Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa, Actions have consequences.

Living with a moral code is hard. It is nice to be nice, to follow a moral code, especially when it involves respect for others and life abo...

Living with a moral code is hard.
It is nice to be nice, to follow a moral code, especially when it involves respect for others and life above all else. Most of us strive to be kind, to care for others. So what does it take for someone to get to that point that they justify breaking their own code and take someone's life? To go vigilante, an eye for an eye? 

"For most human beings, it takes an awful lot to allow them to kill another human being,"  "The only way to do it is to justify the killing, to make the enemy look as evil as possible."         - Anthony Pratkanis psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

And that is exactly what happens in Hindsight 20/20, fear of the unknown and rumors cause the people of one kingdom to abandon their values and moral code and execute what they see as fair and just punishment to their own kind that get infected with a weird virus that turns people into monsters.

What is it?
Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa is an action RPG created by a small team of videogame veterans including BioWare and Sucker Punch veterans. In the game play the character Jehan who returns to his hometown of Champaner to make amends for his earlier mistakes only to find it ravaged by a virus and at war with a new nation and itself. Can you find a way to restore sanity while also redeeming yourself and deal with your fathers killing years earlier? Armed with the power to turn back time and make different decisions you try to reclaim your destiny as well as that of your people.
The decisions you make on the way will determine the ultimate outcome. Each action has a reaction and bares its own consequences.

The game takes place mostly over multiple stages, dungeons if you will, that are connected with a town hub, each area will present you with choices, fights and some light puzzle challenges along the way. There are multiple ways you play into the morality and choices in Hindsight 20/20. For a large part this includes combat. At every turn and often in mid combat you can decide to either be ruthless or merciful when you face your opponents. If you choose the former you equip a blood red sword and cut down everyone who dares stand before you leaving behind death and destruction. It is powerful and easier, but it does go against all your people stand for, or at least say they stand for.
If you choose the path of Merciful combat you will jump into the fray with a stun baton. Through a series of combo's and special attacks you whittle down the enemies moral until they give up and bow out of the fight.

Each combat technique comes with its own special attacks, a long-range attack and moves. Those special attacks as well as your long-range attacks are powered by something called shakti and once the meter is filled enough you can unleash this devastating attack as well as combine them lateral with ranged attacks and other combos. Defeat enough enemies and they release new shakti to collect as well as morale and health.

Choosing one style over the other will influence how the characters in the game feel about your, towns folk to enemies alike. Go on a murder spree and their tactics will be much more aggressive, Kill the wrong guy and the whole town might just go after you if you dare to show your face.

If you fight with honor people will respect you and thank you for upholding such great values, but leaving the wrong person alive might have devastating effect down the road. As the guardian of the grail told Indiana Jones "Choose, wisely"

Unfortunately the fighting system does not always feel that satisfying and could have used some more refining, for instance there is no real growth beyond unlocking 4 special attacks for each fighting style and even then, you can only equip one. And as a result you keep spamming the same moves over and over. When you play with the stun baton a lot of your special attacks rely on making a 6 hit combo. Easy enough when surrounded by a small platoon of attackers but impossible to do against a solo boss because the only way to get a 6 hit combo is by hitting multiple targets. This makes each boss fight less exciting than they could have been and many fights become a tedious dance of avoid, reflect and attack until their health bar or morale is depleted.

This is not to say that the combat is bad. Responsive controls, a Batman Arkham style targeting system and a satisfying attack can feel real fun when you pull them off. But that is also it's weak point. It feels there is more here, or there should at least. I would love to see it in future games.

Besides combat there is also the story part and choices you make through dialog. You can talk to a variety of towns folk, quest givers and even end stage bosses. They might give you a whole speech and you can disarm them with one simple answer, question or statement. Based on your action before you meet them, they might just seek a truce or surrender to you. Of course if your words in no way reflect your actions, they will likely dismiss you and fight you to the bitter end. It is interesting to see how this changes the story. In one area I decided to challenge the boss at the end to a fight, but the fight took too long, during the battle I heard a scream and it turns out that the person I was out to rescue died. I should have been faster. Each time I got closer to making it but failed. Until I decided to pick a 3rd option, the boss decided to leave me be and I was able to rescue my friend.
In certain areas the dialog portion felt emptier than I expected, especially on my first play through. I went along with it but at times my choices seem to not be really that different or relevant to the conversation at hand. However subsequent playthroughs revealed more especially when I made different choices on my journey.
And this is where the game grows in strength, once I completed my first journey I was presented with the results of my choices and how this unfolded in the world. Some good, some bad. But it left me wondering. What IF? As it bears out the gods offer you a chance to go back to the beginning and retake each step again, knowing what you know now, would do things differently?

