Clandestine is a solo or co-op stealth and hacking game set in the post Cold-War espionage world, the game features asymmetrical co-op allowing one player to take control of Katya as the ‘Boots on the ground’ operative and the other takes control of Martin as the hacker, manipulating through the hostile network. The story of the game so far, it is 1996, five years after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, a sequence of murders of veteran Cold War operatives have put the espionage world on high alert. A joint task force between the CIA and FSB is established nicknamed ‘The Kingbridge Executive’ staffed by the field agent Katya Kozlova and hacker Martin Symborski who chase the source of leaks around the western world.
The asymmetrical co-op is a good addition to the game and provides unique opportunities for multiplayer action. Either playing as the Spy, the classic third-person stealth game, controlling Katya, who is armed with a multitude of gadgets and weapons to help her survive and progress through the level. During the mission it is up to the spy to search for dossiers, Intel and to search for new equipment and software.
The second player plays as the Hacker, operating in an entirely different way to the Spy. These differences are reflected in the hacker’s interface and gameplay. The hacking player has access to multiple screens being able to see out of cameras, a tactical map, a network map and a console. The hacker’s view and gameplay seems to have a lot more complicated mechanics having to try to handle multiple things at the same time.
The camera system is used to scout for the spy finding potential hazards and objectives. The console is used to interact with the spy and displays the objectives and message log, the message log shows pieces of info such as keypad codes. The network view seems to be the most crucial part of the Hacker’s view, this is where the player will access the computer network’s, which contain information essentials like keypad codes and other passwords throughout the level. As well as avoid the system admin, an AI which will relocate to recently hacked systems and repairs the, he will reset passwords and boot the hacker from the system if he is caught.
To me the game’s graphical style is reminiscent of Alpha Protocol, with a cartoon animated style that is vibrant and pleasant to look at. There aren’t a huge amount of graphical options so it could definitely use some more in the game but this to me is expected as it isn’t a game with a big triple A budget. The lack of options doesn’t mean it’s a bad game though, it felt nostalgic to me of classic stealth RPG’s that I used to play. However to some newer players I understand it may look quite outdated. As I enjoyed Alpha Protocol then I liked this game a lot, it’s one of the few games I feel I can properly stealth in (as most games I try to stealth then end up running around with a Gatling gun).
The sound design of the game is nice and again nostalgic for me, having a beat that keeps up with the action and pacing. It definitely adds to the personal ‘badass’ factor whenever I lean around a corner to shoot a guard in the head and the tune picks back up again. I have always loved stealth games sound design because a lot of the time they’re done right (or at least to my standard) and done better than some other types of action games.
Although I do have a few criticisms about this game, my main one is that movement seems to be a little clunky for the spy player, especially when in cover as you have multiple different buttons for moving around cover or getting off of cover instead of simpler movements. Some other aspects of the game could definitely be polished up, there are a few flaws and many have called it a ‘rough gem’ meaning that it is a good idea but it could certainly use some tweaks to improve the game.
In conclusion, this game is enjoyable, especially in co-op with a friend where one player can take on the role of spy and the other, hacker. However if you’re a gamer who has a specific focus on graphics and you cannot look past the flaws then it might not be the best game at least until the game is (hopefully) polished up a little.
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