I'm a fan of text adventures, so naturally when I first heard about #GoodwolfStudio's Code 7, I was intrigued, if a little skeptical.
The idea of a "next generation" text adventure game with graphics and sounds didn't sound like it would work in the context of what we expect text adventures to be. However, I chose to give the Episode 0 demo a try, and I found myself in awe of the game I discovered.
Warning: Mild Spoilers from Code 7 - Episode 0: Allocation
Easy-to-learn hacking mechanics
Walking into Code 7, I figured I'd be pretty adept with the hacking required for this game. However, the game does offer the luxury of auto-completing a command and listing possible commands on the screen for you.
While that definitely makes it easier to play, that does not mean that everything is just told to you, or that the game holds your hand. You have quite a lot of options in terms of what you can hack and it's ultimately up to you what commands you make use of, and how fast you use said commands.
I noticed there is a bit of a learning curve involved with Code 7 in sections where the situation is time-based. I don't feel that it's unfair, though, because you can get a better idea of what you're searching for when you fail a timed event and just try again. That said, the wide range of options also makes for a varied experience depending on your play style.
Secrets to discover in each section
Code 7 offers exploration in that you can enter a room and have several options in terms of what you can examine. Each room offers little bits of information that, while may not be significant for moving the plot forward, can give you a better grasp of what you've walked into.
The story itself starts out of nowhere, yet you have every resource available to you in terms of hacking computer files to discover more about what's going on around you.
Touching again on what I said above, the game does not walk you through what you're supposed to do, so you're free to discover as much or as little as you choose.
I definitely enjoyed putting pieces together about the story, or finding elements in the game that make it possible to find even more data and secrets that I would've passed over had I not found a use for a given tool.
The world building Goodwolf has put into the game actually feels reminiscent of Arkane Studios's Dishonored series, which had tons of literature spread across the world to delve into all kinds of lore for the world you inhabit. However, not all secrets you discover are just cool little anecdotes and interesting schematics.
Disturbing ramifications and discoveries
This is when the spoilers start to hit, so I'll take extra precautions.
A great part of the world building is done to set up the villain of Code 7, who goes by Soli. Soli is menacing, hyper-intelligent, and will do anything he can to prevent you from learning more about the facility you've woken up in.
Soli seems to have control over the machinery and equipment that are in the facility, which possess some interesting puzzles that you have to work through in order to continue on your path of discovery.
Soli is an artificial intelligence whose creation was part of the research being done in the facility. The circumstances of Soli's activation and subsequent actions are disturbing, but also show the power Soli possesses. The concept of rogue AI isn't new; however, the humanoid nature of Soli stands out in my opinion. It's not so much that the villain is a machine with clear cut motives and intentions; it's a villain that wants to be human, to emulate humanity and exploit it. Ultimately, the question that burns in my mind is, "How do you defeat an artificial intelligence capable of controlling any electronic system around it?"
That's a basic rundown of my experience with Code 7. There are probably things I missed during my run of Episode 0 that you can discover on your own.
I'm quite intrigued by the world that I've stepped into, and look forward to the release of Episode 1 in April next year. This is definitely an experience that can't be justified by words.
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Genre: Text adventure
Release date: April 2017
Developer: Goodwolf Studios
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