When I first saw Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa I was intrigued by a couple things. First the premise of a game where all of your choices actually make a difference in the game has always interested me. On top of that the game was made by veterans of Sucker Punch and BioWare two developers that I have enjoyed for a long time. Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa does a good job making every decision matter, but average and somewhat repetitive gameplay prevents the game from being as good as it could have been.
In Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa you play as the warrior Jehan. The story begins with Jehan finding a way to travel back in time after his hometown is destroyed by a powerful weapon. Now with a new opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past, will Jehan make better decisions. An infection is spreading through the world turning once peaceful villagers into bloodthirsty creatures. Everything might not be as it first seems though. Can Jehan make the right decisions to try and fix the wrongs of the past and prevent the same catastrophe from happening again?
Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa at its core reminds me mostly of an action adventure game. Most of the gameplay is built around combat. Throughout the game you will encounter little arenas. A variety of enemies will spawn and you can’t leave the arena until you defeat all of them. The game gives you two weapons to choose between from the very beginning. One will stun enemies and the other will kill them. You can switch between these two weapons at any time. The game gives you one basic attack and a block. You also have access to a number of special abilities which use energy which you acquire from enemies when you complete long combos. Combos are a big part of the combat as you deal considerably more damage and also get various energy and health drops from enemies when you complete longer combos. In addition to these arena fights there are a couple boss fights.
I had mixed feelings about the combat. On the positive side the combo system actually works quite well. The game kind of helps with this since if you are somewhat close to an enemy and you push the movement button in the right direction, the game will basically guide you towards hitting the enemy in that direction. This makes getting combos pretty easy as you can just slide back and forth between enemies dealing damage. Because of this combos are key to doing well in the game. It was fun getting pretty long combos going where the combat kind of felt like the Batman Arkham series. Th combat is considerably more streamlined though. The main problem with the combat was that after a while it got kind of repetitive. It is fun, but once you get the combo mechanics down almost every fight plays out in the exact same way. Outside of eventually acquiring additional special abilities that you can use with the energy you acquire, the combat never really changes throughout the game.
As for the combat’s difficulty I can only comment on the normal difficulty (there is one difficulty level lower and one or two higher). As for the normal difficulty I found the combat to be pretty easy for the most part. There were a couple fights that I failed maybe once or twice, but I generally breezed through most of the fights. A lot of this had to deal with the game making it easy to move from enemy to enemy while performing combos. As long as you regularly move from enemy to enemy to create combos you will avoid most damage and defeat enemies quicker. While you need to keep track of enemies to avoid taking damage, you can mostly just keep pushing the attack button making sure that you switch between different enemies after each attack. Maybe the higher difficulty levels make the combat considerably more difficult, but I found the normal difficulty to be on the easy side.
Outside of the combat the other main gameplay element in the game is puzzle solving. Breaking up some of these combat sections are some puzzles that you need to solve in order to open up the path forward. A lot of these puzzles involve pushing blocks to specific areas. These puzzles also usually include a button that allows you to change the colors of blocks. Once all of the blocks are in the right spots the path forward will be unlocked.
As a big fan of puzzle games, I have to say that I was disappointed by this element of the game. The problem with the puzzles are that they are just so basic. While most of the puzzles are quite easy to solve, you honestly don’t really even need to solve them if you don’t want to. This is because most of the puzzles have few moving parts where you can pretty much brute force the answer quickly if you can’t otherwise figure it out. When a block is placed in the correct spot it will lock in place letting you know that you placed it correctly. I wouldn’t say the puzzles are terrible, but there is nothing about them that are particularly interesting. The game could have used some more variety or at least made them a little more difficult to solve. Basically the puzzles feel like they were only added to break up the combat sections.
Ultimately I had mixed feelings about the gameplay. There are things that I liked and others that just felt kind of dated. In a way the gameplay kind of feels reminiscent of the PlayStation 2/3 era of video games. This even extends to the graphics. Fans of the retro look will likely enjoy the game’s style, but others will feel that it looks dated. I don’t know if the mechanics were made reminiscent of the PlayStation 2/3 era by design, or if it was due to the game being made by an indie studio and not having the budget to make a larger game. This doesn’t mean that the gameplay is bad, but it just feels like there could have been a little more variety to the gameplay and maybe some tweaks to the mechanics. It just feels like more could have been done with the gameplay.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review one of the things that intrigued me the most about Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa was the idea that all of your choices would make a difference in how the game turned out. While I have always liked the premise, far too many games fail at implementing it where it doesn’t feel like your actions actually make a difference. I am not sure how I feel about this as it relates to Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa. In some ways it feels like your decisions truly matter and in other ways it doesn’t.
