Video Game Analogue: A Hate Story (PC) (2012)

Analogue: A Hate Story (PC) (2012)

Overview: Board the Mugunhwa and talk to AI, Hyun-ae and Mute, in order to uncover the reason for the ship's demise.

Meet Hyun-ae.
Relevant Links:
Analogue: A Hate Story Website
Analogue: A Hate Story (Steam Store Page)
Analogue: A Hate Story (Wikipedia.org)

20160101 Early Evening:
Today I play my second visual novel - having played Magical Diary (PC) (2011) nearly one year ago as my first.

Small portions of the game take place through the Terminal.
In any case, the game started off slow, perhaps like most any book would. Then, like any good book, it began to pull me into the story. Next thing I knew, I was hooked and couldn't stop playing. This feeling immediately reminded me of To The Moon (PC) (2011), an RPG whose story absolutely captured my attention for nearly five straight hours.

Meet Mute. She's the "AI in charge of the Mugunghwa's securaty operations!"
Gameplay:
Sent to investigate a ship, you wake the computer system and meet an AI named Hyun-ae who assists you in searching through the system's log files. As you read through the files, ask the AI for her thoughts and she will sometimes unlock more files.


As the story non-linearly unfolds, you eventually meet a secondary AI named Mute and discover another face to the game's story.

First Impression:
While I would have probably played the game from start to finish, I interrupted the session to get ready to go out. But during this time, having uncovered about 40% of the files, I could not stop thinking about what else would be uncovered.

When the "Show message" section is a light blue, the AI has something new to share.
In particular, the AI Mute had immediately altered the story's pace and direction.

Game: 2.9 hours

20160101 Downtime:
During some downtime at a friend's place, I boot up the game to feed some of my thirst for knowledge. After the additional twenty or so minutes, I had uncovered 65% of the story's files.

Hyun-ae loves cosplay. This is her maid outfit.
20160102:
After arriving home, I immediately got settled and resumed the game (1:30AM). Then, one hour and forty-five minutes later, I completed the game for the first time with the second ending.

Note: At this point I had a mild idea of how to get the different endings, but had not delved into any deep research on the matter. In fact, I was much more interested in organically getting as much of the story in the first run as possible (94%).


This is Hyun-ae's scientist outfit.
With four other endings to obtain and 6% of the log files to uncover, I pushed on, using intermediate save files to speed up the process whenever possible.

Along the way, I thought it was possible to unlock 100% of the files in a single run by just talking to the AI, but apparently achieving 100% in a single run can only be done by using the document ID search box. In any case, this wild-goose chase probably consumed about two hours of game time.

One of the more steamy and "depraved" logs.
Overall, after a total of 8.1 hours, I managed to obtain all of the Steam achievements and happily fell asleep.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ The overall story is interesting.
+ Good character artwork


+ Five endings
+ Unlockable artwork

Neutral:
~ Some passages can be long and/or dry
~ Slow start, gets interesting after a couple of logs
~ Overtly contain viewpoints with which the player might not agree*

The player responds to the AI via binary inputs.
Minor Con:
- I can tell it takes work, but nevertheless I wished Hyun-ae got a couple extra outfits, and add an Easter Egg where Mute could also get some outfits. [Edit: Apparently there was an update where traditional and scientist outfits were updated for Hyun-ae]

*While I will typically play or role play a video game character using my real-life morals, I am not against answering in ways that are opposite my beliefs when it comes to a video game. If anything, a video game is the best time to say or do something out of one's real-life personality.


Recommendation:
Overall, this game is filled with drama and requires a fair about of reading. If that sounds even mildly appealing to you, then I would definitely recommend you play this game.

Personally, I didn't know what I was getting into, but ended up enjoying it and I'll probably look to play the direct sequel.

The first ending I unlocked!

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