Developer Ultra Ultra reinvigorates gameplay in a time when so many hit games are basically clones of each other and not all that inventive. The only clones here are those that are exact copies of you, as you control the main character, En, through a planet-wide palace that has been awaiting humankind for a very long time. After landing on this planet and making her way into the palace, En is accompanied only by the computer navigation and information system she brought with her.
The first moments of ECHO are more of a storyline setup than actual action. We get to know a little bit of backstory and soon, the attention gets shifted to this mysterious palace that is in pristine condition and seemingly goes on forever. After all of the setup, En begins to encounter beings. At first, these being are simply crawling around, but it doesnít take that long until they are standing and in pursuit of our heroine.
While navigating the palace corridors, eventually there are weird digital copies of En made whenever she interacts with the environment. Strangely, the lights go out every once in a while in the palace as well. After some careful thought, En theorizes that the palace is rebooting itself during these blackouts. Soon enough, she has a realization that the copies of her interactions are actually driving the artificial intelligence of the beings walking the halls to protect the palace. Those beings, called Echoes, are actually clones of En herself and they learn from your actions, which makes the gameplay of ECHO very interesting.
While navigating toward your destination waypoints, the Echoes actually reboot with the palace system and the copies of your interactions from the previous session are uploaded to the Echoes. Basically, everything you do between blackouts is remembered and used against you. For example, if you decide to sprint, the Echoes get faster. If you use a lot of stealth, they get more deceptive. If you pull out your gun to take them down, the bullets will fly in your direction after the next blackout.
This gameplay almost seems gimmicky on the surface and you may very well be thinking that as you read this. But rest assured, aside from some of the more humdrum moments in the beginning, this mechanic is developed with an outstanding outlook for how you will play the game, and balances things very well. I found myself extremely frustrated at times with the game, but that frustration acted as fuel for my passion to get past the section, regardless of how long I felt stuck. ECHO set out to create a learning A.I. system and it succeeded.