Hindsight on the Future

Hindsight on the Future

Memories are all we have

The Annapurna Interactive Showcase from last week might have been 25 minutes, but it was packed with new trailers and tips for future releases. One game I hadn''t seen before was Hindsight, and as a fan of narrative games (particularly those published by Annapurna), I knew it was something I wanted to try out.

As a child, you play as a woman named Mary, traveling through her memories, recounting her relationship with her parents, especially her mother. Both have a somewhat strained relationship, where Mary''s mother is controlling, often incompatible with Mary''s acting as a normal kid.

Annapurna Interactive, a PC, Nintendo Switch, and Hindsight Publisher, has been released: August 4, 2022 MSRP: $14.99

When it comes to the big picture, the story of is perfectly functional. It gives us hints here and there about Marys'' true relationship with her mother, of her maternal coldness, and her distant behavior even when she needed her most. However, in this case subtlety may have been mistaken for undeveloped characters.

If our dramatic question is how do we keep an eye on the difficult relationships we had with people we love, especially after they are gone? the game leaves us still sticking on that idea rather than addressing it even going so far as to outright ask the player that question almost verbatim in its final moments.

I needed more

Im all for ambiguity, but it must be earned. I felt like the whole game was being told, but I wanted it to really dig in and show me how one character''s actions affected another, and vice versa. Instead, it was scene after scene reaffirming their internal lives, but they were unable to progress.

The narrative''s greatest advantage is that it never felt completely unique in any way. Most of the time, the dialogue was generic (there were a few lines that ties me together, but I can count them on one hand), and the events of the story itself were just a few moments I had previously encountered in the slice of life genre.

The game''s prologue shows what you get a lot of time with the dialogue: Things begin, and sometimes, when you least expect it, things end. I appreciate the sense here, but it was not specific enough when the first few minutes of the game focused on expressing gratitude, and when I finally found out more, I was reminded that even the finest details, like Mary''s mothers insisting on teaching Mary about her Japanese heritage, made me wonder how this story was different from other stories centered on immigrants.

This would not be the case, but this version of the story would not work. I wanted more from the moments that were there: more introspection, more conflict, and scenes with a clear confrontation of values between mother and daughter etc. I wanted scenes that would teach me all of these abilities I hadn''t previously envisioned, rather than repeating the notion that Mary never knew or understood her mother. There are only so many ways to say the same thing over and over.

Structure?What structure?

The games structure was divided into seven sections despite my best efforts, and while the story sounded awfully thin, everything seemed to overlap once more, making it impossible to distinguish one chapter from the next. In this case, it didn''t seem like we were building toward anything because I spent too much of the game ignoring it.

The main components of gameplay are most similar to that of point-and-click genre players click on the highlighted object or next vignette to progress. This is because often players need to rotate an object or modify the setting to see the memory from the wrong angle before diving into it. This was a fantastic visual, and those moments were some of the greatest in the game, but seeing them from a new perspective, one might say, can help us understand them better.

It was all good in theory, but in practice, it often resulted in disappointment to discover just the right angle that didn''t feel very intuitive when I discovered it, or that I was looking for the item to click on to progress that was too small I walked past it four or five times. There were also moments when I found myself moving forward in one direction only to have the character turn and return to where I was, for seemingly no reason. It''s a small gripe, but moments like that left me feeling like they were

Lets talk gameplay

Mechanically, there was just a little thing there in the narrative genre. It''s fine for the narrative genre its not always about having super in-depth game mechanics. Even so, the novelty wore off quickly, and aside from moving some books on a shelf or creating a time-lapse with a melting candle (activities I wouldnt wager are the most fun things to do in practice), you''re left with a pretty rudimentary, repetitive experience. The game was only two or three hours at most

I was able to find a suitable angle or whatever tiny object I needed to touch on. At some point in my playthrough, I assumed the soft lock bug had halted my progress, but it wasn''t game-breaking. In a situation where I could click on a few different vignettes, I chose one at random and sat for a few minutes to figure out how to progress.

I realized that after giving up and returning to the main menu, I had to go to another vignette first to see something I needed to do. I found myself completely unmotivated. I had some framerate hitches, but there was a good chance I got those because I was playing on my Nintendo Switch.

I was very dissatisfied with this one. I think that reconnecting with the past and reflecting on how family relationships have affected us into adulthood are a staple of the walking sim/narrative genre games like and have paved the way in that regard. However, I believe that linear games with minimal mechanics would not be allowed to go until 2022.

In order to make a game with this subject matter stand out, you have to make a fresh twist on it, as weve never imagined before. Unfortunately, did not really achieve that, either in its gameplay or its story. At the end of the day, story is what we think most important here, and if the writing was stronger, Id be able to forgive many more of Hindsight''s mistakes.

[This review is based on a retail design of the game provided by the publisher.]

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