Friday, December 12, 2014

Indie Impressions - Metrocide


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Flat Earth Games

The streets are brutal and lives seem disposable in a bleak metropolis of the future, and the only ticket out of this town is a high commodity with an even higher price. Armed at first with only a slow blaster only slightly more useful than a toaster and your wits, you'll seek out each contracted kill amongst the likes of paranoid vigilantes, loose cannon gangsters, and the buzzing drones of a totalitarian police state from above.

Metrocide is a gritty top-down trip into the dystopic streets of an open cyberpunk world of stylish minimal visuals with pulp noir flair, the city around you living and breathing with its own unique population. All of the residents of this drab environment have their own personality, their owns faults, and their own routines they carry out and you never know which of these unsuspecting people will be your next paid hit.

Contractors can be found throughout the open map each offering different hits on personalities of the city in exchange for cash, with armed and timed targets earning you more money. Money earned can then either be saved for your ticket into the next area or used on arsenal and tools that will make or break your attempted assassinations. Weapons come in a variety of shotguns, SMGs, and pistols with tools ranging from lures to distract pedestrians, jammers to disrupt police drones, and explosives to remotely cause havoc.

The action of Metrocide is steady paced and calculated, requiring a keen eye and a bit of patience. You'll watch your target carefully, following stealthily and strike at only the most opportune moments, and when you take your shot you have to take it quick. The frantic action and split-second tactical decision making here is often compared to Hotline Miami, but I feel this is done in a much more deliberately drawn out and subtle manner of stalking your prey from the undetected shadows of city alleys.

Death comes swiftly and without warning, and once you're gone you're gone for good being forced to restart as a broke hitman yet again. Jumpy vigilantes and gangsters won't hesitate to blow you away at the first sign of aggression and civilians will be quick to report you to deadly authorities who'll quickly have you on the run. This is not an easy game whatsoever, the eyes of the city constantly have the upper hand on you and through a rigorous routine of learning the streets as well as the arsenal available to you will you survive long enough to earn your blood money.

My first hit/victim in this cruel retro/future dystopia is a 30 year old male, a smoker by the name of Dudley Rossman. He's unarmed and tracked making this what should be an easy to find and kill target. I'm not sure why I'm ordered to hunt this civilian but it's a job and anyone living in the harsh reality of this underworld knows money comes before morals, so I take it. Armed with only my slow loading starter pistol I sneak out into the streets attempting to blend in with the crowds as police drones pass overhead. I locate my target and follow from the other side of the street at a slow and steady pace, there are far too many civilians here and merely whipping my gun out would spell my doom via a bullet in the head.

Our silent and hip trenchcoat sporting protagonist calmly takes a puff of his cigarette as I wait for our assassination target, Dudley, to pass by the opening of an alley I've ducked into. As he passes I take aim with my starting blaster and fire, my target is hit and I can almost feel the cash in my hand. Just as I'm stuffing my targets body into a sewage drain to avoid detection, a passerby spots my actions and takes off to notify authorities. Within seconds I'm surrounded, and my fleeting victory is quickly vanquished via the bullet of a cop drone.

After what feels like hours of repeated deaths and failed hits on my well prepared targets I've finally survived a run long enough to scrounge up the cash to get myself a ticket out of the Downtown area. Before even meeting my first quota and leaving this first area I had earned 10 achievements, all of them related to myself dying in some horrific and unique way.

It's an extremely tough and failure ridden road getting there with loads of patience required, but in the end an incredibly satisfying feeling and an experience you'll take new skills away from for your future endeavors on the mean streets of MetroCity. Metrocide is top-down stealth action at its hardest and finest.

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