+Captivating narrative that intriguingly blends Twilight Zone and The Matrix ideologies
+Absolutely beautiful use of music, voice acting, and environmental elements
+A voiceless protagonist adds an immersive feeling, as if players are the character
+Every decision influences the outcome of the game including multiple ending
+Playing the game at night, lights off, and with headphones makes it all the better
–None, quite literally none unless you count addictive gameplay.
Editor’s Note: We’ve decided to change the name of reviews to sit-rep. With doing this, Asemblance is the first title that will hold this title as we move forward with the name. In regards to the review, it contains light to moderate spoilers.
Asemblance is a title that blends the likes of titles such as The Matrix (ever wanted to be stuck in your own memories to fight for the truth? Here’s your chance), Twilight Zone, and a sense of scientific works that even agent Dana Scully (X-Files) would be fighting to escape – Asemblance blends ideologies from multiple genres to bring one of the most immersive and mind-screwing titles in modern times to both PC and home consoles. The game is a must have at the $9.99 price title for the entry episode to a possibly ongoing series.
The Full Debrief
When I originally found out about Asemblance, I had been watching video previews of the upcoming title through Sony’s YouTube channel and browsing the internet. Stumbling upon a bit of news about Asemblance, I’d been curious to what Nilo Studios was up to. With titles such as Outlast, Slender, Soma, and even The Stanley Parable under my belt, I was curious to what this one was about. A person stuck in a machine, reliving his pr hers memories, solving a psychological situation from their past? Why not? What could go terribly wrong with this idea?
If you’ve ever seen the Twilight Zone, you already know that the idea of being able to alter ones memories has been an impressive feat. Even in the real world, the idea is there, and the idea to control the subconsciousness is an important ordeal. The games opening is fairly simple, one that offers players the view of a small room, which they’ll become familiar with, that is lit red due to the current situation that’s causing the alarms to go off. After a second of the alarms going off, the games narrator is pleasantly soothing as he comes on screen alerting us that there’s actually not a emergency situation, but instead was simply testing us. Within the opening minutes we are asked to express how we feel, with how I was truly feeling at the time, I decided to go with confused and angry. While it seemed reasonable, the A.I. informs me that he wasn’t expecting that answer, it was outside of what he was expecting, but he understands the response.
When looking around the room, there was something interesting about it. With each step I was able to notice something unique about it – the atmosphere. Let alone was their the dull hum of the machine near me, but the air conditioner, the flow of air, and the subtle hint of my characters steps as the character made his or her way way through the room back to the console, the area lived and breathed. This wasn’t just a quickly designed small space, but one made to be realistic and believable. After a few moments of taking in the area around me, it was time to check in with the computer, select the memory I would want to see, and go into it. The first was a place where you’ve met the woman of your life. By entering the memory you get to see something entirely new. A forested area, one that could be real from the look of it. One that lived with the soft whispers of grass, leaves, and branches within the wind while lightly entranced with a song that brought forth the feel of relaxation as well as serenity.
After spending a few minutes in the memory, it was time to step out and return to the lab where the A.I. would inform me of a place with better times, happier memories, and a place that I, the player, and assumed character – found happiness within. Within minutes it was time to enter a new one, my office, one where I would work in order to learn how to return to memories and alter them. Or find lost ones perhaps. It was made a point to state I loved being here, that I was consumed by my work, and thus is where I would be more than at home. Within this room there were a few things to interact with. A machine with a tape, a computer, and plenty of pieces of paper to read in order to figure out what my next goal was. For fans of P.T. and the Stanley Parable, this game is a perfect example of what games could be given the proper art direction, subtle hints to puzzles, and an ideology of exploration.
After exploring for a bit it was quite easy to realize – my choices mattered as each memory was entered. Let alone did I learn ways to bypass the games A.I. to continue on searching for clues I was blocked from, I was given the decision to approach each memory differently in order to solve my past, and uncover what had happened to the woman that apparently has meant so much to me. With the superb sound quality, narrative, and voice acting. I found myself tripping through each moment as if they were truly the Twilight Zone. Each memory altered by the clues and puzzle peaces I found. Some allowing me to see my characters lady that captured their heart, and even find an idea of what had happened to her. The question the game had offered up? What had happened? Was I the simulation or was the simulation me? Were each of my memories planted before me predetermined so I would have to solve a case in order to bypass everything that happened?
The question is quite simple in this psychological title that at times, had me hurrying through each puzzle, hitting new orders in order to alter each of the memories. Each time? A new outcome, a new ending, and an entirely new take on a story that was already, in ways, predetermined. A part of me? Knew the outcome was predetermined. Something happened, she was sad, she felt lost, alone, and betrayed. It was all my character’s doings. A question remains though – What if all if it never happened and the memories were all fake and thus I found the corrupted file I did within my eight hours of gameplay? Sure I could have walked away after the first ending, but what if there was more? A final truth I missed? This is a question the game strikes up with each waking moment, with each step taken, and each moment that players reflect upon the path they have taken.
Asemblance – PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Nilo Studios
Publisher: Nilo Sutdios
Price: $9.99 USD
If there is anything this game makes us question, it’s a question about the decisions we make. What if we didn’t drink the coffee we bought, what if we had gone to our favourite spot to reflect instead of going to the movie? What if we said one thing differently? The game is all about action, reaction, and making the players feel immersed, but confused as well as moments appear forth making them re-do their situation in order to find alternate ways about their story. This is something Nilo Studios has done well and has caused me to keep returning to a game that involves 4 rooms, 3 memories, and one that has been corrupted. Welcome to the world of Asemblance where your reality and your perception of the truth is at question. Can you outwit an A.I. that seeks to keep you there? If you believe so, this game will immerse you to an extent you question your own existence and your reality and will be a must have for any PlayStation 4 or PC owner.
Our review is based on a copy provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.