Basically the game divides the decisions throughout the game into being merciful or brutal. In combat you can choose to use the weapon that stuns enemies or outright kills them. Throughout the game you will also be given a number of choices to make which will determine how the story progresses. Most of the decisions in the game are binary where you can either choose to be merciful or brutal with little wiggle room between the two. How you handle enemies and the decisions you make will have an impact on what happens as you progress in the story.
In these type of games I generally like to choose the “good” option, and the same held true for Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa. Throughout all of the fights and the choices I ended up choosing the merciful choice. At this point I haven’t played through the game again choosing the brutal options to see how choosing between the two extremes actually impacts the game. Despite this I could tell some areas where the game diverged based on the decisions that I made. I don’t think your decisions impact the gameplay all that much outside of the brutal and merciful weapon attacks differing slightly. The only gameplay that I specifically noticed is that there is a battle sequence in the gameplay trailer for the brutal path which was not present in the merciful path that I chose. I noticed significantly more differences in the story. I won’t get into details to avoid spoilers, but there were decisions that I made in the game that had ramifications for what happened later in the game. You can tell that these sections were impacted by the decisions that I had made as they couldn’t have happened if I chose another option.
This is what made me conflicted about how much your decisions end up impacting the game. It doesn’t seem to have a drastic change on the gameplay itself outside of maybe slightly altering some of the fights. It does seem to have some pretty noticeable differences on the story though. The game apparently has ten different endings. Some of these are slight variations of one another, but there are apparently four totally different paths the ending can take. I could tell how the decisions that I made impacted the ending that I ultimately got. Outside of the story though, the decisions you make don’t seem to drastically change the gameplay experience.
As for the story I had some mixed feelings about it. There are things that I liked about it. I found it interesting that the game gives you the distinct choice between being merciful or brutal. You have to make the conscientious choice whether you are going to spare enemies’ lives or if you are going to kill them. The game at times does a good job asking your moral questions as you can tell that there are no clear cut right answers to some of the decisions. In a way this is kind of refreshing as it delves into deeper decisions than a lot of video games.
I had two main problems with the story though. First I found it to be pretty predictable. This may have differed if I chose a different path, but I could have predicted how the story was going to turn out pretty early in the game. The story is not bad, but it treads similar waters to a lot of other video games. The other issue I had was with the endings themselves. Maybe it was just the ending that I got, but it feels like the game is going to rely heavily on the idea that sometimes there are no good choices and thus there are no “good” endings as you can’t make everyone happy. This somewhat plays into the fact that the game prompts you to play the game again after you beat it to see if you can make “better” choices this time. I can see why the developers did this, but it made the ending kind of unsatisfying in my opinion.
While I applaud the developers for actually striving to make a game where your decisions truly matter, I think the biggest issue is just the fact that I don’t see myself playing through the game again for a while to see how much each decision truly changes the story. I wouldn’t say that the game is super long as I would guess that most people could make it through the game within 5-6 hours. Unfortunately I just didn’t find the gameplay to be compelling enough to play through the entire game again to see how things would change if I made different choices. Maybe I would be more inclined if the game was a little shorter where each run took less time, or if the gameplay would have a little more variety. Sometime in the future I may change my mind, but I just don’t see going right back into the game to explore a different path through the game.
Ultimately I finished Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa and was left with really conflicting feelings about it. There are things about the game that I really liked, but there were other things that I didn’t. I found the combat to be decent as it is fun to move from enemy to enemy creating large attack combos. In some ways the gameplay just feels a little outdated though as there isn’t a lot of variety as you end up doing the same things over and over again just in different settings. As for the premise of every decision impacting the game, I had mixed feelings about that as well. Based on one playthrough I can tell that your decisions will have an impact on how the story unfolds as my decisions had a direct impact on how things ended. I think it will have less impact on the actual gameplay though. At this point I just don’t have the motivation to go back and try new decisions to see how they will impact the game.
For these reasons I am not entirely sure what to say for my recommendations. If you aren’t really interested in the premise that every decision matters, I don’t see anything in the game that will make it worth your time. If this premise really intrigues you though I think there will be things that you will like about the game. If you can look past the fact that the gameplay doesn’t have a lot of variety to it, I think you could enjoy Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa and should consider picking it up.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Triple-I Games for the review copy of Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.