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The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day (PC) artwork

The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day (PC) review


"A compelling start into a world of AI-driven robotic conspiracies"


The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day (PC) image


A Robotic World

Computing Machinery and Intelligence. This is the name of the paper, on the topic of artificial intelligence, in which Alan Turing proposes to the public what is now known as the Turing Test. The paper opens with the question, "Can machines think?" Ever since this question has been proposed, a grand topic in science fiction has been formed, comprising years and years of imagination, prose, novels and movies. Worlds where mankind and AI are harmonious with each other, living together in peace. Worlds where robotic prejudice is apparent, creating a dystopian divide between the ruling class and the oppressed. The Uncertain provides a different situation. One where mankind is extinct, leaving behind a war-torn society of intelligent robots. In this world, robots have overtaken humans, and years have passed. Morality is nowhere to be seen, as logic becomes the driving force behind everyday choices and major decisions. That is, until we meet RT-217NP - an engineering robot that desires to have a sense of control, strong enough that it self-deactivated all automatic software updates in order to allow itself to evolve on its own.

The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day is, in essence, a fully-voiced 3D point & click game. You control RT-217NP; a seemingly reclusive robot tending to its salvaging and fabricating business in some secluded hillside, wondering what its primary mission might be. You, RT, have been contracted by a construction robot to manufacture a plasma cutter in an effort to aid in the restoration of the city. Right after completing the task, an airship crashes next to your place of residence. That's right, an airship. I guess that's something that exists in the 22nd century. After uncovering sensitive information aboard the airship, a deep and dark secret is revealed. One that penetrates all throughout USS Robotics - the megacorporation that produces new robots, employs the entire enforcement branch of the governing body, and releases crucial software updates to the robotic public.

Forced to cooperate under threat of disintegration, RT begins to unravel the mysterious nature of USS Robotics and the story around it. In this world devoid of morality, you must don a robotic heart in order to face your fears and confront the unknown. Make fateful choices and discover what is being kept from you in The Uncertain's 1st episode: The Last Quiet Day.

The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day (PC) image


Puzzle Sequences

RT's path is always filled with objectives that require tasks to overcome. These tasks comprise the bulk of the gameplay in The Uncertain, revolving around solving puzzles, fetching items, and using logic and observation to progress. Many veterans of HOGs or P&C adventures will find no issue tackling or confronting the challenges; however, newcomers to the genre may find certain tasks to be frustrating, obscure, or tedious. Just understand that this is the nature of P&C games in general, but overall, there shouldn’t be any major difficulties hindering progression.

Mini-game type puzzles provide very original and refreshing experiences, even though there are only a handful of them. From hacking and calibrating to rebooting and rerouting power, these puzzles are a nice reprieve from the P&C searches. Pair matching, pipe, and switch games are some of what you will find in your play through. If I had to point out a disappointing aspect of this game, it would be the lack of puzzles, but only because I find them so enjoyable.

Presentation

The Uncertain masterfully weaves two crucial aspects together in harmony, successfully creating one of the most atmospheric point & click adventure games released this year. These two elements that define the core of the game's immersiveness pertains to its expansive world building, and the accompanying visual design. A plethora of minute details help expand RT's known universe and put you in the mindset of RT and its life as a robot. Some of these details include utilizing robotic amenities and accommodations such as charging stations and built-in music players, to describing RT's waterproof body model in order to disregard weather concerns. Furthermore, within the first half hour, well designed visual cues establish that robots have the ability to functionally operate similar to that of a human society.

As I said before, it takes two to Tango, and the incredible immersiveness of The Uncertain is supported by polished visual design. For example, during transitional cutscenes, the scenery will sometimes flicker or distort; something akin to waving a magnet around a CRT TV. This adds a subliminal effect of viewing the cutscene as if I am a robot myself. Various moments throughout the campaign will also let the viewer go into first-person (ahem robot) view, especially when inspecting objects or solving puzzles. Before I knew it, I became one with RT. Its troubles, its worries, and its fears.

Video Gameplay



Verdict

The Uncertain's first episode managed to captivate me to the end. When I saw the final eye-opening cutscene, I had a sinking feeling that the episode was about to conclude, which it did. In a nice cliffhanger. After doing a little bit of digging, it seems that The Uncertain is designed to be spread across 3 episodes, with the 2nd episode to have an expected release approximately 3-4 months after the first episode's release (Source). I don't want to spoil the ending, but I know that any game with an episodic structure will generate a specific set of questions that everyone will flock towards reviews to get answered. So here goes.

First, the game is on the shorter side, depending on your puzzle solving skills and intuition regarding point & click adventures. I definitely would have preferred it if the game lasted longer, but the variety of scenery locations helped ease the pain in hindsight. The game offers no method to replay specific chapters, or create multiple dedicated saves, so going for all of the achievements would add a lot of play time assuming you are into that. Second, this episode is not entirely self-contained. There are still a lot of things left unanswered, clearly to be addressed in the subsequent episodes. Third, I still find the first episode to be extremely enjoyable and worthwhile, especially since there is a lack of non-hidden object point & click games on the market.

Hopefully I was able to answer some of the common questions that will be asked upon release. For those that subscribe to a certain price/hour mindset, I would advise getting this game only if you are a fan of sci-fi P&C adventures games. Alternatively, you could also wait for the developers to release their season pass, containing all of the episodes in one purchase. It's possible that they may include some sort of discount. Otherwise, take solace in the fact that interesting P&C games with such depth and engagement are hard to come by, so be sure to check out The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day when you can.

4/5

silversuriv's avatar
Community review by silversuriv (September 19, 2016)

silversuriv loves to review games as an escape to reality, preferring to stay on the analytical side of the spectrum. Steam

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