Ready or Not Is a tactical horror game in which you crawl through the tangled labyrinths of American decline in search of suspected violence among huddled passers-by. Steam currently likes itbut after spending a few hours with him I cannot say that I know. It’s a delightfully tense puzzle game at its best, punctuated by nervous gunfights, but it’s also a brutal political fantasy with no introspection.
Developed by New Zealand-based Void Interactive. Ready or Not puts you in the shoes of American law enforcement, tasked with bringing order to the chaos of a failed state torn apart by economic stratification and crime. Your pacification tools include assault rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and of course, an endless supply of military ties.
Deployed across poor neighborhoods, car dealerships and gas stations, your mission is to methodically traverse and clear maze-sized levels until all the bad guys are arrested or dead. If you do not complete each encounter in accordance with the proper rules for participation, you will be penalized with bad marks at the end of each level, like a bad mark in Dance revolution…
Even before he blew up Steam, Ready or Not sparked controversyand lost its publisher after one of its developers seemingly re-committed to adding a school shooting level. Discord players have fantasized about what gear they would use to track down the shooter in this alleged scenario. Void Interactive after all weighed to calm everyone he will be wary of handling such traumatic content, but after playing a few existing cards in the game, I doubt it.
Ready or Not more like a MouseTrap game than a round Call of Duty… You will spend more time looking for traps around doors than spraying and praying, leaving behind a trail of chemical lamps to mark where you have already been. You will eventually run into NPCs who won’t give up, but instead will pull out their weapons and start setting you on fire with superhuman rage. Matrix agent. Hence the fear and awe with which you and the rest of your squad, inept AI companions if playing alone, or other players if online, make your way through “affordable housing” methamphetamine laboratories and a besieged hotel.
It’s an incredibly evocative combination, aided in part by detailed audio cues and eerie ambient drumbeats from an electronic soundtrack handled with the care of a scissor toddler. Ready or Notthe realism is effective enough to be disturbing, but too superficial not to turn into a farce or, even worse, a Blue Lives Matter cosplay with fascist overtones and dog whistles of the alternative right.
The Easter Egg in the starting area of the game’s headquarters consists of a discarded box of red pills in a trash can with the words “Doodle Runners” on the side, which some have interpreted as 4chan-speak N-word (Void Interactive did not immediately respond to a request for comment to clarify the intended meaning. Update: studio answer added below). Elsewhere on the table next to spare ammo is a box of Vitamin D supplements for Bonor Health from Whore Foods, and another box of vitamins refers to Pepe’s meme… There’s also the infamous “Anal Ladder” sign from one of the game’s older trailers that refers to the upcoming sex club level.
Random passers-by aboutjust a few written lines that they will bark at you at the moment, one of which is: “My mother has a Mexican maid, perhaps you know her.” Has already “Disable Kringa voice lines“To remove it, although Void Interactive announced that it also plans to replace it in a later update. Then there is the ideology of law and order that defines the rest of the game. America is on the brink. Crime is at an all-time high. It cannot be fixed, only muted. The game teaches you to be afraid of everyone you meet, not as comments, but as a fulfillment of desires, and seemingly unaware of the recent reckoning of the nation. with an epidemic of cop homicides…
Among these disorienting tonal shifts, which range from youthful to outright racist, there are incredibly dark moments, such as when you see a child writhing in pain in his pink bedroom. “The wounded civilian is free and ready to evacuate,” your SWAT officer says in a Robocop voice. Whether because Ready or Not remains an incredibly simple Early Access game or, since Void Interactive lacks sophistication, it makes the whole thing feel rude and exploitative.
It didn’t stop Ready or die from receiving a stream of positive user reviews praising the game on Steam. Some, no doubt, because they see in him the seeds of a faithful successor. old Special Forces games, and thus a return to the slow, tactical, claustrophobic gunfight that even in games like Rainbow Six Siege basically refused. Others are likely due to the way it casts the gameplay into worship of strong cops (there are no female cops in the game yet) and provides a neat and tidy way to counter one system of violence with another.
However, this fantasy comes at a price, both in real life and on Steam. Ready or NotThe beta is currently priced at $ 40, and the Supporter’s Edition is twice as expensive. It’s impossible to make a final judgment on a game that seems more unfinished than not, but so far it hasn’t been shaping up so that I can trust a simulation of a school massacre.
Update: 1/7/21 9:43 AM ET: Void Interactive has released the following statement Kotaku regarding some of the links contained in Ready or Not…