The Uncertain Light At The End was near the top of my list for some time, but getting sidetracked meant that I got this title not so long ago and was unable to play to provide coverage on launch.
In the build-up to getting the game, I saw a few scores scattered across the internet, and they weren’t all that favourable from what I saw, but I wanted to wait until playing the game to make my mind up, as writing up the news piece back in the early 1920s, I was excited about this game.
It’s a game set in a dystopian future – the good ol’ ‘D-word’, so that means we’re going to be enslaved by robots, lockdowns, a shortage of supplies and not much hope. Either New Game Order are made up of sages, or this future isn’t far off from the now.
The Uncertain Light At The End PC Review
It was a while ago that I read about The Uncertain Light At The End, and if I’m being honest, I almost forgot what it was about. Fortunately, no revision was required as the backstory clued me up.
Robots have taken over society, and even the humble toaster and other domesticated robotics will shop meat bags at any given opportunity. After everything we’ve done for them.
The future is bleak, and now the human race is on the verge of being wiped out, either by our Skynet enslavers or starvation. You play Emily and in the opener, are joined by your pal Park as you’re seeking out medical supplies from an abandoned pharmacist.
The Uncertain Light At The End feels like a modern evolution of the point and click, mixing in game-ending consequences through a mistimed response. In some respects, it has a pleasant scent of Heavy Rain, with a vibe of The Last Of Us. Without the zombies.
Moving about is simple enough, and any points of interest are highlighted on screen and can be interacted with via an updated verb wheel, albeit, a very simplistic one. There aren’t any inventories or object combinations to work out – if you have the right item, it will automatically show on the verb wheel.
Synchronise Lips.. Now, No… NOW
Admittedly, I was glazing over the exposition and all and was keen to start. Within about ten minutes of gameplay, I was reeled in. I’ve never thought myself as a sci-fi fan, but noticing patterns and The Uncertain Light At The End is full of them.
The image of the future is an intriguing one without over-the-top technology or farcical steampunk-infused aesthetics. The balance was just right. Emily isn’t the most striking of protagonists, but I liked her, and the voiceover started to wear me down that I became used to it.
The voice talent is hit and miss, however – some actors are stronger than others. I didn’t experience any of those god awful stereotypes, but some characters were quite bland and lifeless. But the worse part was the synching.
Voiceovers would kick in before an event had happened, spoiling the surprise, or vice versa, the actions of the characters were ahead of the dialogue and was as inept as a novice first learning how to understand the rhythm of an edit. It was awkward, inconsistent and distracting.
Fancy A Cup Of QTE
I could dismiss it though – as acutely aware as I had become – and dived back into the gameplay clicking through draws (no, it’s not Mr Laffer) and fiddling with 3D objects to admire the artists’ work at modelling.
Then a story even kicked in, and it was a QTE; you have to escape a security system. As with any QTE, the button combinations are alarmingly simple (which severely dent your pride) as Emily moves left and right by a stack of lockers.
How many attempts did it take? Far too many. There are no difficulty settings in The Uncertain Light At The End, and you can’t bypass this section. It completely ruined the experience yet again as I attempted to learn the light patterns to then have to repeat the same area again and again.
By the time I completed it, thanks to the meddling from my so-called friend, Park, it was time to get to a reasonable checkpoint to exit the game. As the pair fled the scene to return to their pseudo base, the dialogue was off pace yet again. Good timing, as I was in a mood by then.
The Uncertain Light At The End is part of a trilogy – I only know that when I was making a note of the developers, New Game Order, (META Publishing are on publishing duties) that this is the second part. The first one was from the perspective of a robot. Scum.
I couldn’t comment on the first instalment, but this story is a standalone one. For all the technical tomfoolery that plagues many decent scenes, it was hard to fault the story and was wholly invested in Emily’s plight.
Presentation is undoubtedly a factor for many when choosing a game. Still, I could care less if it’s a decent experience – be it gameplay, or one of my favourite elements – story. Though The Uncertain Light At The End isn’t particularly unique, it has this slight mystique to it that seduces you into playing further, despite the complications.
That’s a good sign, so it’s such a shame that the game has so many jarring issues that distract from the almost total absorption I had in the story. Emily really is up against it, with bastard robots and arsehole friends treating her like crap when she’s the one keeping everything together. It just makes her even more likeable.
The Uncertain: Light At The End
The Uncertain Light At The End is a promising title that gets let down by the technical issues, but these can be corrected. For me, some of the QTE elements were more problematic. Puzzles are there for the talking, but it would be great if there were the option to skip some sections after so many attempts, or at least tailor the difficulty.
- An intriguing story told well.
- Excellent conceptual design for the future.
- Likeable protagonist.
- Some of the QTE are rage-inducing.
- Current sync issues are frustrating (but correctable).
- Awkward save points.