Consortium ( 2014 )
Price: $9.99 on Steam and Gog (I picked it up for free on sale)
Publisher: Interdimensional Games Limited
Developer: Interdimensional Games Limited
Author’s Note: I had screenshots but they were misplaced.
Consortium was one of those games that I had seen on GOG.com for a long time and Steam for a short time. I wasn’t really ever too intrigued by it. I would rather explore an open world than the confines of a small aircraft the entire playthrough. I was recently browsing for new titels to play and I found this gem for free during a promo on GOG.com. I was finally willing to give it my time. I’m glad I did, as this game has great potential.
Now, notice how I didn’t say it was great. Consortium definitely has good writers, designers, engineers, on their all-star development team. I enjoyed the atmosphere in the game. You are a crew member on board a futuristic aircraft resembling a Boeing 787 Dreamliner and a C17 Globemaster’s offspring. The vessel is fast, and armed with peacekeeping tools such as point-defense laser beams and stun missiles. This plane is able to defeat F-35 fighter planes commanded by a rouge paramilitary group to shoot it down. This plane unfortunately sees its systems besieged by a virus.
The plot matches the atmosphere as well. The game breaks the fourth wall. The player character knows that he is in a video game much like Omikron: The Nomad Soul, so do some of the bad guys too as well, just like Omikron. The friendly non-player characters you can befriend, annoy, anger, and ignore thanks to verbal and non-verbal conversation options that are as good as Oxenfree’s. The conversations in this game, like Oxenfree’s can have irreversible consequences. Therefore, you should choose your words wisely, as you would in reality. The dialogue options give the player some reason to replay, but so far I’m not seeing one as I will explain later on in this post.
The characters in this game you’ll either love or hate. I found the Boyle twins to be annoying to say the least. Wade, the pilot was my favorite. They all have chess themed titles like: pawn, knight, bishop, or rook. The player character’s title is Bishop Six. The player will also encounter the King and Queen of The Consortium, which is the peacekeeping organization mentioned in the title which owns and operates this futuristic aircraft.
Consortium is a mixture of murder-mystery and thriller. The combat sequences that were present in the game were brief, yet entertaining. The investigative component needed some work. It would have been nice to see more clues for the player to interact with to solve the murder that occurs on board the aircraft. The inventory system is easy to manage, and the freedom with how to engage enemy combatants is clear and present. Overall, the conflicts are strong: you battle rogue paramilitaries, a computer virus, and you are hunting for an unknown perpetrator regarding the murder on board. In the sequel the player will battle radical Islamic terrorists in London.
Now, you’re probably asking why I didn’t love this game. Three problems I had with this game were this:
Constipated beginning: The Exposition in this game was long: conversation, after conversation felt chore like. Explain the plot in an ongoing segment that doesn’t hang up the player. Oxenfree is an excellent example of this.
Not enough investigation regarding the ‘mystery’ segment and not enough combat in the brief sequences that were present. As I stated earlier, the combat was good. The freedom to engage enemies with lethal force or less than lethal force was appreciated. And, as I said the investigation felt diluted with the lack of clues to examine. Interviewing subjects does help the process. Physical evidence though builds the investigator’s preparatory level to conduct an interview though.
Lastly, the game was brief! I was so excited to be airdropped and operate against enemy forces in a future European city to fight against the crimes of a radical Islamic Extremist group. But the airdrop is where part one ends and we wait for part two with some patience.
Again, Consortium was a fine game. Is it worth playing? Yes. Am I going to play it again? No. Will I play the sequel? Certainly. Buy Consortium on GOG.com or Steam.