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Concept - Hacker Evolution: Untold PC Review
Untold is chronologically a prequel to the original game, though, with all of the time travelling and such present in the background, from our position as the observer it may well take place after the future events of the original. But I won't get too far into this (I'm sure I could talk for hours about it).
Once again taking on the role of Brian Spencer, the player is framed for a crime they did not commit. Using all of their hacking expertise and skills, players must fight to clear Brian's name, while trying to solve the mystery of who did commit the crime in questions.
It's all pretty standard fair for a game, but as with the original, Hacker Evolution: Untold keeps the plot streamlined, clean, but more importantly, unintrusive. If players don't want to follow a plot, and instead jump straight in to the game, they are completely able to do this, with no cutscenes or videos to wade through. Instead, the plot details are passed on in the form or emails or journals between levels.
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Players are free to play through the game as they wish, whether they choose to walk through the game at a leisurely pace or blast through it like they're fighting for their life.
In the mechanics, the game's two important currencies are money and trace. Money can be hacked from servers, and can be used to upgrade a player's hardware and reduce their trace level. A player's trace level should be kept at a minimum, with various actions contributing different amounts of trace. If a player's trace level reaches 100%, they will be locked out, found, killed or whatever other endstate you can think of, and the game ends.
As with the original, Hacker Evolution: Untold packs a ridiculous amount of anxiety and suspense into such a simplistic, and players will be left nibbling at their nails as they watch the time left until they will be traced and the time left until the action they're undertaking is completed.
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Controls - Hacker Evolution: Untold PC Review
Hacker Evolution: Untold feels and controls like a player is sitting, typing into their command console a couple of different commands. While compared to what a real life hacker would be doing the controls are rather simplified, this makes the game accessible to the general audience, and gamers are by no means spoon fed.
The game will test typing skills, as there is no copy paste option, and thus each time a server for example is used in a command, it must be retyped. While I didn't quite find this as challenging as I did in the original (my chronic misspelling of "exchange" led to quite a few moments of frustration), there were a few times where I was left wondering what I was doing wrong, eventually working out I left a pesky letter out.
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Graphics - Hacker Evolution: Untold Download Review
Another worthwhile addition to the graphics is the "world map" becoming much more dynamic. Whereas the original's World Map simply showed the world at all times, now the map changes depending on the scale of what you're doing. If you're hacking sites across town, the map will show a satellite-style map of the town, completing with traffic on the roads, streetlights and other neat features. If you're hacking servers in the same building as you, the map will be replaced with a stylised image of the building.
The game will win now awards for cutting edge graphics, but there's nothing wrong with what exosyphen studios have done have chosen to work with, and the result is polished and professional looking.
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The sound in this Hacker Evolution: Untold doesn't make a particular improvement on the previous iteration, with the same basic sound design present. It loses points for not really making an effort to move forward, but there really isn't much the developers could have done. The recordings are still clean and clear, and the miscellaneous ticks still do a surprisingly good job of injecting suspense and anxiety into some situations where a player is looking as if they might be traced.
The music, a suite of lofi, electronic beats, matches well with the game most of the time, and can add to the suspense in the right quantities.
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Verdict - Hacker Evolution: Untold Download
Just about on par with the original, is a good play for both casual gamers and the hardcore alike, with the easy to use controls and straight forward gameplay making it accessible to a fairly wide audience. While it some ways the game hasn't done much to step forward from its predecessor, sticking with a formula that worked for exosyphen studios the first time is nothing to be ashamed. This Hacker Evolution: Untold Review was as enjoyable to write as its predecessor.
My only real qualm with the game is its short duration (it took me only a few hours to knock the game over), but there is replayability in attempting to back and complete the game perfectly.
Hacker Evolution: Untold download can be found on exosyphen studios' webpage or steam.