The Uncertain: Light At The End - Review, one step away from disaster

Direct follow-up to the game The Uncertain: Episode 1-The Last Quiet Day, the second chapter of the homonymous series The Uncertain: Light At The End, ranks like its predecessor, in the genre of interactive storytelling, namely interactive cinematic adventures. The title, developed by New Game Order (now absorbed by ComonGames LLC), Vertex Studio and published by META Publishing, was released last October 8 2020 su Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC e Xbox One. Our trial version was the one for PC revisited for the occasion, and after having finished and deepened, we can sum up a product that often makes you turn up your nose, not maintaining the sufficiency standard of the previous chapter in episodes.

Concentration of stereotypes

The story of The Uncertain: Light At The End is based on the assumptions of previous chapter and expands its narrative events, but from a different point of view. The universe of The Uncertain is in fact that of a world post-apocalyptic where humans have almost all been hunted and annihilated by robot, in the typical cliche seen from the dawn of the science fiction literary and film genre. In short, the usual world where the machines they take control and yes rebel ai own creators. As mentioned, the new chapter offers a different point of view compared to the previous episode, in fact in this second iteration we will take the place of Emily and the small group of survivors with whom she shares the hard fate of the fugitive; always haunted by robotic police and rake street by street looking for surviving humans to take them to unknown places. Already in the choice of the human protagonist, we can trace the first fundamental parallels with the previous chapter that instead made us impersonate RT, a defective humanoid robot, who realizes that humanity is not completely extinct and above all it is not totally evil. The "psychological" growth of the character of the first game was therefore at least interesting, as he resumed the science fiction genre with a perspective not canonical and therefore innovative, which as we have already said does not happen in this second chapter.

Emily, protagonist to be honest not terribly written, has one discrete characterization, flanked, however, by a concentrate of stereotypes on two legs which is the group to which it belongs. Characters so bad at times, that they regret the worst B series movies. For example, the old grumpy Alex, the elderly scientist Brian, the nerdy guy Parker, the braggart Matthew and the single mother with a very forced Slavic accent Olga, seem a shapeless mass of behaviors and personalities already seen and reviewed billion times in countless movies and video games. All this consequently does nothing but considerably diminish the player's identification with the events of the game and its protagonists, leading to a certain devaluation of a title that should make fiction the main raison d'etre. Furthermore, if we were to draw parallels with other similar video games as regards the setting and the genre of belonging, we will do nothing but highlight further shortcomings in the product. For example, if we compared the game with works like the Detroit: Become Human di Quantic Dream, with the exception of the issue of transhumanism, the differences would be abysmal in terms of quality.

Obviously, given the very tight budget for the game from ComonGames LLC compared to that available from the team of David Cage, we do not feel too much to blame the very short duration of Light At The End - which stands at about 5 hours. The real problem is rather the very low replayability of the campaign which, when combined with the aforementioned stereotypes, with some texture hole and deus ex machina foolish, almost totally destroys the value of production. If we then wanted to compare it to other exponents of the genre of interactive storytelling with a similar budget, such as the first Life Is Strange, we could find crucial differences from a narrative point of view, as in the case of the importance of the choices made by the player and the related consequences. Indeed, Light At The End's plot follows a single line of events barely modifiable by some microscopic detailed choices, always leaving the player with the impression of playing more than one static film than to a real video game. In fact, little ones are of little use - even if interesting - diaries scattered around the game world, in the form of audio-log or messages in disused tablets, which outline a basic narrative universe that is not totally mediocre.

The problem ofrise to the robot in the world of work it is in fact an intriguing social issue animated by adults debates that even in our world they create great contrasts between those who see the subject in an extremely progressive key and those who instead interfere with it, such as the Luddites. There are also noteworthy issues such as i cyber attacks and the replacement of man-machine in society. However, the whole is associated exclusively with side material without actually materializing in the dialogues between the main characters, among other things in any way jumpable.

Some puzzles in The Uncertain: Light At The End

Light At The End is as already mentioned an interactive adventure that leaves relatively little room for the player from the point of view of gameplay, as indeed most of the media. The user is therefore quite free to move only in very confined spaces e not very interactive, in which to search and find the objects necessary to continue the story. Once all the necessary pieces have been found, one of the few components that can just be saved of the title will reveal itself, namely that of the little ones math puzzles e logical a IT theme. While most of the puzzles are actually quite challenging and difficult at the right point, it is also true that others are really tedious and frustrating. Nothing insurmountable is clear, but the controls are not always intuitive and for the first few minutes it will not always be easy to understand what to do. This is also because, from time to time, i suggestions present on the screen will interpose with those in English, which have not been deleted correctly and render the texts incomprehensible. However, it is possible to easily skip the puzzles with a simple button, which we do not recommend given the already extremely short duration of the adventure. To conclude the in-depth study on the gameplay of the game, we must also mention a very sketchy system of stealth mechanics on rails, so banal as to add nothing more to the product.  

In the genre of interactive adventures the technical side and the quality of the graphics is certainly one of the most important features and The Uncertain it fails even in this field to shine with its own light. The PC test we had was not entirely satisfactory, although not totally disastrous for a small budget independent game. Even the technical side, as regards the quality of the textures and the framerate, is not totally to be rejected. Instead they are animations and 3D models of the characters that are dated and little precise. In addition, on the front of the animations there is also a constant abrupt movement of the camera, present to visually skip a certain animation or a scene that the developers did not want to insert. We then also encountered a serious bug graphic that causes total black screen if you walk backwards on a secondary path in the final stages of the game. We still managed to bring the campaign to an end, but the problem is still unsolvable not even restarting the game, thus bringing even more into the abyss the continuation of a project that on paper could still be relatively close to sufficiency, which will at least be corrected with the necessary patches.

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