Well, I'm sure I'm not going to be able to do this game justice, but with sales rolling around and me continuing to enjoy it, I felt the need to strongly recommend Volume.
First of all, it's got excellent gameplay that is expanded greatly due to the driven community content. Stealth elements contribute to some fantastic puzzles, both from Mike and also from the tons of talented geniuses that make full use of the level editor. The gameplay relies a lot on sound, using tools to distract enemies or get them to move, rather than taking them down. In case it isn't obvious, I'm a huge fan. It was quite the experience, finding the Bugle for the first time and having to use it in the refreshing situations that really utilize it. Of course, the game does get more complicated. One small complaint from me would be that eventually the tons of elements don't completely bring out the best in each other, and tend to get separated quite a bit in the level design. Again though, there are plenty of examples of that not being the case, if you play levels made by players. The level editor is available and relatively easy to use. I haven't had any breakthrough ideas yet, but I did try it out at least :P
In case you didn't know, this game had a pretty big update - again responding to the community and feedback - maybe a week after it released. This expanded the checkpoint system to set up 3 "gamemodes" - differing at whether or not you could use checkpoints (and fixing the main complaints surrounding around being able to hit a checkpoint while running from a guard!)
The whole top down perspective thing is cool, a virtual simulation basis is brought to life by a distinct art style and surprisingly subtle storytelling. Volume is gorgeous to look at, listen to, and overall just take in. The voice actors did a phenomenal job, the soundtrack is sublime, and the premise really makes the most of artistic concepts along the way.
Now, since this is Mike Bithell's next project after finishing Thomas Was Alone, obviously there will be comparisons drawn. But the thing is that Thomas's story was the drive of the gameplay in TWA. With Volume, things are much more game-y, meaning they are arguably a little less artsy in the process, but I don't see that as a bad thing. Volume's gameplay is what drives the plot. It's nothing exceptional, but it's exciting and fits the game perfectly. That's what I see as consistent between TWA and Volume, not that they are similar, but that they both have elements that fit well and balance out each other. Volume has an overarching tale, inspired by Robin Hood (how awesome is that?), of someone using simulators to inspire stealing. What I enjoyed was the uncertainty. There are tiny bits of backstory that are told gradually and form more of a setting than a plot line, meanwhile the main characters' actions are explored without straining the focus away from the fantastic gameplay. So for what it's worth, I still consider the story a huge positive. I'd almost argue that it's more impressive this way than Bithell's magnificent writing in his first game. Everything else in Volume is a step up, so I think a story that works with that well is a story worth praising.
Hope my 2 cents helps you decide if it's for you. The past few months really flew by for me, so when I noticed that there were 99 reviews I figured that Volume deserved me to bump that number up even if I couldn't do the best job explaining myself.
* Stealthy puzzling gameplay with some great original mechanics
* Refreshing light plot that is engaging and compliments the strong focus rather than overpowering it
* Replayability, gamemodes, scoreboards, and more, to go along with the driven community
* Growing game, feedback is considered and has helped make it better, as well as staff picked custom levels highlighted
* Interesting characters
* Well thought out art style, the OST is sublime, and between great VAs and writing, it's executed quite well
Traditional rating: Bugle/10
Final verdict: This game is definitely for me. If it sounds like I'm just singing endless praises, it's because quite possibly every aspect of this game is in line with what I love and enjoy. My goal was to give you an idea of that, but closing I'd just like to point to that it IS fully recommended
Because I really do recommend this game. It's well done and it stands out, I can see a wide variety of people enjoying it, and at the very least, you should give that a shot.
My biggest complaint of what's here is the ability for a player to cheese their way through a level, abusing the checkpoint system or the exit square to call something a win despite feeling like a clumsy mess.
Addictive and fun indie stealth game with great soundtrack and awesome voice overs by Andy Serkis. You are playing as a thief in a distant future, and you're stealing gems from rich and corrupt people. Isometric view helps you to plan your steps and react quickly to what is happening.
You have some simple tools that help you on your quest - you can throw sound decoys to distract your enemies or put 'oddities' on walls to keep them occupied and indifferent to sound. You can use the environment to your advantage as well - stick to low walls to avoid being seen, use doors to hide or sound traps to break enemy movement patterns and get out of tricky situations. Be aware that you cannot kill anybody and that it makes the game even more interesting and fun.
