By the time developer Camouflaj was done with Episode 3 of its stealth series Republique last year, it knew that it had more or less reached the limit of the core stealth gameplay's potential. Helping protagonist Hope sneak through a shady, militaristic, totalitarian facility was fun, but there wasn't much more to be done with it. But there were still two episodes planned for the game, episodes where the developer decided it had to shake things up.
After over a year of waiting, Republique Episode 4: God's Acre is almost here. Sure enough, it's bringing some gigantic changes to the formula. Some minor spoilers for Republique up to this point will follow.
The most immediately noticeable change in Republique Episode 4 is that Hope is now on the surface. While previous episodes got a lot of mileage out of the squeaky clean underground base, this one features a grimier above-ground setting, with lightning and constantly pouring rain to help set the atmosphere.
Instead of avoiding a small army of guards, Hope has a single enemy to dodge in God's Acre: a creepy, bearded groundskeeper with multiple personalities. This imposing foe smashes through windows and suddenly appears climbing through hedges, lending the episode almost more of a survival horror feel.
And unlike in previous episodes, Hope carries no weapons or tools; she's unable to incapacitate or knock out this particular bad guy. She must stay in hiding the whole time.
Finally, if you happen to play Republique Episode 4 on the upcoming PlayStation 4 port of the game, as we did in the video above, there's one other huge update: You control Hope directly. In managing the transition from touch-based devices to playing with a controller, Camouflaj decided it felt best to give players full control over the main character. This change will, of course, stretch back to previous episodes of the game when played on PlayStation 4 as well.
Republique Episode 4: God's Acre will release for Windows PC, iOS and Android on Dec. 17. Camouflaj says it has worked on Episode 4 and the game's finale, Episode 5, concurrently. As such, there shouldn't be a long wait between the release of final two chapters of Republique.
The PlayStation 4 version of Republique will launch in early 2016 as a single, full game with all five episodes included. You can read Polygon's review of Republique Remastered Episode 3 here.