Invisible, Inc. Console Edition Review: Sabotage
Kalvin Martinez / Jun 3rd, 2016 No Comments
In some ways, Invisible, Inc. is the culmination of Klei Entertainment’s work on Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve. Invisible, Inc. Console Edition is a cool hybrid of stealth and turn-based strategy with addictive roguelite elements. It has the stealth elements that were perfected in Mark of the Ninja, resource management and procedural elements from Don’t Starve, and the gorgeous, eye-catching style of both previous games.
It is easy to get sucked into the espionage hijinks and continually try to best previous runs. Plus, Invisible, Inc. is dripping with style that makes it hard to put down.
On the Run
In the near future, corporations have won, leaving the government and its intelligence agencies in disarray. Fortunately, one clandestine organization persists to be an annoyance to these corporations.
With the help of a technological remnant, Incognita, from the old guard, Invisible, Inc. is able to be a force of good in an uncertain world. As these things typically happen, the corporate spies spend most of their time trying to track down Invisible, Inc. and destroy it. The organization has successfully eluded the corps, but that luck has run out.
Players begin their journey as an Invisible, Inc. operator on the run with only 72 hours to prevent Incognita from becoming a faint memory.
The story is a good spine to give the missions structure and the proceeding an immediacy. It builds to an exciting climax, which gives the plot weight and results in a cool final mission. Where the game stumbles a bit is in its characters.
There isn’t much in the way of character building or relationships that develop over the course of the game. Much of what makes the characters intriguing is achieved through gameplay. Characters have traits that make them unique, and each one starts out with different stats that make them more proficient in certain areas. They show some personality in scraps of dialogue during missions, but there isn’t much beyond this.
Every playthrough of Invisible, Inc. is different due to its procedurally generated maps. Despite having a main campaign, the specific missions players must tackle during the campaign are never the same. This means players have to learn the basics and build foundations over multiple playthroughs.
It is not rougelike because you can unlock content that carries over campaigns. Also, cash and loot gained during your campaign carries over between missions, allowing you to level up your characters and purchase new gear and augments.
There are a number of different missions types you can take on during any given playthrough. All of these involve infiltrating a facility and sneaking past guards to achieve certain objectives. You always begin at a set infiltration point, then have to explore other rooms to find the objective before exiting through an elevator.
The map is a mystery, so diligent exploring is necessary to uncover the exfiltration point and exit. There are also additional bonuses to find, including safes. While getting what you need from a map may be difficult, plotting an exit strategy can be even more difficult. The longer you hang around, the tougher things get.
Invisible, Inc.’s gameplay is a unique blend of stealth and strategy, which means you need to carefully plan out your moves and pay close attention to enemy movements. It is typically better strategy to avoid fights, but you do have a number of non-lethal weapons at your disposal to help incapacitate guards who prove problematic. Lethal methods can be used, but they are loud, attract attention and escalate the alarm.
Along with the active stealth tactics your squad needs to take, you can use Incognita in a passive setting to hack various devices. This allows you to disable sensors and video cameras. Sabotage aids in your sneaking, but as it gets harder for you to move around a map, it gets harder for Incognita to hack devices. Smart choices on both fronts are key to successful exfiltration.
Time After Time
Make no mistake — you are under pressure to get in and out of a mission quickly. Every turn you take raises the enemy’s threat level. More, tougher guards head into the map the longer you take, and additional cameras become activate. The threat level adds immediacy to what could be a rather passive and labored style of gameplay. You are incentivized to keep things moving because it will make the mission easier to finish. If you aren’t stacked with upgraded equipment or a high level, you are pretty much going to lose or suffer heavy casualties.
That pressure of time extends to the main campaign and the missions you undertake. The conceit of the game has you scrambling to save Incognita and you only have 72 hours to do so. Every mission has an associated travel time with it, so you can’t ever do every single mission in the main campaign. You will need to focus on what is most important to you during each playthrough. Will you value intelligence? Recruiting new agents? Or just try to score some sweet loot?
Some missions require you to use items gained during other missions, so diligent planning and not wasting valuable time is necessary. It is a cool way to make player choices have impact and let players focus on what works best for their particular play style.
Invisible, Inc. is a unique blend of stealth and strategy, resulting in a meticulous form of gameplay that rewards the diligent and punishes the haphazard. The art style and design results in a colorful yet noir take on corporate espionage.
The procedurally generated aspect of the game and it’s “endless” mode means you can delve deep into what makes Invisible, Inc. tick and continually top your previous runs with a good deal of replayability.
Invisible, Inc. Console Edition was reviewed on PS4 using a copy of the game provided by the developer.
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