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Evaluate: Highway 96 – Destructoid

I belief I can depend on your vote

I’m not probably the most political individual, which most likely makes Highway 96 excellent for me. I learn up on occasion insurance policies and guarantees earlier than elections however in any other case may care much less. In fact, I’m Canadian the place politics are boring, not like America, the place politics are a full-contact sport.

Highway 96 is a political sport however in a really human sense. It’s not pointing fingers, it simply asks you; if you happen to had been on this scenario, what would you do?

Road 96 Questions

Highway 96 (PC [ Reviewed], Swap)
Developer: Digixart
Writer: Digixart
Launched: August 16, 2021
MSRP: $19.99

You’re simply an adolescent in Petria making an attempt to flee their nation because it slips additional into authoritarian rule. The present authorities has stored management utilizing backhanded ways and propaganda, and whereas there’s an election arising, there are questions on its legitimacy. In the meantime, protests have been firing up and an anti-government brigade has been making an attempt to trigger havoc.

They’re all issues which can be a lot greater than you however don’t assume you possibly can’t make a distinction. As you journey, you meet an assortment of individuals with their very own political opinions and issues. A police officer with frequent automotive issues, a trucker out on the street, a scary dude with a grudge. You’ll be able to assist them or fully screw them over. That is actually what Highway 96 boils all the way down to: decisions.

Your journey is damaged up into segments. In every space you end up in, you make the selection of the way you need to proceed, whether or not you hitchhike, stroll, bus, steal a automotive, or take a taxi. Your alternative is factored into what scene you end up in subsequent, but it surely appears partially random. You’re dropped into a personality’s scene and play it out.

You don’t simply make one journey to the border. You comply with the journey of many nameless teenagers main as much as election day. Every journey performs out in another way, and as you stumble upon the characters, their subplots advance. You would possibly bear in mind what occurred in your final journey with them, however every time, you’re a brand new individual. Which means that if you happen to screwed them over final time, they’ll nonetheless offer you an opportunity every time.

It’s an odd factor, your character doesn’t construct relationships, at the same time as you get to know these folks. You get to see their journeys unfold impartial of yours, every time you information them in numerous methods. Possibly the argument you had with the police officer didn’t work, however hopefully, your phrases bought by means of to them on some degree and the following teen will see that.

Road 96 Cheater

I had some preliminary considerations concerning the sport’s format. Once I envision the perfect street journey sport, it takes place largely behind the wheel. There’s probably not any driving in Highway 96. Your characters do drive typically, you simply don’t management it instantly outdoors of some easy mini-games. Largely, you’re simply there for no matter is happening within the scene.

But this wound up being surprisingly satisfying. I assume whenever you look again at a journey, you largely bear in mind the attention-grabbing issues that occur alongside the best way, and never the infinite journey that occurs in between. Highway 96 does an ideal job at presenting it. You method a diner or are driving within the passenger seat when a dialog begins. Every scene is attention-grabbing in its personal approach, usually throwing brief mini-games at you which can be surprisingly various.

Road 96 Jarod

The characters are what make Highway 96. The dialogue and animation falter on occasion, but it surely’s arduous to not discover one thing attention-grabbing within the characters. All of them have their very own beliefs, usually affected by issues of their previous. Some are outlandish, some are creepy, they usually all current one thing completely different. But none of them I discovered irredeemably abrasive. Not the hopeless criminals, not the doable serial killer, and never the obnoxious TV host. I wouldn’t need to be pals with a few of them, however I wasn’t dissatisfied when one would flip up, both.

The scenes will be fairly tense, as properly. The sport makes no thriller of its willingness to kill your teen or have them arrested and brought to a pressured labor camp. At the least in your first playthrough, you’ll most likely watch out of who you ask for ideas and what you’ll do and say when a gun is pointed at your melon. Dying isn’t essentially a shedding state of affairs, however nothing good can come from it.

To really get to the tip of your journey, it’s a must to handle your sources: vitality and money. Both can get you to the tip of your journey, however you’re going to should beg, borrow, and steal to get them. Typically, characters offers you one thing as a reward. Different instances, yow will discover bank cards on the ground or break into the again rooms of companies. It’s arduous to have scruples whenever you’re simply making an attempt to outlive.

Hold Breath

And the tip purpose? Do your finest and experience issues out till election day. You’ll be able to usually shunt issues in three instructions: voting, rebellion, and indifference. You’re given many alternatives to vary hearts and minds. I’m unsure if there’s a fallacious reply to the way you affect issues, it’s only a matter of whether or not or not you need to throw matches on the powder keg.

There are some limitations there, nonetheless. Typically, you’re probably not given a alternative in what your character does. This takes the type of characters coercing you or just ignoring your protests, however different instances you have got a single choice to proceed, and it won’t be what you’d naturally do. Contemplating how natural lots of Highway 96 feels, being pressured into crime can really feel a little bit jarring.

It’s additionally a bit tough aesthetically. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad-looking sport, but it surely’s fairly uneven. Typically it seems improbable, different instances you possibly can’t take your eyes off a peculiar, low-detailed plant. Animation is usually stiff, lip-syncing is hit and miss, and generic NPCs repeat too usually. I incessantly questioned if I used to be supposed to acknowledge the man within the mustache, however I assume not.

Helping Out

The fantastic thing about Highway 96 isn’t that it’s thematically or mechanically well-executed, as a result of it’s typically not. Sometimes, you’ll hit a tough patch that simply doesn’t jive and jars you out of your immersion. Typically that’s mechanical, different instances a personality will act in opposition to their established motivations. I feel that may be forgiven, however there might be some who can’t transfer previous the awkward moments.

But, I can’t assist however really feel entranced by Highway 96’s framework; the depiction of a journey as being a bunch of moments. Moments the place you dig into a personality’s psyche or simply have enjoyable taking part in air hockey. It’s light-weight, efficient, and I can’t consider one other place the place it’s this well-executed. When you’re prepared to abdomen the tough patches and politics, there’s a wealthy sport inside. One which explores how folks have an effect on and are affected by the world. Personally, I feel it’s well worth the journey.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] 

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