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Journey to the subconscious: first impressions of the Twin Mirror demo

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Perhaps the weakest project from the line of Dontnod.

One gets the impression that some kind of damnation lies on the interactive cinema: studios that have successfully performed in this genre at least once seem to be becoming hostages: Telltale, Supermassive (creators of Until Dawn), Quantic Dream.

Dontnod Entertainment, known for Life is Strange, cannot be blamed for this: their action-rpg Vampyr recently came out – not at all an interactive movie. But the first alarm bells started to appear: their new project, Twin Mirror, seems so far to be the most secondary and unoriginal of the entire studio line. We played in the 20-minute demo of Twin Mirror at Igromir and we are in a hurry to share our impressions

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In Twin Mirror, a similar look to Life is Strange: the main character also returns to his native backwater and also searches for the missing person. At the beginning of the demo, Sam wakes up in a hotel after a booze, not remembering what he did last night. He has a bloody shirt in his hands, and in his head there are vague memories of some accident, the details of which he cannot remember.

Immediately, the main features of Twin Mirror come into play: the main character imagines his voice of reason in the form of a sort of boorish doppelganger distributing advice. You can talk with him and, according to the developers, this will affect the decisions that the hero will take in the future. But it is important to understand that Sam is not crazy: he does not have a split personality. Talking with a double is a way to show the inner world of the main character, to voice his inner dialogue.

Another feature of Twin Mirror – travel to the halls of the mind of the protagonist. Sam has a phenomenal memory (it’s doubly funny that he doesn’t remember the events of the previous evening) and developed deduction, thanks to which he is able to simulate hypothetical situations based on the collected data.

In the demo, Sam is trying to figure out where his bloody shirt came from. To restore the events of the previous evening, the player must first examine the room and collect evidence: notice blood in the sink, an unnatural dent in the wall and a broken mobile phone screen.

After that, by pressing a button, you can move into Sam’s mind – visually this space reminds of the World of the Alien from Dishonored. Here you need to scroll through the events of the previous evening, trying to arrange them in the correct order.

Flying stones on a blue-blue background do not look particularly original – perhaps something else will change in the visual component before the release.

Nilin from Remember Me was doing something similar: in the sci-fi thriller from Dontnod, it was necessary to hack into the memory of enemies, scrolling their memories over and over and changing their minor details. Ultimately, Sam recalls that he got a disturbing SMS before bedtime about a friend’s disappearance, and runs out of the hotel to look for him – this demo ends.

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The first thing that catches your eye – Twin Mirror is very similar to Life is Strange. The way the camera works, control responsiveness, interface. Even objects are highlighted in a similar way. The plot does not seem to be particularly original either: the one-story America is again, the man who disappeared again, the hero with a mysterious past again. In video games, this has already happened many times and because of this, Twin Mirror does not intrigue. And the weary main character eerily reminds Edward Norton of “Fight Club” – this also contributes to the feeling of being secondary.

Life is Strange, too, was full of references to pop culture. But in the West they make very few good games about teenagers, and this alone smoothes the secondary nature. Twin Mirror is reminiscent of Life is Strange, crossed with David Cage thrillers.

On top of that, for some reason, the small Twin Mirror demo worked poorly: the camera jerked in the transitions between the cut scenes and the gameplay (and once the protagonist stood for a second in T-pose ), and the front animation was missing in some places. All this, of course, is likely to be corrected for release, but roughness affected the general impressions.

I don’t really want Dontnod to follow Telltale’s path: the financial success of Life is Strange allowed the French to expand the development team, but instead of focusing new forces on one game, Dontnod decided to create another team to release more games.

This is not necessarily bad, but the first result of the work of the new team does not inspire much hope. Life is Strange, despite its simplicity, still promoted the interactive cinema genre forward: the ability to rewind time affected both the narration and the gameplay. Twin Mirror is still looks like marking time.

By a short demo from Igromir, of course, you can’t judge the whole game. But so far, what the developers have shown is not inspiring: Twin Mirror looks like another noir detective, full of plot stamps. I’d like to believe in the talent of developers from Dontnod – they have repeatedly proved that they are able to surprise.

Perhaps the game was simply shown too early to the journalists or it was not the best segment for the demo that they chose. The first episode of Twin Mirror should be released in the first half of next year – Dontnod has a lot of time to even out the roughness.


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