GSY Review PC Switch

This summer has been particularly busy in terms of releases. Mostly on the indie scene it's true, but still. After our reviews of Ayo the Clowns, Unbound: Worlds Apart and Greak: Memories of Azur, we have one more to share today. Road 96 should now be available on PC and Nintendo Switch and we played the game on both systems. We only have a video of the PC version as we started reviewing the game on PC and then continued on Switch when we left for the second part of our summer vacation. This time we give you a much more detailed verdict than usual, and a much longer gameplay video too. You see, the game is divided in several episodes (but all are included in the game, it's not episodic) so we felt it would be easier to illustrate our words with a full walkthrough. Enjoy!

Verdict


In Road 96, you don't get to play one character only but a multitude of teenagers on the run. You see, their country Petria is apparently closer to a dictatorship than a democracy. With Tyrak as a leader, the country's youth is getting hopeless by the day, leaving those kids no other choice but to cross the border, or at least die trying. The teens you take control of have no real backstory and all you can really find out about them is whether or not they have the support of their family, should you decide to call them to give some news. Except for the first character you play as that you don't get to choose, you will always have to pick one among three possibilities, the only information about them being their energy status, the money they have in their pocket and the distance they need to travel in order to reach their goal. Crossing the border can be achieved in different manners, either hiding inside a truck, trusting a coyote with your money, trying your luck through underground tunnels or even taking the high road via the mountain's peak. Before that though, you will have to travel roughly 2,000 km through Petria. Sometimes you'll be driving a stolen car but hitchhiking is another option if you don't have the money to pay for the bus or a taxi. Managing your energy will be very important not to collapse (which will take you right to jail) so you'll need to eat, drink and sleep whenever possible. That's why you might need a bit of money, which can be acquired by doing people favors or by simply being lucky.

On your way to the border, you will meet many people. Some will be just as anonymous as you, but there is a total of eight special characters to encounter, each with their own backstory to discover: Zoe, John, Sonya, Fanny, Stan and Mitch, Alex and Jarod. And that's the game's main originality. The different teenagers you'll play will be empty shells you will fill when making specific decisions (will you support Tyrak's opponent Flores or the rebellious Black Brigades, or even the tyrant himself?) that will eventually affect the ending. However, instead of playing to learn more about who you are, you're actually playing to find out more about those eight characters. Being a story-driven kind of game, Road 96 isn't going to blow your mind with its deep gameplay mechanics of course, but to anyone who's into the genre, it's sort of a given and not really something worth debating anymore. There is a good number of mini-games to experience, with a good variety overall. You'll see some of them a bunch of times of course, but overall, they are pretty well-implemented in the narrative. Not all of them are easy to handle with a gamepad (let alone a Joy-Con), like the Shufflepuck Café mini-game for example, but they're not difficult in any way. The writing clearly is the main attraction here, as it is usually the case in narrative games, and we're happy to say it is good. It's very easy to get attached to the different protagonists and seeing that the voice of the people is indeed affected by our choices and actions is actually enough of an incentive to keep playing until Election Day, which marks the end of the adventure.

The procedural aspect in Road 96 either affects the order in which you'll play the different sequences but also the environment in which they will take place. Another consequence to that design is that no one will reach the end of the game after experiencing the same scenes. In our case, we only reached 100% completion with three of the eight characters we met, which is why a New Game + is proposed once you have completed your first playthrough. Reaching 100% with one of them means that you have seen everything there is to see about them and so that you know their whole story. If you're anything like us, you're most certainly going to want to discover everything about all of them. That being said, because we could play both the PC and Switch versions, we realized that whatever we choose to do in one scene doesn't always affect how it's going to play out. Although we haven't had time to complete our second playthrough yet, from what we've seen the New Game + doesn't only focus on the sequences we haven't seen which means it also includes those we already know. It is a bit unfortunate in the sense that not that many sequences can turn out differently depending on your actions. Technically, it won't come as a surprise that the Switch version should be much rougher around the edges, with more visible aliasing and pop-up issues, not to mention the framerate dips. It's still playable but it's a bit of a shame that there is no compatibility option with the touch screen. It would indeed make dialogue selection much more practical (even more so when your right Joy-Con drifts like crazy like ours). On PC, the experience is quite logically more polished visually and technically, as proven by our screenshots and gameplay video. Whatever the system we played the game on though, we must say that we truly love the game's cartoonish art style. Voice-acting appeared very solid to us and most of the OST too. French band Cocoon has written a song specifically for this game and we simply love it, but that's because we (I in fact) are into folk more than we (again, I) are into electronic music. The bottom line is that the different tracks are very much recognizable when you hear them outside of the game, which is usually a very good sign.

The question is now, should you or should you not play Road 96? Well, as usual it depends. Needless to say that all those who have nothing but contempt for "walking sims" shouldn't bother, but for all the others, there really is something in the atmosphere that makes the game worth checking out. That's why we decided to post such a long video, so you can truly see what the experience is all about and make your own decision. Sure, the topic of the game is very serious and dramatic, sensitive even, and somehow it might resonate in some people for many reasons, but more than a game with a political message, it's a game with strong characters where you will go from laughter to worry in a matter of minutes. A true narrative journey to experience should you decide to take that road.

  • On the upside
  • Endearing characters
  • Solid storytelling
  • Interesting way to approach the genre
  • Great atmosphere
  • Good variety of mini-games and situations
  • Excellent art style
  • The OST fits perfectly
  • On the downside
  • Some technical issues, especially on Switch
  • Most scenes end up in the same way no matter what you do
  • No tactile gameplay on Switch
  • A few pronoun mistakes at times

Gamersyde images (PC)

  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (PC)

Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)

  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
  • We reviewed Road 96 - Gamersyde images (Switch/Portable mode)
About the game
Platform
PC PS4 XBOXONE SWITCH XBSX PS5
Published by
Digixart Enterta...
Developed by
Digixart Enterta...
Patreon

$135 of $400 per month

What's up?
  • b0vril

    b0vril Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV (3 Weeks ago)

  • Loakum

    Loakum Biden is such a cognitively declined moron! 2024 can’t come quick enough to bott him out of office! His accomplices will be leaving this November! *takes a sip of grape juice to relax* (3 Weeks ago)

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    Tinks sounds about right (3 Weeks ago)

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    b0vril another step further into theocratic fascism for the US, another cowardly sip of boot juice for Loakum. (6 Weeks ago)

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    Loakum *takes a victorious sip of grape juice* what a Glorious Day, full of purpose. (6 Weeks ago)

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    nostradamus who is planning to do a fresh Dragon's Dogma run, arisens? (7 Weeks ago)

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    Driftwood Another (French) livestream today at 2:30 CEST but you're welcome to drop by and speak English. I will gladly answer in English when I get a chance to catch a breath. :) (> 3 Months ago)

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