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[ REVIEW ] - Tacoma

A multi-linear space mystery - Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS

From Fullbright comes a "multi-linear space mystery" called Tacoma. This is the same team that was responsible for Gone Home and previously, Bioshock content as well including Minerva's Den. The version we tested and played was on Xbox One. From start to finish Tacoma is a moody, mysterious masterpiece of a story where you, a hired contractor, are sent to investigate a space station whose inhabitants are missing. Along the way you start to unravel the story of what occurred on the space station and the whereabouts of a previous crew.

The charming part of this game, is the way it tells you the story. The actual story telling itself has its own mechanic unlike anything I've ever played. The story and game is limited to a linear form however the delivery of it, is multi faceted. You possess a UI that it used to explore holographic images that are recorded all over the space station. You have the ability to rewatch, rewind, fast forward and change the focus of these augmented reality holographic recordings. As you venture forth into different areas of the station, new stories, information and recordings are presented in a way that is unique to any game I can think of. Fullbright really nailed a story that presents the player with a fully fleshed out future that depicts capitalism, technology, and other issues in a subtly disturbing yet endearing way.

The graphics are gorgeous and this was made with the Unity engine. As much as I hate to pigeonhole a "type" of game to this story, I would place it in the walking simulator category for posterity. The sounds and music are excellent and the ambiance lends to the overall feel of being alone in space on a quiet station. Alone.

"Fullbright really nailed a story that presents the player with a fully fleshed out future that depicts capitalism, technology, and other issues in a subtly disturbing yet endearing way."

The character development on this game is absolutely exceptional. Each character has his or her own backstory you unfold as the story progresses. The voices and emotions expressed by holographic figures are incredible in this game. Each character is detailed in story enough for you to start actually caring about individual background, or what happens to them at times. It's rather amazing that this is accomplished with such little visual detail and in such a short amount of time, as Tacoma is about a 4 hour play through. This can go much longer though if you like to see, touch, and explore everything.

In the past, I very much enjoyed Gone Home and this was just as good of a game that I would expect from Fullbright. The only issue I had, is that it had a bug on the Xbox One version that wouldn't allow me to start the game without resetting the Xbox first. This was no big deal, and I'm sure a patch to fix it will be soon. The story was great all along until the end. The ending wasn't bad. It just lacked a general "punch" or payoff that I felt was in order in my opinion. Also, bear in mind that much of the story is actually told through exploration. It makes you work for it. As you should. Overall, Tacoma is a fantastic anecdote of a future brought to life by Fullbright. It was everything I expected and I look forward to checking out future releases by Fullbright. They tend to do something new with the way stories are told in these games, and it's always a real pleasure to experience. Tacoma is fantastic and I recommend you check it out for yourself.

-Randy Lunsford

Sr. Content Producer / Bad Yeti Media

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