Gamedec PC Review

The job of a Gamedec may uncover the harsh truth or further perpetuate lies.

By Fragnarok, Posted 17 Sep 2021

Gamedec is an investigation adventure game by Ashar Studios. In the far future, Warsaw has become a divided city with the wealthy living in utopian skyscrapers while the poor dredge in dark slums. The only societal connection is that everyone escapes into online virtual reality games. However, with so many active players real crimes and cyber exploits are commonplace. It is up to game detectives - commonly referred to as “gamedecs” - to investigate and solve these problems.
 

 Gamedec|Ashar Studios|Cyberpunk
 

Players begin by creating their main character. They may select an avatar and gender independently (a masculine body type can still be she/her, etc). One can be either from the privileged High City or crawled through the inequality of Low City. Last, a background disposition can be selected for starting stats. There are four attributes in the game that represent ideals: Determination (red), Inspiration (yellow), Rules (blue), and Empathy (green). Once in the game proper, players can spend these attribute points to gain a profession, or horde them for later allocation. 

Each job yields unique dialogue choices for solving puzzles. The four base professions include Scalpel (medic), Infotainer (newscaster), Sleeves (thug), and Glazier (hacker). A Scalpel might be able to save the life of a convulsing VR participant, while a Glazier could instead scan the machine’s logs after they become unresponsive. With additional points, one could decide to multi-class or instead dive deeper into their first profession. For example, an existing Sleeves may either spend extra Determination to go down the path of advancing to virtual world Cheater or use gathered Inspiration to be a Sleeves-Infotainer hybrid.
 

 Gamedec|Ashar Studios|Cyberpunk
 

Gamedec includes a full codex of terms, lore, and people. If players need a refresher on what something is, relationships between characters, or further insights they may dive into the large encyclopedia. However, early on the story will bombard players with lots of information, and each time the codex will continually ping until all entries are read entirely (including flipping through each page of longer subjects). 

The game is broken up into cases: various NPCS will get in contact with the player gamedec to investigate a cyber-related crime or mystery. These cases can either take place in Realium (the real world), Virtualia (the on-line games) or require going back and forth between the two. Realium cases typically involve clear logic, interacting with evidence, and interviewing witnesses or suspects. Virtualia can get quite bizarre, with anonymous players hiding their true identities, programing glitches or bots, and sometimes a need to play the in-universe game’s mechanics (like farming or crafting).
 

 Gamedec|Ashar Studios|Cyberpunk
 

Interaction order is key throughout Gamedec. Often, people can only be investigated once and will never repeat themselves. Certain question combinations will have a meter to unlock additional secret topics. NPCS will also heavily react to previous choices made by players (both in the current case and potentially due to old case outcomes). This often means that players will need to find all clues first, ask certain questions in order, and get on a witness’ good side. On the flipside, gamedecs may want to purposely goad someone or fail an objective to unlock an alternate route. Once collecting enough clues, players can make a final deduction and present it to the client. 

Several times, there won’t be a direct 100% right answer with the truth being somewhere in the middle. What results is a unique experience for each playthrough. Players may decide to ally with different parties, press one lead over another, or purposely suppress information (including the option to backstab the original client). This allows Gamedec to have lots of re-playability as every choice can have a major consequence down the road. However, some of the final deductions can be a bit obtuse to unlock and may require frequent saving and reloading to find them.
 

 Gamedec|Ashar Studios|Cyberpunk
 

Being set in futuristic Warsaw, some characters will randomly speak Polish (with no further translation) despite the language settings. It becomes unclear if this is purposeful world-building or a translation error. Regardless of why it can make certain puzzles incredibly confusing to understand or solve. Additionally, interaction prompts require the player to be in close proximity, which can lead to franticly running around or clicking everywhere. This is compounded by a locked camera that only follows the main character and cannot be rotated or zoomed, resulting in NPCs and some paths being inaccessible at wrong distances.

Gamedec isn’t an overly long game, taking around 8-12 hours depending on which solutions players find and select. That may be far too short for those who only want to play through the game once and keep their choices on record; starting a new game will completely wipe old saves. Most of the game’s story is intended for multiple playthroughs, different profession combinations, and alternate allegiances to see news paths and uncover incomplete mysteries.
 

 Gamedec|Ashar Studios|Cyberpunk
 

Still, the condensed length and initial flaws don’t warrant the current $29.99 USD price tag on Steam. A further oddity is there is no regional pricing, making the game incredibly expensive in low purchasing power regions like South America, Africa, and large parts of Asia and Europe (including Poland itself). Even those very interested in Gamedec may want to wait for a significant price drop or sale discount.

The world and premise of Gamedec are very captivating. Those looking for a unique cyberpunk mystery will get a kick out of the twists and turns of the narrative. Just be prepared for odd or completely missing translations. Still, for most players, it would be best to add the game to their wishlist and wait for a decrease in price.
 

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Gamedec

68/100

Platform(s): Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Ashar Studios
Developer(s): Ashar Studios
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Mystery, Cyberpunk, Role-Playing
Release Date: 2021-09-16

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