Republique follows the story of Hope, a girl who is trying to escape a facility run by Orwellian authorities that we know instantly are a danger to her.
Luckily for Hope, she has some help in her efforts to escape; you as a disembodied entity. You inhabit the world by taking control of the security cameras are positioned so they can cover every square inch of Hope’s world. Your goal is to use your ability to jump from one camera to the next to help determine safe paths for Hope to travel past security guards and other threats, hack computer terminals, lock doors and flip switches to help her get around the facility and avoid recapture.
This basic set up is a really clever way nod and subversion of the panopticon-style use of surveillance that is a common theme to all dystopian narratives. Where most examples of the genre make something sinister out of the surveillance, constructing them as a dehumanising force that moderates a person’s behaviour based on the assumption that they are under constant scrutiny, in Republique, those same cameras are emblematic of resistance and rebellion. They way they are used in the game is an ally and source of comfort to Hope. This is a really clever twist on the genre, and more impressively is that it’s not there just as a gimmick; the developers have subverted the genre tradition in a way that makes it integral to the gameplay itself.
On PlayStation 4, you have direct control over Hope. It loses some of the thematic strength as a result, but as I’ve already observed, it’s still a compelling vision of a dystopia, and now it’s better to actually play. Hope still has the occasional issue with context; she’ll jump out of cover when you actually wanted her to stick to it like jelly, but for the most part Republique plays near-perfectly on the PlayStation 4, and it’s rare indeed that Hope would run into trouble thanks to wayward controls.
Republique is also utterly beautiful, and coming to the PlayStation 4 as a complete package, rather than the chapter structure it adopted for the iPad release, is greatly welcome. This way, it is a complete package, this game is a chunky, lengthy experience that will last you for quite some time to come.