Republique Remastered Episode 3: Ones and Zeroes review: no place to hide

Game Info
Platform Win, Mac, iOS, Android
Publisher Camouflaj
Developer Camouflaj
Release Date Feb 26, 2015

Republique Remastered is the ideal for what episodic games should be — not in the sense that it's the best episodic series ever released, but in that it actually changes, grows and improves with each new iteration.

The game's third episode, Ones and Zeroes, solidifies the stealth focus of the series while spinning its paranoid dystopia plot into exciting new directions. On top of that, the newly released Republique Remastered moves the whole experience to a much more suitable — if less meta-fictionally clever — platform.

[Editor's note: We have previously reviewed Republique Episode 1 and Episode 2 in their mobile/tablet iterations. The following review for Episode 3 and reviews of all subsequent episodes will focus on the new PC port.]

Republique Episode 3 solidifies the stealth focus of the series

At the end of the last episode, Republique protagonist Hope had seemingly been captured. As Episode 3 kicks off, you resume your role as Hope's mysterious hacker/protector and discover that she has escaped her captor ... somehow. Not only that, but she's closer than ever to the elevator that will take her out of the authoritarian underground society she was born into.

Between her and that freedom: an army of patrolling guards. Republique has largely avoided straightforward violence throughout, and Episode 3 continues that trend. However, Hope gets a few new tools, most notably the ability to see where guards are on the map and a weapon called "sleep mines" that swiftly knock out any guards that step on them.

Both of these tools build on Republique's clever stealth tendencies, which make each room a puzzle to solve. How do you sneak through this office with three armored thugs whose patrols intersect?

In one situation, I carefully followed patrols on the map, caused a telephone to ring to alter one guard's path, and watched him walk right into a sleep mine I had placed. The map ability makes planning these paths easier than ever by eliminating any uncertainty about whether a guard is hiding just out of view of your camera.

Republique Remastered Episode 3: Ones and Zeroes review a 1280

a new home

If Republique Episode 3 has the most thoughtful gameplay and plot of the series so far, the new Remastered version for PC also handily provides the best visuals as well. Far from a mere up-rezzed look, Republique on PC features much more detailed environments and character models. It's still clearly targeting playability on lower-end hardware, but you're not going to mistake this for a phone game while playing.

If anything, playing Republique Remastered makes me frustrated that the series didn't start out on PC. Camouflaj set out to prove that a great, hardcore game could work on mobile platforms. Now with the series over half-done, the audience that could most appreciate Republique may have already passed it by. Here's hoping that's not the case, because this is some of the most entertaining and clever dystopian fiction ever realized in game form.

deciphering the wheres and hows of Republique's world is part of the puzzle

As in previous episodes, part of the draw is not just overcoming guards but pickpocketing them and actively digging into their private information. Republique Episode 3 takes this invasion of privacy to another level. In order to clear her way to the exit, Hope must remove multiple guards by looking through their personal history and crafting propaganda news reports that frame them.

Once you've found all the dirt you can on each guard, you have to choose an incriminating photo and a tidbit of recorded audio taken out of context that will make them seem guilty. Call it fighting fire with fire, but Hope is understandably uncomfortable with this task. It's one of the most interesting parts of the game so far, something that takes the obsessive collectibles and backstory all over Republique and attaches a fascinating gameplay hook to it.

These segments also provide a wider view of the world outside Republique's underground empire. As I learned about the past of several characters, I started to piece together the time frame for the game and even entertained some ideas about where in the world it takes place. Developer Camouflaj has made it clear that all of this is taking place in a recognizable modern world, but it has wisely made deciphering the wheres and hows of that world part of the game's overall puzzle.

Wrap Up:

Republique continues to impress with its willingness to grow from episode to episode

While Ones and Zeroes doesn't completely change the formula for Republique, I continue to be impressed by Camouflaj's willingness to add mechanics and expand the game with each new episode. The series has grown from a scrappy stealth contender into what increasingly feels like an essential exploration of video game dystopias. If you were still on the fence, it's time to catch up.

Republique Remastered Episode 3: Ones and Zeroes was reviewed using a final Steam download code provided by Camouflaj. You can read more about Polygon's ethics policy here.

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