Defragmented is a game from Glass Knuckle Games, which has unique style mixed with some very traditional gameplay mechanics. It has an interesting cyber-punk theme along with RPG elements. The game is played from a top-down perspective with shooting, loot and a changeable camera.
What’s most interesting about the game is the awesome style and colourful cutscenes. Defragmented is set in a futuristic cyberpunk world known as Entropolis. The characters you meet are interesting, varied and you get to learn more about them through the visual cutscenes that look hand drawn in style. The environments you explore and pass through look mechanical, full of colour and neon lights. The world and story present some interesting ideas and narrative threads. Large corporations are using mercenaries and rogue gangs to take on tasks. The story is mainly told through the interesting use of cutscenes, with lots of dialogue and character interaction.
The human race has scorched the sky and blocked out the sun. This has meant that vegetation has died out. They have now started using the smog that has covered the earth as a source of energy. The plot here has a mix of influences in my opinion, from Bladerunner, The Matrix and Deus Ex, whilst still having its own unique ideas and narrative.
Defragmented has a really good upgrade system and some very interesting RPG elements that give the gameplay a good amount of depth. There are three classes and various skill trees that allow for customisation. I love a game with plenty of loot to collect and there’s plenty of it here to pick up. What’s also cool is that loot is procedurally generated, so you never know quite what you’re going to find along the way. You can also pick up enemies’ weapons and switch things up on the fly.
The classes you choose from all have different attributes that make gameplay interesting and varied. Firstly, there’s the Cyberzerker that uses powerful shotguns and has a long health bar. The Railrunner is uses sub-machine guns, is fast paced and can easily tear through bad guys. Last but not least there’s the Ascended class, who uses energy style weapons and has some very unique traits. The camera is from a top-down perspective, much like other twin stick shooters or games like Helldivers or Hotline Miami. The gameplay is pretty fast-paced, action heavy and most interestingly you can swivel the cameras position to get a clearer view of what is happening around you. Your health is pretty decent, and not like Hotline Miami where you die from one shot kills. Deciding what you spend your upgrade points on can be fairly vital and I took some time deciding what to invest in. In games like this I tend to firstly upgrade my health, armour and evade abilities and then improve my weapons.
Similar to Hotline Miami, the game does take some practice and a few runs that involve elements of trial and error. There’s also a lot of options to play with in terms of equipment and weapons and it’s a good idea to find the load out that best suits your play style. You have the ability to use up to 3 weapons and 3 skills, which is nice as it gives you plenty of gameplay options. I would find it useful to go into fights, and normally die, before assessing the outcome, planning my next attack and loadout to then be more successful. I love games like this that involve plenty of practise and then working out what areas I should improve and what attributes I should focus on upgrading. Most importantly the shooting feels extremely satisfying and ultimately very rewarding.
The environments are well designed and thought out, and even have destructible objects, which is always fun. The enemies are varied, both in terms of style of power, so you need to stay on your toes. I loved how the game played and the shooting felt great. The overall controls feel slick and responsive, which is always very important in a game like this. I played the game with a mouse and keyboard, but you can actually play with a controller, which I would probably now suggest looking back at my time with the game.
The presentation of the game looks great, with an interesting futuristic setting. The world is mechanical, full of vibrant colours and interesting characters. I love films, games and books that are set in futuristic cyberpunk style worlds and this had me fully invested. The gameplay feels fast paced and hectic and battles look awesome. It looks impressive when bullets are whizzing by and barrels around you are exploding, which helped keep me interested in the game. The sound design is also very well done, with an awesome soundtrack that is full of flair and electronical beats that suit the futuristic world. The soundtrack was actually designed by a team that worked on games like Far Cry Blood Dragon and Hotline Miami 2.
Overall I loved the time I spent playing Defragmented. The game is set in an awesome world, that feels well designed, though out and full of interesting characters and narrative structure. This was a nice surprise considering the game is a fairly familiar top-down style shooter. The moveable camera and hectic gameplay keeps you on your toes and I love every minute. I did encounter a couple of glitches, like items getting stuck in weird places, including myself, but overall it looks and plays extremely well. I would certainly recommend this game and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
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