit like a shaky camera inside the cargo plane to simulate flight and close-ups during each competitor’s freefall to avoid the need for digital deception only add to the schlocky charm established so far.
However, it doesn’t take long before the seams start showing. Most notably, the “island” location appears to be simply the local woods where the camera crew filmed a group of actors running around all the landscapes and structures they encountered, and the satellite photos of the island in the game seem oddly incongruous with what we are actually being shown. The effort is evident, however, in the various bits of parodied TV commercials and cutaway segments of live streamers and other audience members around the world, commenting on what’s happening on the show (sometimes in their own language). kindergarten for more realism). These snippets have been processed with scanlines and other video effects to make them look natural and a little dirty, and are displayed at a fast pace as if being flicked through quickly via the TV remote.
Less commendable is the game’s nebulous plot progression. After the relatively pleasant opening scenes, it quickly becomes a case of “people running around and things are happening.” The individual scenes themselves aren’t bad, like when the surviving band members literally stumble across a minefield and have to find a way through it while being chased, or a quiet dialogue-driven scene that allows some potential character and romance development. But they fail to come together in a fulfilling narrative, and the ultimate payoff (assuming you manage to get to the end without triggering deadly “bad” endings) seems confusing and unsatisfying at best. With a short duration of around 90 minutes, much like a feature film, Bloodshore relies on players trying again, and indeed it is possible to alter events, connect with different characters, and find new outcomes, though the overall narrative remains as sketchy as before.
Bloodshore doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to gameplay – not that it needs to. Being an interactive movie, it naturally limits players to choosing how to proceed by occasionally clicking on-screen prompts. There are no skill-based challenges, but the choices you make run on a timer – let the timer expire and the game chooses your choice for you. Additionally, staying quiet is sometimes an option during dialogue sections when none of the options offered are appealing. Those who don’t like being pressured into making decisions on the fly will appreciate the inclusion of a dedicated “streamer mode” that disables the timer while the game is running.
Since this choose-your-own style of storytelling is a story of unexpected surprises, there’s often no way of knowing what consequences your choices will have. Additionally, the game tracks five separate stats that all affect the results you will achieve in any given game. Team morale, public opinion, romance, strength, and insight are constantly affected by the choices made and, in turn, determine the success of certain actions. For example, while focusing on your romantic interest, leaning in boldly causes the game to perform a behind-the-scenes skill check of the romance stat, which then determines whether Nick is rewarded with a successful lip lock or not.
Unfortunately, even after two full plays full of choices as opposed to what I could handle, the endings failed to impress, or even tie the story together in any meaningful way. While some twists and turns seemed to stay constant, the story and characters just weren’t gripping enough for me to really care who survived and how it all ended. Dying too is considered an acceptable conclusion, in which case the game offers the possibility of redoing the last decisions. Even though the game keeps track of how many different scenes you’ve watched in later playthroughs, the narrative isn’t interesting enough to provide the motivation to unlock them all.
I don’t know where the border is between the game and the interactive film; it seems it depends as much on the nickname the creative team chooses to attach as it does on the actual distinguishing features. Bloodshore is probably best approached with this in mind; while it offers as much (or as little) interaction as other products of its kind, there isn’t much substance for gamers to sink their teeth into, neither in terms of interaction nor Entertainment. Sure, there are some pleasantly cheesy moments, especially early on, but uninspired locations and unsatisfying narrative twists towards the end keep this guilty pleasure from being bingeworthy.
WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD
Bloodshore is available on:
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