Graphics are interesting and intriguing as well, yet simple enough to allow the game to run smooth even on older PC's. Controls are convenient and intuitive - it's fun to play both on keyboard + mouse and gamepad. With 100 levels and level editor, Volume will keep you occupied for hours. It's definitely worth its price so don't hesitate and grab it - you won't regret it!
This was a superb game! You need to stealth-move your character around a world protected by guards. You have a few gadgets at your disposal or at times your trusty whistle. You can whistle at odd places, hide and wait for the guards to come, then run around those guards. Liked this game.
After level 40-50 around there are some laser traps that come in to the picture. They're horrible and **** and they completely ruined the game for me. I stopped playing a few levels after those piece of **** traps were introduced. But overall still a pretty fun game if you are okay to play it till around 50% of the mark. If you want to play it after that mark then you're going to be very very disappointed and frustrated.
An adequate but unexceptional top-down stealth game. You play Rob Loxley, a punnishly named spoiled rich kid who has found a Volume and is using it to FIGHT THE POWER of the government by starting up a video stream of him going through simulated environments and stealing from various places owned by Gisborne and his allies, a man who has conquered England via a coup and has a totalitarian regime which eliminates anyone who dares to defy him.
All in all, this is a pretty minimalist game; the levels aren’t too large, generally things you can beat in 5 minutes or less. There are 100 of them, and in total the game takes about six and a half hours to beat – or seven and a half to get all the achievements.
As the game is entirely composed of simulated environments, the game gets away with very simplistic graphics – but the levels do end up looking pretty samey after a while. There is some variation, but it is very minor, and ultimately there isn’t that much to look at here.
The upside is that the very clean graphics make it very clear exactly what is going on – everything in the game is very clearly marked, including vision zones of enemies, shadows you can hide in, places you can duck behind vs walls which totally block line of sight, hidey-holes you can hide in, ect.
Your goal in each level is to collect a number of floaty diamonds, representing… a wide variety of things. They use the same thing in every level, missing out on the opportunity for different mission objectives.
Instead, all of the variation comes in the form of the hazards you face in the levels. New hazards are introduced on a regular basis, and while there aren’t very many enemy types, the game still manages to mix things up with a variety of environmental hazards to contend with or things which can help you hide. There are also a variety of devices, ranging from a couple variants on enemy stunners, a cloaking device, a disguise which won’t hide you from dogs but will trick other enemies, footpads which prevent you from setting off noisy pressure plates and also allow you to run faster, and a couple of ranged noisemakers.
All in all, the levels present fairly reasonable challenges, and the game doesn’t feel overlong or overstay its welcome. That being said, there isn’t that much variation in the end, and the earlier portions of the game at times felt a bit samey and tedious as a result.
The story of the game is passable, but only about once every five to ten levels do you get any sort of voiceover conversation – it is fairly minimal in that regard after the early game, which is rather disappointing, especially as you approach the end of the game. There are a few greater things which are hinted at, but unfortunately a lot of these plot points – such as the “king” Gisborne claims to work for – don’t really end up going anywhere in the end. There are some vaguely interesting hints in some text clues hidden around the level, but they, too, ultimately don’t feel like they have much payoff in the end, and while the game has a cute twist ending, I saw it coming by the end and it ultimately leaves the story hanging as an obvious sequel hook. One of the biggest problems is that the protagonist is the least interesting character in the game; both Gisborne and Alan (the AI who runs the titular Volume you’re using to do your simulated heists) are more interesting characters, and ultimately there wasn’t much of an emotional payoff.
Ultimately, this is really the problem with the game as a whole – it is competent enough, but it is not EXCEPTIONAL in any way. It is basically a bunch of reasonably enjoyable top-down stealth puzzles, but in no way does the game really excel. It is just kind of average all the way through.
If you’re in the market for a top-down stealth game, this is about as good as The Marvelous Miss Take, with a much higher level of predictability (everything in this game is 100% predictable) but less style and variation than that game has. This has a slight edge over that game, which is perhaps too long for what it is, and is easier to just pick up and play, but while this game may be less frustrating, it has less variation, too.
In the end, I can’t say I regret my time with this game, but it is pretty run-of-the-mill.
SummaryRobert Locksley is a petty thief who happens upon a device known as "Volume". Originally intended to be utilized as part of a secret military coup, Robert now has the ability to simulate high-profile heists, so what does he choose to do? Broadcast these crimes over the internet. Make your way through this postmodern twist on Let's Play v...