Liberated brings the comic book genre to life, literally. I’m not talking about how Netflix live-actioned The Umbrella Academy or any of the other Marvel and DC adaptations. In Liberated you’re literally playing through the story across comic book frames. While the whole black and white noir look and feel of the game is what drew me to play it’s the story of change and uprising that got me to stay.
Leaning towards the realm of a cyberpunk mystery the story is as important to the game as the run and gun action. So if those of you thinking it’s some sort of interactive visual novel. I can assure you that this is very much a full action game. Albeit much prettier. Liberated is one of our Top 10 Games coming out in June 2020, tab that link open if you want to check out any other games you might have missed. But for now, let’s dive in.
In this near-future dystopia, the people exist under complete government control. All in the name of “safety” the Themis system monitors each and every citizen 24/7. The system knows everything, your credit rating, criminal history. You won’t be able to withdraw a single penny without big brother knowing about it. And if you’re one hair out of line you better believe you’re going to get pulled in.
It’s not in our human nature to be controlled in such a way and it’s only a matter of time before anti-government groups rise up. Liberated is an anti-surveillance group determined to take down this police state. There are four issues of the comic that you’ll be playing through, each with its own unique protagonist.
Liberated is a comic style shooter and shoot you must. It’s fast action style shooting but you can sneak around if you want. I found it a little difficult to sneak around in the corridors and tunnels that make up most of the gameplay. So heading in guns blazing was the way for me.
Gunplay is a pretty simple affair. You hold down the left stick to move, and the right stick to aim. The right trigger fires; the right bumper reloads. If you get hit, you can hide behind cover and heal more quickly, but enemies can also come and try to drag you out. You’ll need to respond to a fast quick-time prompt to survive. Both you and enemies can take a few hits. It’s engaging, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Each chapter or comic book issue begins with animated motion comic panels. It’s a beautiful display of impressionistic film-noir art that alternated with Liberated’s action-game format. Both the comic book scenes and gameplay feel pretty well-balanced so that you don’t feel as if you’ve gotten too little or too much of both. There’s even a few puzzles, QTEs thrown in to break up the action quite nicely.
Liberated by Atomic Wolf
At its core, Liberated is a side-scrolling action-platformer with a thrilling story, great set pieces and a full-on focus of excessive shooting. This set within an extremely gripping noir comic book panel makes Liberated a fairly unique game to check out. It should only take a few hours but it’s well worth the impressive narrative and distinct comic book art style. While the gameplay isn’t revolutionary and if I’m being honest a bit of chore sometimes. I foresee Atomic Wolf parsing out a few more of these comic book games, maybe in different genres.
Liberated is out now on the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC on Steam. For more cyberpunk games be sure to check out our list over here as well.