extintor's State of Mind (PlayStation 4) review

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  • extintor has written a total of 16 reviews. The last one was for Frostpunk

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Set in a cyberpunk imagining of Berlin in 2048, State of Mind is a story-driven 3rd person adventure game with a series of mildly challenging puzzle elements that punctuate the narrative flow.

The protagonist is Richard Nolan, a somewhat narcissistic and once award-winning investigative journalist whose professional and personal circumstance has taken a turn for the worse in recent times. Nolan also recently experienced a serious car accident, with the primary impact to him being an apparent loss to much of his memory. Things worsen upon his return home from hospital, where he discovers his wife is gone (and has taken their son with her). Through his investigation into their whereabouts, Nolan begins to uncover a conspiracy that that implies all may not be as it seems, both with regards to his family and his own mind.

The narrative that emerges from this set up is a truly absorbing thriller that borrows from many sci fi and cyberpunk tropes and follows a ‘descent into the underworld’ Greek myth narrative arc.

The game is split up into chapters that are constrained to locations or hubs. As is common in this genre, in order to progress to the next area, conversational options in each chapter must be exhausted and there were one or two occasions in the game where I had to hunt around a bit to find this ‘trigger’. Many conversations have optional responses, but it wasn’t clear to what extent those choices would affect the plot in any meaningful way. As such there were times that I felt that some of the characters and plotlines felt a little underdeveloped but I’m not sure if this should be thought of as a bad thing. To have spent more time on developing them could have risked diminishing the necessarily urgent pace of the story.

The art style, with its low polygon character models, dynamic shadows, and neon lighting really combine to generate a very coherent and engaging setting throughout. Credit is also due for the well written and generally enriching flavor text that you encounter, indeed the world building through environmental detail is phenomenal throughout.

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Overall, I had a really absorbing experience with State of Mind and it needed about 10 hours to of my time to complete (across three days in three sessions).

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