Dontnod has established itself as a developer who understands narrative. He went back there, with Life is Strange that she conquered the love of the fans and followed a path of success creating a very unique style of play.
Some games from the developer were released after that: from part two of Life is Strange until the most recent tell me why, in partnership with Xbox Game Studios. They follow a supernatural pattern, in which the protagonist has a power that helps him to unravel mysteries and make difficult choices during his journey. Now, we’re closer to the next Dontnod game, Twin Mirror, which will be released in December.
He accompanies Sam Higgs, an investigative journalist who returns to his hometown after two years for the funeral of his best friend. It is clear that when he left the city, he left several ghosts behind, but he will have to face them again and use his powers of deduction to find the truth and decide who to trust.
We were invited by the developer to test the first 2 hours of Twin Mirror and give our first impressions about Sam’s story. Follow with Voxel another preview full of details and information:
Maintenance of the formula
When we play a game that follows an idea, like Dontnod’s narrative games, we can get the impression that it is a little more of the same, especially with elements so similar between them.
However, in the early hours, it is clear that, despite Twin Mirror following the Dontnod formula of making a game, there is an attempt to bring news, especially in the dynamics of the gameplay and even in narrative elements.
Firstly, unlike the two parts of Life is Strange, Tell Me Why and Captain Spirit, for example, we have an older protagonist, different from the young people we follow in other narrative stories.
This choice gives the character a life experience that gives them the opportunity to experience even more trauma and old wounds from the protagonist’s past. Even though we still don’t know how far this will be explored in history, there is still a lot of potential.
Another narrative choice that seems right is Sam’s profession. He is an investigative journalist, which brings this criminal and dark environment to history. At various times, I even remembered another narrative game: Heavy Rain.
That’s because, in addition to the emphasis on the investigative part, I felt an attempt to add more action points, which we saw a lot when playing the thriller Quantic Dream’s dramatic escape or fight against an enemy, for example.
Although small points, we can understand that it is possible that the formula remains strong, since there is still an appeal to this way of telling stories and the gameplay remains fun.
Even with this upkeep, the game will still remain true to story lovers and patient players who like to watch the details without haste or too much intensity. gameplay.
On the powers and details
As usual, the protagonist has a supernatural power that helps him to unravel mysteries and understand the world around him, changing his own destiny, making choices and deciding who to trust.
This time, Sam has the Mental Palace, a place inside his own mind where he can access memories, recall confused moments and, of course, analyze evidence. In addition to helping Sam, he is a kind of safe place where the player can find out more about the protagonist’s personality and why he has so many problems with his childhood city.
Although the Palace is the main aspect of Sam’s abilities, he also has a “twin” personality on his mind, who is more sociable and empathetic than he is, confronting his decisions.
Only the protagonist can see him, appearing at important moments. This secondary identity ends up being the key to your game decisions and, of course, the consequences they will cause in the future.
Both skills are used all the time and are very interesting, especially as they momentarily alter the gameplay and dynamics of the game. In the first two hours, it is still not possible to observe their real impact for history, but I hope they will be able to bring impactful futures to Sam.
What about the other elements?
Everything remains beautiful and organized in Twin Mirror. You get access to the diary, with details of the characters, interactions that arise during the game and memories that you can unlock when investigating the game’s locations, which function as a collection of extra items.
The story, as always, is complemented by reading and looking at artifacts, letters, notes and e-mails, in addition to talking with the inhabitants of the city, who always give extra information about their lives and enrich the parallel stories.
The graphics are very beautiful and are very pleasing in the details of the characters and even in more open environments such as the city streets, for example. Another very interesting element is the soundtrack, which continues to surprise you in the most tranquil moments and those of greatest tension.
A negative point is the controls, which seem a little confusing at first. You need to select the object with the mouse and then press the key that corresponds to the action. After a while, you adapt, but you’re a bit in a cast.
What can we expect?
Dontnod doesn’t seem to have lost its hand when writing stories. Sam and in particular, the life he left behind are elements that hold you back and make you eager to understand more about his journey. The best friend who passed away, the goddaughter, an old investigation and an unrequited love are part of this layer that adds more wealth to the plot.
When playing, you will be able to find a more mature and full of mysteries idea, with a touch of intensity that can give more “flavor” to the game. The Dontnod formula for success is there, but the game has the potential to surprise players.
If you’ve played and liked the other games in the same style, you will certainly identify with Twin Mirror. If you have never played any game from the developer or are not used to narrative games, but you like new stories, maybe you can give a vote of confidence and have fun with the little ones easter-eggs in Pac Man. Why not?
Twin Mirror will arrive on Xbox One, PS4 and PC (via Epic Games) on December 1, 2020.