Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa was one of the more interesting games I encountered during PAX East. During the media hour on the Thursday of the event, I was asked rather nicely if I would like to try Triple-I’s newest game. That was enough to get me interested in at least the pitch.
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Every choice you make has real, immediate consequences in the world. These choices include how you engage in combat, how you talk to people, how long it takes for you to clear the levels, and more. Your decisions impact how townsfolk, bosses, and others see you. Mix this in with some moral dilemmas, hack and slash or combo-based combat, and a beautiful stylized aesthetic, and you have Hindsight 20/20.
The above pitch made me interested enough to get my hands on the controller. At this time, Kevin, the member of Triple-I at the booth, set the scene for me. My friend had been taken by the man who killed my father, and I had to save him. I had the choice of a sword to kill my way to him, or a baton to stun and disarm my way to him.
I chose sword.
Choosing the sword lent to a very smooth and fluid hack and slash play style. Combined with a dodge button, and an area of effect special skill, and I was on my way stacking up a body count.
The enemies did not stay standard baton wielders for long. Soon I was having grenades thrown at me, magicians slinging spells (that I could hit back at them with my sword), and all kinds of meters I had to watch and maintain. It was never cumbersome; it felt like the game was always introducing a new and exciting puzzle for me to solve
Speaking of puzzles, there were several environmental puzzles along the way. This addition of puzzles gave the game something of a Legend of Zelda vibe that I enjoyed. Also, expertly breaking up the gameplay keeps the game from getting stale.
Eventually, I got to the boss. He kidnapped my friend and killed my father. In the dialogue, I made choices that reflected my distaste with these facts. When given the option to fight to the death using my sword, or aim to disarm with the baton, I again chose the sword.
The boss fight ramped up the difficulty another notch. I got caught out a few times, taking more damage than I probably should have. The butt-whooping I took was my fault, not the game’s.
Eventually, I dispatched my foe and ran to find my captured friend. All that was left in the room was a necklace/locket hanging. Interacting with it brought up a cut scene where my friend decided to take their own life. It turns out that I took too long getting there, and there was a tangible way to save their life.
The immediate impact of my gameplay and choices was astounding. Simply beating the boss faster would have netted an entirely different outcome to the end of the demo. Kevin mentioned to me that having chosen the sword, the way townspeople would interact with me in the future would change. They are peaceful; I had murdered dozens of people.
Similarly, Kevin told me that not killing the boss, taking the merciful route, may have gained me some favor. It also may have meant that boss returning at a later time much more durable. Again, the decisions you make have real and immediate consequences to the game.
I enjoyed the hack and slash mechanics related to the sword. Kevin explained that the baton plays much differently. Instead of killing enemies, you disable them. To disable enemies, the gameplay around the baton is focused on building combos instead of hacking and slashing.
Overall, Hindsight 20/20 was an enjoyable gaming experience that does decision mechanics right. I loved the real-time implications of my decisions. The fact that the decisions were not explicitly aligned to good or evil was a massive bonus. Playing in those gray areas of morality was a tasty experience. Again, I also loved the art style and fluidity of gameplay.
Now might be a good time to mention that the team at Triple-I are not new to the industry. With experience at studios like BioWare and Sucker Punch, it’s no surprise that Hindsight 20/20 shines so bright.
Hindsight 20/20 is one of those titles that I can see myself playing over and over in different ways.
You can get your hands on Hindsight 20/20 sometime in Q3/Q4 of 2020.
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