Tacoma Reviews

AuthorReview
Titanium Dragon
103,648
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 164
Posted on 05 February 18 at 08:11
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Tacoma is a walking simulator set on a space station. You play as Amy Ferrier, an independent contractor for the Venturis Corporation, one of many corporations operating in the year 2088. Your job is to retrieve the AI off of the evacuated space station Tacoma. While the company reminds you that everything you see on board is confidential, it takes a *long* time for those data transfers to complete, so you might as well look around…

Made by the creators of Gone Home, this is not really a game. Rather, it is a linear story, told via the exploration of the space station, watching segments of the story unfold via the station’s 3D recording apparatus. You can move around and watch the scenes from several different perspectives, listening to various characters as they try to resolve the crisis on the space station, while their oxygen supply runs low, all the while getting guidance from ODIN, the space station’s AI.

The biggest flaw with Gone Home was its ending – the ending of that game was pretty jarring with the overall themes of the rest of the piece. Tacoma, conversely, works a lot better – you get to see all of the pieces of the plot falling together, and it becomes increasingly obvious as you keep making your way through the plot what is REALLY going on.

However, I still have to say they didn’t quite stick the landing. As a drama, this story does a lot better job of unfolding. However, it has one fairly critical flaw – while the characters throughout the story have a sense of agency, it feels like one of the crucial payoffs doesn’t have a lot of buildup to it. While the area where it comes up gives us some background on it, this is very late in the game, after the point at which it was plot critical, which is kind of annoying – while everything else was foreshadowed very well, that part wasn’t, and as a result, it diminishes the sense of agency there.

Still, I have to say that on the whole, the story DID work. The voice acting was on-point, the environments weren’t so big as to be tedious to explore while being large enough to give you some stuff to look at and feel like you were unravelling the plot, and I was overall content with the experience – at the very least, I was never really bored while playing, though the lack of a sprint button felt like a somewhat odd choice.

This is not a walking simulator that knocks it out of the park. But unlike many such experiences, it did at least feel decent to experience. While some people might decry it as being short – which it is, the game took me only in the realm of three and a half hours to 100% – it really didn’t want to be any longer than it was. The story was over by the end of it, and it would not have benefitted from being longer, and would have likely been boring to sit through.

Overall, this is something that you’re likely to be interested in if you like cyberpunk-type stories, about a future society dominated by uncaring megacorporations and AIs, albeit a much more subdued version thereof – rather than being overtly dystopian, the world feels much more rounded around the edges, and it is clear that the megacorps are far from omnipotent, rather being very much subject to the laws of society, albeit laws that they try to circumvent to their own advantage.

If you’re looking for an actual GAME, though, I’d say to avoid this; this is not a game in a very meaningful sense, despite a couple of very simple “puzzles” to unlock a few doors. This is a walking simulator heavily focused on story, and if you aren’t interested in wandering around inside a story that is unfolding around you without much interaction from you, this is not the product for you.

Note also that this IS very short; keep in mind that this is an experience under four hours long. I was fine with that - I got it as part of a bundle - but I can understand that some people might be put off by the $20 price tag, given it is more akin to going to watch a movie in a theater than it is to a game that you are likely to play over and over again.
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