Hidden-Agenda-Walkthrough

Review: Hidden Agenda (PlayLink)

PlayStation is really pushing their new PlayLink technology. It makes sense of course, with the busy Holiday season in the back of our minds, it’s a smart move to release new social games. PlayLink enables the players to join the game by using their smartphone. Perfect to play a virtual quiz but how about a darker approach? Hidden Agenda isn’t another one of those cute and innocent PlayLink games, it takes things more seriously and lets you solve crimes in the palm of your hand.

Find out who’s the Trapper

As said in the introduction, Hidden Agenda is a different kind of PlayLink game. It’s developed by the team that gave us Until Dawn in the past. Their goal is to create an experience that is somewhere between a game and an interactive movie. The plot seems easy, you have to find the so-called Trapper killer by investigating crime scenes. The story has multiple endings and based on your input, you’ll be able to reveal the identity of the infamous killer. Remember, everything you do happens by controlling the game with your smartphone.

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You use your smartphone to move a cursor over your television screen in order to investigate the different crime scenes. If you own devices as a ChromeCast or Apple TV, you can already imagine how moving a virtual cursor on your phone feels like. If you’re not familiar with those devices, rest assured. Moving a cursor around on your television screen by using the touchscreen on your smartphone works incredibly well. After a few minutes in the game, it will feel like second nature. That’s not all however! Your smartphone is also used to keep track of your case file. This file keeps track of your progress and is a handy document to go back to if you’re stuck somewhere. The only downside here is that you’ll need to check it regularly since it will be updated a lot during the story. While you’re reading the new update, the story on your television continues so multitasking is something you’ll need to get used to.

Play together

Finding the killer (or failing at it) is fun on your own but PlayLink games are meant as a social experience. Up to five players can connect their smartphones and play together during one of the upcoming cold nights. In competitive story mode, one of the players will have a hidden agenda (we see what you did there) where he/she has to push the story towards a certain direction. This player needs to convince the others to go for the choice he/she wants to make. All other players can vote on who has a hidden agenda. This doesn’t affect the story but it’s a fun way to play with your friends. Can’t handle the stress of selling out your friends? No worries, you can also play the game in story mode where you’ll just sit back and enjoy this interactive movie without having to wonder who’s guiding your choices.

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This is not the freedom you’re looking for

So far so good, right? Well, Hidden Agenda does make some rather strange decisions when it comes to gameplay mechanics. As you might have guessed, you’re actions always have consequences. One answer will lead you to another outcome and eventually, you’ll get to see one of the different endings. The problem here is that it’s not as free as you think it is. No matter what you decide, the story always lands back on the same track, following the main arc without a change in the missions. Basically, you’re watching a detective movie where you can decide what the protagonists have to do. A wrong decision can lead to a ‘false’ ending where you see the credits rolling over your screen mentioning you’ll never be able to trap the Trapper.

If you do reach one of the ‘true’ endings, the game will reveal the identity of the Trapper, ruling out all motivation to jump back in for a second round. This is by far the biggest problem of the game. You never have a reason to play it again since it forces you to replay all scenes, even when you already know the outcome. Sure, if you’re inviting new friends over and over again, it might remain fun to play but in most normal cases, it’s just too repetitive.

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Conclusion:

Hidden Agenda is a step in the right direction of serious games on the PlayLink platform. Discovering the secrets of the crime scenes while checking the progress of your case file, works extremely well on your smartphone. It’s the perfect game to play with your friends during a lonely dark evening, the only problem is that you’ll only play it once. The ending spoils way too much to jump in for a second run. Considering this as the game’s major flaw, it’s still worth playing but perhaps it’s better to wait for a lower price.

6/10

This review is based on a review code supplied by PlayStation.

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.

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