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Hacker Evolution: Untold

Score: 94%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: exosyphen studios
Developer: exosyphen studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Themed/ Simulation

Graphics & Sound:

I have mentioned before that when I really like an original game, I am extremely leery of the sequel. When I played Hacker Evolution, I knew they had made a great game. Then I was extremely pleased with their progress in Hacker Evolution: Reinsertion. It was everything that I had liked about the original, just with more filling. Now they've released their latest creation, Hacker Evolution: Untold, and I was again both extremely excited and a little apprehensive.

The game looks exactly the same and one hundred times better. How can that be? Allow me a moment. Save the brilliant green background, all of your HUD elements look the same. The information is presented to you in the same manner as each of the previous iterations, but the difference is in the Visual map section. There have been many improvements to the feel of the game by adding improved visuals.

I said don't mess with the sound, and they didn't. I don't know why, but techno trance just fits in so nicely into the feeling of the game. With such a simple look, it is actually really cool to have such a huge immersion effect from just the soundtrack alone.


Gameplay:

In Hacker Evolution: Untold, you assume the role of Brian Spencer. Through your exploits, you find that the very software you created is behind the fall of mankind. Now that machines have become sentient, they label you a threat, and now you must absolve yourself of a crime you didn't commit. It is a race to expose the program before machines take over, or before you are tried for the crime you didn't commit.

At its most basic level, the game can be explained as: find servers, hack servers, then loot servers. If it was this simplistic in practice, I would not be screaming for you to get this game as much as I am. There are over 20 commands that you will need to be accustomed to using. You may want to take a minute to read the user's manual that will accompany the download to familiarize yourself with them. You can always type "/help," if you need a quick refresher on the available commands.

All of the interface elements are still the same as before. If you haven't had the opportunity to try the other games, it breaks into four main areas of information. The first is the map. Servers you have found will appear on the map in their respective locations. You will also find the diagrams for the building you are trying to infiltrate. Second is your console. Here, you will enter the hacks necessary to bring down the machines before they bring you down. Your message window will display your incoming messages and point you in the right direction. Your computer status window shows you the capabilities of your computer. These can still be upgraded as you go along. There is a nice Neural Link that is expensive, but doubles your machine's current abilities. And, last is your status of money and the most important commodity in the game, trace.

Every time you crack and decrypt a server, the security on the other side has time to try and track you down. Being traced is a hacker's worst nightmare. Your trace is calculated in percentages. Reach 100% and you have been found and the level is over. There are ways to lower it and precautions to take in order to lessen it. You will learn these tricks quickly, that is, if you wish to survive.


Difficulty:

The original titles were difficult for sure. Hacker Evolution: Untold is harder. Once you get the process down, you begin to get into the flow of the game and it becomes easier. I got a little cocky this time around, since I can call myself a veteran to the series by now. I toggled on the Dynamic Difficulty setting in the Options Menu, and the game treated me like a toy. There is so much more in every layer of servers and their security when you do this. You have to take even more care to make sure your trace levels are manageable. The better you do, the harder it gets. Even with all of the added depth and difficulty, it is still the ease of entry and the fact that this game is not about actually knowing how to do console scripting or real hacking. With the simple console commands and the well-designed story and missions from there, it is all a matter of the fact that you have missed an obvious clue or security level.

Game Mechanics:

The mechanics of Hacker Evolution: Untold are identical to the other iterations, so I tried to spend a great deal of time in the editor. The great folks over at exosyphen have always encouraged and supported the modding community. They provide a very easy to use editor, as well as the ability to purchase the straight source code if you have the chops to make use of it. I preferred the editor because after all, the point of the game is that illusion of being an almighty hacker. Kind of kills the illusion when you're looking at lines of code, Mountain Dew in hand, and don't really know what to do. My hat is off to those of you that can push code for real. The editor allowed all of the functionality it takes to be able to create very well told stories.

Players, if you're looking for a tool to be able to prove you can tell stories in games, again without all the pesky need of being able to code, this is a great tool. I had a slight issue when I first tried the editor in a heavily secured machine. But, it was an issue that was solved with a lot of time and tweaking of the security options on my machine.

It has become important to me recently to look at how I like to experience games. Or, more importantly, how I would like to experience games for their maximum effect. I would say that Hacker Evolution: Untold needs to be played in the dark, with your headphones on, with cold Mountain Dews within reach. If you could pull off the Cheetos fingerprints on the keyboard, it would be a plus. I am thinking of the scene from Live Free or Die Hard. If you could just recreate Kevin Smith's character's room in the basement, then you have it.

This is a no-brainer. If you liked the original games, get this one.. They just keep upping the stakes. If you like an actual intellectual challenge, get this game. If you just want a good tool to prove you can tell a story, get this game. If you have the recreation of Kevin Smith's basement from the movie, chances are you already have the game, so get a copy for a friend.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:



Any PC running Windows XP or Vista, 1 Ghz or faster CPU, 512 MB of RAM memory, DirectX 9 drivers
 

Test System:



Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Microsoft Xbox 360 Meteos Wars Nintendo DS Winx Club: Mission Enchantrix

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated