What’s going on, here?
It’s the WTO’s fault. They believe in economic progress
and materialism and they work on an inter-governmental level thus
undermining the universal technological autocracy of your nano-enhanced
physiology and they must be crushed, but not by you because it’s
too dangerous and you really should stay out of it and just stand
over there and face the wall or something.
who might you be?
Someone: Well, there’s a chance
that I might be a member of The Order which believes that materialism
is bad and nature is good – long live Her Holiness, incidentally.
The ideological line between our organisation and the ones known
as The Templar is rather blurred, because they believe that biomodically
intrazapparated cyberhumanoiks like yourself are against God and
nature and must be destroyed but I don’t believe that, oh
no. Or do I?
you stop going on about the WTO and the Templar and the Holiness
and biomods and nanotechs and tell me precisely what the fuck
is going on, I am going to sit on your head until you are sick.
”Baby, you are hot! In fact,
I’d say there was some kind of immolation process going
Sure, it’s a bit wordy and cerebral and
transparently desperate to prove itself as a game that looks down
on – rather than up to – sci-fi action-movie Hollywood.
But Invisible War should be celebrated for daring to coax ‘adult
gaming’ away from the adolescent, Gore Is Good guff and
into richer, more troubling territory (the bio-terrorism stuff
could hardly be more topical).
There are guns and there is gung-ho and ‘Yes!
Got it right in the fucking head – first time!’ moments,
and it WILL show you a damned good time. Better than all of that,
though – it assumes that you have a brain and tries to keep
If Doom and Quake and Unreal Tournament are
the mass-appeal, Tom Clancy side of the whole first-person, surly-bloke-with-a-gun
thing, then this is more like William Gibson with bits of ol’
Philip K. Dick sprinkled on top. It’s less bothered with
the standard FPS flailings and a lot more concerned with traditional
narrative tricks like character and story progression, plot kinks
and twists, double – and triple – crosses... Like
a good, meaty novel or some pole-pivoting strumpet, Invisible
War reveals its pleasures slowly and carefully, layer by layer.
You start the game as the usual empty-vessel
rookie, but the familiar flabby, stale-sweated RPG character parameters
like Spell Supremacy and Beard Bushyness have been replaced with
cool-sounding stuff like Biotox Attack, Bot Domination, Neural
Interface, Thermal Masking, Electrostatic Discharge…
Recently, Knights Of The Old Republic did a
pretty good job of offering a Good/Evil option – where the
content changes depending on how bravely/diabolically you respond
to events. Invisible War has this, too – without any of
that tiresome Jedi blather and jabber.
There’s a great moment early on, where
a cowardly soldier asks you to cover for him while he moves in
on a sinister enemy ‘Seeker’. You can, of course,
pander to the hero within and do just that – Hell, you might
even want to storm in and take out the bad guy yourself. Or, as
I did, you can just have an absent-minded mess about with some
kind of computer wall-panel thing while you listen to the sounds
of him blundering in alone and getting shot to bits. It doesn’t
matter which – you can sort out the problem in a different
way, later. Thankfully, the game isn’t fussy or linear enough
This is as close as gaming gets to letting a
player construct a character around their own personality and
it is definitely a good thing.
Now, here’s a lyric from a song by comedy
Liverpool indie-kids Half Man Half Biscuit:
They’ve been cooking on Blue Peter now,
They’re sampling the dishes:
“I don’t normally like tomatoes, John,
But this is delicious!”.
And I don’t normally like RPGs, but this
RODENT CASH RATING -