My first game of We should Talk,was one of confusion. Things start off each time whilst standing at the bar,and a very warm conversation with a female bartender. What’s soon apparent,is that the bartender likes you very much.So much so,she is willing to try something physical with you,once her shift is over.(Strange start!)
Then your phone text blurts into life,and it’s soon clear that you are in a current relationship with a person who works as a teacher,wants you back home and not spending all your time out at the bar,and really wants to talk about their past relationship,their day at work,what you feel about the relationship etc…
This bar,phone,bar,phone kind of “stages” setup is clearly running throughout this game,as you soon hang up the phone,meet a guy who thinks you are his online date,get another text alert from your present squeeze(again) and then bump into your ex partner at the bar.A guy called Dante (not from Capcom!)
Then something hit me,and I reeled back from my console…
With my main character not really in full display and generally appearing cutoff and standing at the edge of the screen…who the hell am I ? a Man or a Woman ?
Things didn’t improve,from pausing my Switch the day before,and resuming my game to be greeted by rolling end credits !? What happened here exactly? The conversation was still free flowing from what I remember and there certainly wasn’t any fallout at the bar or on my text messages,but the game had clearly ended,so what had I done?
A restart was met with a bit of disappointment. Expecting random generation,I was greeted by the bartender again,had the same conversation,proposition and then the phone text messages again.
Just then,I sighted something that put the whole game into view with some sort of clarity,just left of my characters smallish frame…I saw a gender distinguishing body part !
Yes,it’s distinctly something slightly protruding from the main character chest area and at least I could digest my previous playthrough and put it into some sort of perspective..
“So the bartender wants a same sex fling. Dante is not my ex gay lover yet my present relationship is still not completely clear with teacher Sam (which could be Samson,Samuel,Samia or Samantha even!)”
Welcome to We should Talk (or maybe not,if you’re easily confused!) A narrative infused date sim,where the objective is to make your relationship last the night,whilst instead of going home and sorting it there,you decide to make things decidedly more trickier by staying out in a bar all night !
Of course,that’s the premise of the game.All around is temptation to stray and plenty of phone text that can get tedious quickly enough,to make you scream and possibly text dump right away..
There’s plenty of conversation from the in-game characters you meet,and you answer entirely through the game by positioning relevant pieces of sentences together in a 3 part roller system,rather similar to a fruit machine.
It’s an easy system that may seem like there’s plenty of variation and choice in how you want to answer back or how you would like to change the direction of the conversation in hand.
What soon becomes apparent is that at certain points of the conversation,there’s only 3 or 4 variations of each part of an answer. For example,I’m asked at the very beginning “what would you like to drink?” After rolling through the different variations of drink on the text reply roller (some brands I hadn’t heard of) I was really forced into either asking for “a gin in a straight glass or five separate glasses!?” with no real reason or purpose,as to why I wanted it other than recognising it from the options on offer. The same with conversations and what you might think is an extensive range of possible replies,suddenly reveals itself as something far more restrictive,and most times..rather tedious!
A guy hitting on you and you want to abruptly tell them where to go? Don’t count on it ! Abrasive and negative attitude answers might only lead you to carry on a conversation you don’t really want,whilst positively interested responses seem to get cut off short !? This may appear to you to seem all kind of picky and a bit harsh,but recently coming from playing another narrative game Night Call,where the multiple reply options kept conversations feeling natural and smooth flowing..Here,it all feels rather odd and strangely off !
From a visual point of view,the characters look decidedly strange in the face and appear quite blocky in build.There’s various colourful backgrounds lit up with neon at various bar angles but certainly not enough areas to feel any kind of freedom other than feeling things are rather limited,and strangely claustrophobic in a bar venue that’s mainly almost empty.
From the audio side though,things are much better. A great playlist of vibrant and catchy pop tunes with vocal,play throughout the game.A welcomed fresh tonic (without the gin!) that immediately takes you away from any in game stagnancy you may feel and at least lifts the spirits and gives a welcome degree of freshness.
Overall though,there’s simply not enough here to warrant repeated visits or indeed,a main goal that’s appealing enough to hold your interest. I really like the relationship type sims,where you can experiment and see where situations lead. The psychological pros and cons and the dilemmas they can possible cause.
Here though,everything seems abrupt and too cold and clinical with the emphasis on your phone conversations pretty much drowning out the other aspects and liaisons with other characters.
Lack of description about the main game and very little description on the characters led to my first playthrough confusion,because there is very little depth and background to work on,with blind dates as seemingly as blind as you can get !
Yes,it can be mildly fun as curiosity and inquisition stirs at the start,but it’s soon,really short lived when it grates far sooner than expected. Repeatedly going through the same lines of text,with the same people in the same places and the only real desire and talking you want to do..is with a taxi driver on the way back!
A distinctly sober attempt that doesn’t raise the bar..
Thanks to Whitehorn Digital / Insatiable Cycle for the code.