State of Mind Review

Virtual reality; the future of video games. Every day humanity grows closer to the perfect simulation and the deepest immersion. One day we’ll be able to upload our human minds to a perfect paradise. Is that a good thing? Daedalic Entertainment’s State of Mind arrives on the scene touting that question. It wants to ask us if uploading human consciousness to a computer is viable and humane. Unfortunately, the game falls a bit short of its own goal, taking a little too long to get into the meat of its content.

This sci-fi game takes place in a Neo-Berlin that advanced and many years in the future, 2040 to be exact. You take the role of Richard Nolan, prestigious writer for a news company called “The Voice”. You’ve been in a terrible accident in an automated cab due to the faulty electronics in the machinery. You spend some time in a hospital learning the ropes of the game and you’re sent home. Nothing seems amiss at the start and you head home to recover from your injuries as Richard. You find your wife and son gone and a robot to take care of you. The mystery begins, your task is set.  You’ll also play several sections with another character named Adam Newman. His plot ties to Richard’s more and more as you play. He’s had a similar accident to drive his story as well. Coincidence? I would think not. Each tidbit of information you process only furthers the questions you’ll be asking. Don’t expect to get anywhere close to an answer for quite some time.

State of Mind

The game’s writing is fitting of the genre and the setting. Descriptions of items enrich the small world you’re allowed to be a part of. You will get attached to Richard and feel for his plight as it develops. And yet, this is where my main issue with the game comes forth. There’s so much to see, read and interact with during these opening hours. This volume leads into the main point of the game in a painful, slow manner. Some players will want to make their way through the game checking every nook and cranny. You’ll wait three-ish hours to get any sort of meaningful clues and information to what’s happening should you do so. At that point the game drops you the main hook of the story and will not be at all surprised about it.

A Mixed Bag

State of Mind’s gameplay is nothing too complex. You have a simple three-dimensional space to explore and a dialogue system. The menus are simple and accompanied by an inventory and contacts list. You’ll use the contacts for “cloud calls” (hologram skype calls with another person). In later portions of the game you’ll get to do more with the game, like flying a scan drone. The game’s GUI can be rough to look at sometimes. The menus fit almost too well with the background and can be tough to navigate at first. The same goes for your world navigation. The controls can work well in more open areas and much worse in small spaces. Playing with a controller rather than a keyboard can remedy the awkward navigation. Dialogue options are a mixed bag and can feel forced or natural from situation to situation. Returning to the scan drone example from earlier, some sections can feel slow paced as well. This section tasks you with finding a certain person, which can take a long time if you don’t know where to look. I spent a lot of time scanning faces only to come out empty handed. It was only when I flew to a remote bathroom away from the larger crowd that I found my target.

Despite the pace you’ve got a rather pretty world to look at as you wander. Each part of State of Mind’s design and style sets the mood for the kind of game you’re playing. Even in gritty areas the game looks sleek and modern, fitting into the game’s aesthetic. The character models aren’t too shabby and look great in groups. Up close is a different story. Animations can look stiff or odd. Dialogue options resetting cameras or movement in a random pattern. Smoothed out, the game would feel much more incredible and the cutscenes. Dialogue would also be twice as engaging.

Let’s not forget voice acting either! The game does well in this department and I love Richard and Adam’s voices in particular. Each one of them portrays great emotion and feels fitting of the character it’s assigned to. I get a very Geralt of Rivia vibe from Richard’s voice which enhances my perception of him in a strange way. Daedalic’s Good music and sound design the visuals and voices to a “t”.

You’ll find a strange enjoyment in State of Mind. I managed to enjoy myself despite several issues that made me question if I wanted to continue. I can’t say I’d recommend it though. Unless you’re into the style or setting there’s very little to draw you in. It’ll likely be a game you play once or twice and never touch again. I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing either. The game tells its story rather completely in the end and will leave you satisfied with your time. Pick up State of Mind if you want to experience the reconstruction of memories in two realities. Avoid it if you want something more fast-paced.

***PC code was provided by the publisher***