Also on: PS4
What a difference a decade makes. Nearly ten years ago, when Republique first came out, it felt more like a collection of influences than a game with its own identity. I kind of liked it, but at the same time, it made me more interested in playing those influences than in playing Republique itself.
Here we are, almost ten years later, and?well, the influences are still pretty obvious. But, at the same time, now that Republique isn?t being released right around the same time as new entries in the Bioshock and Metal Gear Solid and Watch Dogs franchises, it has a lot more room to breathe on its own. And with that space, it?s much easier to appreciate the game on its own merits.
Of course, it helps that the context in which the game is being released makes it feel a lot more relevant. I mean, ten years ago it obviously wasn?t uncommon to hear worries about surveillance states and banned books and authoritarian leaders. But looking back on all that from a 2022 vantage point, those fears seem almost quaint. While it?s obviously terrible news for the world at large, it makes Republique seem much more prescient and timely.
Setting politics aside ? which you probably can?t do, since Republique is so explicitly political ? it also makes a huge difference to play the game on the Switch, especially in handheld mode. While I wouldn?t say that the game didn?t work with more traditional controls, getting it back to its touchscreen roots feels like a more natural fit. In fact, combine the thumbsticks for cameras with touchscreen controls for everything else, and the game would feel like it was tailor-made for the Switch if it weren?t for the fact the first episode was released in 2013.
I should note, too, that I?m saying this as someone whose preferences don?t usually lie with stealth games. I don?t usually do subtlety and sneaking around when it comes to gaming. Yet, in the case of Republique, it all works so smoothly and so intuitively, it?s impossible not to get sucked in.
To be clear, it?s not like ten years has transformed Republique from a decent stealth game into an unsung classic. But they have given its message more relevancy, and given it a console whose controls are a perfect fit for the game ? and that?s enough to make it well worth your while.
Camouflaj provided us with a Republique: Anniversary Edition Switch code for review purposes.