Fragments of Him PS4 Review

October 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Features, PS4, Reviews

Publisher: Sassybot Studios  Developer: Sassybot Studios Genre: Adventure  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 16+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One


THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Fragments of Him is a narrative-driven game and follows the story of Will, a bisexual man who tragically dies in a car collision, the story exploring the after-effects on three of the main people in his life; his grandma, his ex-girlfriend, and his boyfriend, who he was seeing at the time of the crash.

You’ll be doing a lot of clicking and not much else. Anything highlighted can be interacted with.

You follow each of the main four characters as they take you on a journey through different stages of Will’s life – his Grandma speaks about his parents, what he was like as a child, and her struggles with coming to terms with his sexuality, and also a falling out that leads to the pair not speaking for numerous years.

Will’s ex-girlfriend, Sarah, speaks about how it felt joining Winchester University, meeting Will, their love, and how her decision to allow Will to explore his sexuality affected her; and Will’s current boyfriend, Harry, explores the aftermath of Wills death, how it feels to lose someone, eventually accepting what has happened and moving on.

Will himself has a role, exploring his future options with Harry and the lead-up to the crash, how you should learn to appreciate the small things in life, and talks about routines and patterns of everyday life.

Your role in the game, as third person in a first person perspective, basically sees you clicking on areas of the screen to move a character onward, clicking on objects to unveil more of the story, or to make objects disappear or reappear.

Gameplay-wise, it can feel very dull. Now and again you’ll be given the option to choose where to place an item that will have an impact on the story, and at times you can choose your answers during conversations that characters have together, but the emphasis on clicking your surroundings does become very repetitive. Exploration isn’t really encouraged either, as there’s not much for you to do outside of progressing the story, and the environments aren’t exactly the most interesting to look at.

The art style used in the game can come across as very lazy, with not much detail to anything. Characters themselves are mere models, with basic clothing and textures, and not much in the way of facial features either. During some scenes, you would expect the characters to have a change of clothes, but they wear the same outfit throughout (I found it quite amusing when I looked in the gap through the door of a cupboard in Sarah’s dorm room, and the clothes hanging up were all the same!).

Colour is used sparingly in the game, though mostly you’ll remember the bland palette.

The game can also feel very bland, with everything having a greyish-beige palette to it that doesn’t change much throughout. Of course, the theme of the game is exploring death, and that’s not exactly a subject you would attribute bright colours with. Still, some added colour towards the end of the game, to signal that the people in Will’s life are moving on, would have made the game that slightly bit more special. Extra tiny details always help to propel a game from average to something that looks like effort was put into it, but here everything feels very basic.

Whilst the story does have some focus on Will’s death, there is a lot of focus about his sexuality. Sarah talks about her decision to allow Will to explore his sexuality with Harry; you see Harry and Will’s relationship developing through Sarah’s story, and Will’s Grandma speaks about his ‘decisions’, about him having to fit in if he’s to get anywhere in life. They also argue over a conversation about Princess Diana, the Grandma disagreeing with Will’s opinion about he Princess being bulled into a lot, and the mention of Princess Diana made me think that perhaps there could be some sort of homoerotic fan fiction at the core of all of this, considering the main character WILL is dating HARRY.

The story is very syrupy, with everyone speaking as though they have lost an idol, the glue that kept them all together – the stories come across as though the three main characters had a very strange, co-dependant relationship with Will, and that they are all struggling without him. This is extra curious for Sarah; at the point when she is looking back on her time with Will, it’s now two years later and it seems she still hasn’t quite got over him (despite saying she has).

For the most part, Fragments of Him is a game that didn’t do much to keep me invested. I did complete the game, but instead of becoming invested in an emotional story, I found myself nitpicking at the plot; the ending is probably the most effective part, but there are points in the story that can feel very questionable. The setting feels very down to earth, and the characters feel like real people, the voice acting passable enough, but the story itself can feel very pretentious.

The most effective part of the story is Harry’s part, as he comes to terms with what has happened.

Even though the game only lasts for around two and a half hours or so, the clicking that you have to do starts feeling very repetitive and monotonous after awhile. Gameplay elements also sometimes feels tacked on to add some variation and longevity; at one point you even replay one of the scenes in its entirety, which feels especially tacked on and pointless as you learn nothing new.

One of the developers, Mata Haggis, seemed to make a big deal about the game having multiple choices, and the way the story would branch off ‘a little’ based on those choices, but ‘a little’ is a big understatement here. The story has been given a lot of emphasis, though that isn’t enough to recommend a play through at the current price. At least with walking simulators you generally have a beautiful graphics to accompany the story, though here there’s not much to offer and the price, at £7.99, is a little steep.


4/10


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