WELCOME BACK TO 1996, WE MISSED YOU
(for the sake of full disclosure, the Senior Editor of www.xp4t.com worked on a number of Logic Artist projects as a voice actor and voice director).
Clandestine is a stealth/hacking game developed by an indie studio in Denmark called Logic Artists. It features hard-core stealth mechanics, a fun asymmetrical co-op mode and a nail biting story that keeps you coming back for more.
It is set in 1996, a string of accidents and murders have put the world of international espionage on high alert, veteran Cold War operatives from both sides of the former Iron Curtain are being assassinated around the globe. The CIA and the FSB have secretly established a joint task force to investigate who is leaking information. Your job as an operative is to be deployed on dangerous missions across Europe or North America, chasing the source of the leak.
The game has two modes. You can either play as a spy, Katya Kozlova, sneaking around and completing mission objectives while trying to avoid detection which could compromise the mission. Or a hacker named Martin Symborski whose job it is to use his hacking abilities to help Katya remain unnoticed and progress through the level.
While playing as a spy you play in a third person perspective, you sneak around the levels, sneak past cameras and guards (or kill them) while trying to complete an objective, that objective could be infiltrating an embassy or finding and rescuing a contact. You are equipped with a silenced firearm and a number of different gadgets or grenades, be careful though, supplies are scarce and you never know when you’re going to need your gadgets! The gadgets themselves include a pager which you can throw and then call to distract guards, a “banshee” radio jammer which will temporarily stun nearby enemies, a flashbang grenade which will stun people unfortunate enough to be near it when it goes off (although it is pretty loud and attracts attention) and a remote modem which we will cover later. Between every mission you are free to roam around the headquarters, talk to people and before you start a mission you are free to select your loadout, this enables you to pick something that suits your play style.
The hacker’s job is to infiltrate the enemy’s network, hack their computers and use the information he obtains to guide and assist the spy through the level. His perspective is that from a computer, you have four different views, the Network View, the Camera Feed, the Console and the Tactical Map. The camera feed allows the hacker to see the world through the eyes of any camera in the game including one mounted on the spy, as long as the hacker has good enough access in the network. The hacker is able to pan the cameras, The tactical map gives a crude but effective bird eyes view of the level with the spy, enemies and cameras mapped out in real time. The hacker can use the tactical map to guide the spy through the level, tag enemies and give the spy information which could mean the difference between life and death. The console provides a log of what is going on, in case you forget. The network view provides the ability to traverse the network and elevate your network access. The network view can be used to hack doors to find their password, switch cameras and interact with different objects on the map.
So, i was pretty hyped up when I was offered a couple of press keys to review this game, I explained to my roommate that we were going to play Clandestine tonight, activated and installed the game and loaded up on cola to get the authentic hacker feeling. We started the story and got the explanation that we were simply a reconnaissance team sent there to provide intelligence about a captured asset so the “big boys” could come in and rescue the asset later on. After a quick, painless and well integrated tutorial we found out that they were going to kill our asset. We disobeyed orders and decided to take matters in our own hands and rescue the contact. At first we saw good success, we were like Agent 47 and managed to go by pretty unnoticed (if you don’t count the generally unaware bodies that we left behind), but things suddenly changed. It turns out that timing a breach is a fragile thing and when someone forgot to turn the camera against the wall I was caught red handed while “pacifying” a guard. This quickly resulted in four angry security guards with guns rushing towards me. The gunplay in Clandestine is fast and unforgiving, it is hard to aim and your ammo is scarce which is a very good thing since it prevents you to go full-on Rambo on the mission. Needless to say, I died and we failed the mission. We quickly tried again though and after some very close calls we managed to reach the basement where the asset was being interrogated and rescue him. Mission successful!
All in all, the game is a great coop experience with much suspense and laughter. There are a couple of parts where you just sit around waiting for the other person to hack a door or get to the other side of the compound, but those moments of waiting is well worth it for the adrenaline you feel when you just barely managed to avoid detection or gave that security guard that killed you last time a couple of new air intakes. If you have someone to play this with I very much recommend giving it a try!
- Gameplay – 90
- Co-Op Experience – 90
- Visuals – 50
- Sound FX – 70
- Music – 70