Empathy: Path of Whispers
There is much to like in this
game – the surrealistic (above ground) settings, the soundtrack, the
drip feeding of the events that occurred, the stories of the people no
longer here, the solitariness, the exploration.
Unfortunately it gets
overwhelmed by the excessive repetition of a particular game mechanic.
First things first. We all know
that pushing great big buttons rarely ends well, despite the
exhortations of the disembodied voice, and the result of this one is to
fling you somewhere or somewhen else. A short walk and you are outside,
in a ruined vista of broken buildings, dilapidation, and a giant Atlas
holding up something a way off in the distance.
The only thing you took with you
before the button push was a hand-held scanning device that was, the
voice said, likely to be useful. The little note that came with it
explains how it works.
The game doesn’t look pretty,
drab and low res, but given the dead-ness of things I thought it worked
well enough. It had a good “feel”, and while the story takes a while to
get going, the way it is dribbled out through short exclamations and
memories makes it an interesting narrative jigsaw. Subtitles help, as I
found it difficult to distinguish some of the different characters just
from their voice and they tell you who is talking. The end was a bit of
a letdown, another button to push, but I quite enjoyed the solitary
exploration and piecing together of this broken world.
I didn’t even mind the
backtracking, although there is a lot of it. Had I mastered the nuances
of my little device there might have been a bit less, but I can’t say
The said device serves two
functions. It enables you to locate various items you need to find in
order to trigger the memories contained within them, and it lets you
access those memories by matching the frequency being emitted by the
item. If it sounds intriguing, it isn’t. Not in operation anyway.
You have to match the amplitude,
frequency and bandwidth of the wave form being given off by the item,
and while it isn’t difficult it is a little fiddly. The problem is you
do it over and over and over, and it is really the only puzzle in the
game. There are some activities involving finding and using items, but
these are few by comparison to the number of times you have to play this
little puzzle game. I confess that well before the end it had sucked all
the enjoyment out of my wanderings.
Which is a shame. You might feel
The game uses a combination of
the mouse and keyboard, and you have complete freedom of movement, which
I always like. You can die by falling off things, or being knocked off
things, but the game just puts you back before the fatal moment and you
try again. There is a little bit of jumping about, but nothing that
would remotely make this an action game. It is a solitary exploration
adventure, punctuated here and there by some other things. You can
adjust settings to suit.
If only you could turn off the
I played on:
OS: Windows 10, 64 Bit
Processor: Intel i7-6700 4GHz
RAM: 32GB GDDR5
Video card: AMD
Radeon RX 470 8192MB
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