So I tried again, but I changed too much, this ending seems worse. I changed my tactics again. This time one side of the conflict decided to commit a hate filled genocide. Clearly not the best choice either.
There are supposed to be 10 different endings and as I now know my way around the game I can finish each run through in a few hours. It is unclear to me still if there is a "perfect" ending but maybe next time I will make the right choices. maybe.

The overall look of the game is a bit of a mixed bag, with a custom engine and a unique art style, Hindsight 20/20 has a bit of an old school feel to it. There are some fun enemies and cool designed bosses. The main character Jehan looks great and it particular unique because of his disability of missing an arm. On some occasions this disability is pointed out throughout the game as well. Do you use it as an excuse or a motivator to do great things?
The colors are bright and some of the light effects are pleasing to the eye. In other areas the game looks not so good. Low textures, wooden animations and especially the town NPC's have an odd wooden doll look to them and some design choices had me puzzled. For instance, why are there cyborgs on wheels running around, they really feel like they came from a different and long forgotten game idea and somehow made it into this game. The cutscene compression was really bad and think they would have looked better if they were just run in the game engine.

A nice touch to gameplay is that you can change the difficulty at any time during the game and there is even a story mode, where you can get unlimited morale to help you get through the fight scenes if you are not that skilled of a gamer. Inclusion is always a great thing and I was happy to see this option included. Playing on PS5 their was also a nice use of the adaptive trigger which would become very difficult to press if you were low in Shakti energy, it is a nice way receiving tactile feedback about your status while playing.

Audio is an absolute highlight in this game, all the sound effects have great impact and satisfying to listen to and the soundtrack is masterful. From pumping battle music to bombastic epic music to accompany the deeper moments of the game, each note was a compliment to the game.

Parents advice
Hindsight 20/20 has a bit of a cartoonish look and resembles a bit of Knack and Spyro in some ways. However it has a good amount of violence and blood earning it a M rating. Personally I would have not put it in that category myself and see it as Teen rating instead. There is no cussing, no realistic gore and the fact that actions in the game have consequences could serve as a good teaching moment for some. As usual look into some gameplay footage yourself, be involved and form your own opinion.

Final Thoughts

Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of Raakshasa has been an interesting experience. When I started, I was not immediately sold on it and due to my personal taste was put off by some of the strange decisions, the graphics and art style. Yet I kept playing the game, and kept replaying it and found each time that I had an actual good time. Without fail. Something about it felt nostalgic. Even if by now, I know each puzzle, each location, trap and enemy wave, the drive to find that perfect ending is addictive enough to keep coming back to the game. What is very clear is how much the creators have poured their love in this project and really tried to tell their own unique story where your actions matter. Of course I wish there was more, more story, more dialog, more skills and combat. This is by no means a perfect game but if you do want to try a game that is smaller in scope, comes with big ambition and at a small price. Then Hindsight 20/20 might just be for you.

Game Information

Title: Hindsight 20/20: Wrath of the Raakshasa

Website: https://www.hindsight2020thegame.com/

Developer: Triple-I Games

Publisher: Triple-I Games

Release Date: September 9, 2021

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5

Review platform: PS5

Price at launch: $14.99

ESRB: M for Blood and Gore and Violence.

About the writer: DadGeek (Rob) is the co-founder of GeeksVsGeeks. He is a product of the eighties and never let go of his geek interest and hobbies no matter how often someone told him to stop. His love for gaming and all things geeks has been part of his parenting style and permeates throughout the whole family. A family of Geeks vs Geeks


xbox 6666103439608074704

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts with us.


- Navigation -