Liberated: Enhanced Edition
Liberated’s Enhanced Edition Comes With Bonus Content
Video games are not only meant to be a form of entertainment but it’s also a form of art, using the medium as a tool to tell a story. Games like Liberated: Enhanced Edition, allows players to put themselves in a perspective that feels more like a passion project than something meant to be enjoyed. It sounds like an oxymoron to play a video game that you don’t actually “play” for enjoyment, but Liberated plays itself more like an interactive novel than anything the player has any major control over.
From the presentation alone, the story is told through various panels in a black and white noir comic, featuring fully-voiced dialogue that helps break the monotony by a considerable margin. If Liberated's “Enhanced Edition” included voiced dialogue, I literally cannot imagine this game without it because it can become a drag simply reading the text itself. It’s not uncommon to sit between ten minutes reading cutscenes waiting for 15 minutes of gameplay only for the cycle to continue.
Liberated Is An Interactive Comic Book
While not an RPG by any means, Liberated: Enhanced Edition is a heavily story-intensive game meant to emulate a comic book. You occasionally control the main character between panels as he traverses through the environments, including making his way to a train on time. The gameplay is entirely in 2D, using a weird targeting system involving the right analog stick that acts as the gun’s aim. Aiming the gun is a bit difficult when it comes to lining up shots, making headshots useless as it’s much faster to just point in a general direction and start spraying even if the headshot is an instant kill. Moving targets like flying drones are just as annoying because the aiming needs to be precise.
In scenarios where you don’t directly control the main character, the player must use button prompts to progress through the scene which is as simple as “Press X before time runs out” and failure is a slap on the wrist. That was the main thing with Liberated: Enhanced Edition, as any “death” was nothing more than just an opportunity to try again. The game didn’t hold your hand, but it didn’t penalize you for dying or missing a button prompt. I’d try as much as I could to deliberately fail only to be disappointed when nothing unique happened aside from restarting to a previous checkpoint.
An Impressive Artistic Game Without The Gameplay
The graphics are consistent, keeping the black and white noir theme mixed in with some comic effect flair including “BLAM” and “ARGH” in bold letters whenever contact is made. It’s otherwise very dull, but it was intentional as a stylistic choice so it’s something I can respect for the most part. I do wish that there were other colors besides black, white, and shades of grey, however, but artistic decisions and all of that.
Liberated's story takes the role of a hacker who joins up with a group of anarchists known as The Liberated. Taking place in a dystopian cyberpunk-influenced future, the group aims to “free the masses from the tyranny of big brother” or something like that which feels all too familiar with players used to the source material. It’s a story told many times over, but the comic book aesthetics makes it interesting, giving off a Comix Zone vibe. I almost wish more games took this approach as I feel it’s a cool aesthetic. Unfortunately, as I’ve said several times, it didn’t feel like a game but more like an “interactive movie in comic form.”
Liberated's Physical Edition Is Done Courtesy Of Our Friends At VGNY
The Switch version is released on physical copies exclusively through VGNY Soft, similar to Tanuki Justice, with only 5000 made. This makes Liberated: Enhanced Edition a collector’s item for Switch owners. The premise alone is enough for video games historians to make videos on a decade later when it comes to “niche Switch titles that no one played” or something like that. One thing about the packaging was that there wasn’t an ESRB rating and I quickly found out that it was because it used the PEGI rating instead. A European copy published by an American publisher is an amusing thing to notice, but it’s still an interesting detail to note.
Liberated Enhanced Edition was also released on Steam, which I feel it may just play better on PC due to load times and the graphics being more profound over the low-fidelity of the Switch. Maybe the portability of the Switch can give the illusion of the player reading a comic on a handheld, but ultimately once the smoke and mirrors are gone, it was an average yet ambitious experience.
Liberated: Enhanced Edition is available on the Switch.