Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2, immersion in cyberpunk Berlin

Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2, immersion in cyberpunk Berlin

Shadow of Conspiracy

It didn't make much noise, but Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 remained one of the most interesting projects among the absolute novelties presented during Gamescom 2021, so let's go back to the topic trying to put together some fragments of information that emerged in these months on the game in question. We have to talk about it conditionally because in these cases not only is the information scarce, but there is always the possibility that the project does not even take on a definitive form given the ambition behind the game and the small size of the team, in addition to the fact of based on a relatively new tool like Unreal Engine 5, but Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 should be a stealth action RPG that alternates first and third person within a decidedly cyberpunk-style setting, but centered on a little city treated in this sense, that is Berlin.

Even this European touch can represent an element of additional interest for the game, although obviously the chosen style tends to transfigure everything in the classic imaginary made of leaden sky, constant rain and gray and sad mega-structures. And these are the elements that stand out in full in the "pre-alpha" gameplay video released the last time Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 showed itself, with what appears to be a real game section, even if it is difficult to understand how much is built ad hoc as a technical demo and how much is part of the actual gameplay. In short, we must try to balance a little the wonder arising from the few minutes of video because the title seen in this way seems too ambitious for an indie team looking for publishers, but what has been shown so far is certainly very interesting.

The Berlin of the future

Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2, an image from the gameplay video with the Berlin tower The choice of the German capital is undoubtedly appropriate and not only because it is the hometown of the team in question: the great Central European metropolis, outside the typical American or Japanese locations, is perhaps the one that can best marry with the future designed by William Gibson, Philip K. Dick and Syd Mead, among others, although his image in this fictional 2087 is obviously very different from what one might expect. However, already in the few minutes shown some typical architectural features emerge, which in some way refer to the Berlin landmarks: the Fernsehturm, or the TV Tower and the Brandenburg Gate immersed in the gloomy and dystopian atmosphere, suggesting interesting mergers between ancient and modern able to further characterize a setting that otherwise risks being too classically cyberpunk.

Berlin is a sort of stronghold of ultra-technological civilization, surrounded by walls that separate it from external devastation but which internally hides a rampant corruption in its ruthless social hierarchy. In the role of Nolan, a special agent of the Police, we find ourselves having to investigate the mysterious murder of our boss and the disappearance of a girl, trying to match the various pieces of an increasingly intricate and disturbing puzzle, which seems to dig deep. in the darkest shady areas of the city. Discovering the conspiracy behind the dramatic initial events, we find ourselves immersed in a dramatic and engaging story about guilt, love, friendship, sacrifice and betrayal, at least as reported by the developers.

Stealth action RPG

Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 presents itself as an action RPG that goes from first to third person The gameplay parts shown at Gamescom 2021 tend to be somewhat stealth action, but Shadow of Conspiracy is also presented as an action RPG, so it is assumed that these other aspects emerge at different times of the game. The video released a few months ago, although certainly provisional and linked to a pre-alpha version that will likely undergo profound changes, shows a setting that is rather more reminiscent of Splinter Cell than a classic RPG, with a strong insistence on ' tactical and silent action but which probably also leaves room for a much more action and bold approach, depending on the personal tendencies of the player and the situations in which he finds himself. In the video, Nolan deals with a series of armored guards, evidently cybernetic, inside an open industrial structure but with ample coverage.

According to the classic stylistic features of the stealth genre, it is possible to eliminate silently attack enemies with melee from behind, thus avoiding making noise and alarming the other guards, or resorting to their destructive arsenal and starting a massacre on a large scale, which is inevitable in some more open sections and with the involvement of weapons and heavy vehicles.

Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 can switch to the third person view Interesting the fact that the game allows you to switch at any time from the first to the third person, thus giving the possibility to choose between a more immersed view to a more tactical, able to better understand the functioning of the covers and have a broader view of what is happening around.

What remains somewhat mysterious, in all this, is the RPG component: in the gameplay there are no elements that can refer to the genre in question, beyond the collection of experience points that appears at the end of the kills and a radial interface that seems to involve the use of many weapons and special equipment to face the missions in different ways . Elysium promises an intense narrative and the presence of moral choices capable of influencing the development of the story, so we can expect more properly role-playing elements once the gameplay is built more solidly: exploration, dialogues and interrogations should be among the founding elements of the game, in addition to the more properly stealth action phases.

The wonders of Unreal Engine 5

Lens flare and reflections are the order of the day in Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 is rigorously built on Unreal Engine 5 and the graphics for this have a notable next gen impact, due to the polygonal complexity of the structures, the quality of the textures and the truly remarkable lighting effects, motion blur and refraction. The design of the exteriors seen so far does not really shine for originality but falls precisely within the canon of cyberpunk, with a very "industrial" interpretation that closely recalls the views of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, not for nothing cited as sources of main inspiration, even if less colorful. The mixture with the classic architectural elements of Berlin, as we said before, could also provide some very interesting ideas for the world building of the game, so we are very curious to see a more complete and advanced version to understand how far they intend to go. the developers.

Net of some uncertainty in the animations and in the modeling of the characters, the gameplay staged is technically promising, but the thing that most intrigues is the final part of the video, which reveals a considerable breadth of the setting when the protagonist gets on board a flying machine and also among the huge buildings of Berlin in the pouring rain.

The sequences flying over the city are particularly spectacular in Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2 The sequence still closely resembles Blade Runner and opens up very interesting perspectives in terms of freedom of movement and exploration, all too much: may it be possible moving freely within a city of this size seems almost impossible, considering the work that would require a correct and extensive implementation of free flight in the open setting, so let's keep our feet on the ground and take it all as a display of technology through the demo, but the idea is still fascinating, given that it is a project built thinking exclusively of the next gen, that is PS5 and Xbox Series X | S, in addition to PC.

We remain cautiously confident towards of Shadow of Conspiracy: Section 2, on the one hand trying to calibrate expectations on the actual possibilities of realizing such an ambitious project by a tea m small and still under construction, on the other hand, however, positively evaluating some interesting ideas such as the choice of the Berlin setting and the technological system at the base of the whole, waiting to be able to see all the more properly RPG elements that should be included in the game .

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