Planetary Quarantine


#1

So, has anyone else given this a spin? I do like the game quite a bit, even if there’s an odd “vagueness” about it. One thing I am wondering is just how many endings/splits there are in the story, since I’ve noticed at least 3-4 of them.


#2

I haven’t finished yet, but so far I like it. The story seems to be pretty long, the choices are meaningful and the writing is really good.

The things that I think could improve, though, are that the choices are both too far between and not enough (many times we’re only given two.) I also agree with the vagueness of the story at times.


#3

(Also, on my latest playthrough…this may be a bug or not, but I’ve got “enlightened” up over 100%…presently on 106%…while most games’ percent stats max out at 100%)


#4

It’s rubbish, frankly. The story is absurd, the stats are exceptionally vague, and as Samuel says, the choices are vanishingly rare and frequently irrelevant. At one point, I had four long pages of story go by without even a *fake_choice to split them up.

I finally gave up on it when I went to talk to the tycoon about the murdered man and the game lambasted me for bringing my crew with me (which I never got a choice about) and accusing him without evidence (which I didn’t want to do). Nor did I have a choice to do anything but slink off in shame afterward.

I strongly recommend against buying this game.


#5

@Dominic
Try to keep it constructive…your qualms were definitely valid, but calling it “rubbish” strays towards incendiary instead of informative. As a HG author, I know how it feels to be on the other side of that, and I can tell you it’s not pleasant, nor does it make the author want to look at your side of things.


#6

@Samuel_H_Young I also have strongly negative feelings towards this work, I will try to keep my criticism as reasonable and constructive as possible:

I thought the story had a very promising concept, I was actually quite excited at first at the prospect of a space-themed cross between the excellent Tin Star and Papers Please, not something quite on the scale of size or quality of either of course, but at least something along those general lines. I really wanted to like this game, however my expectations of the whole quarantine officer angle seemed to fall apart only a short way into the story.

I had expected processing citizens, analysing items, balancing your discretion with your orders, and weighing up the possible future consequences for the colony (which I was most intrigued about) to make up a much greater part of the story, instead I felt it made up a woefully short, rushed, and insignificant section of the game. In its place, I was stuck playing a terminally dull and poorly-paced detective story investigating the deaths of characters I barely knew, with partners I found one-dimensional, making choices which seemed mostly based on trial and error than actually weighing up the consequences, thanks to the vague stats system.

To be fair, I will say I enjoyed the introduction, the character creation sections feel slick, the world-building is intriguing and starts well, and I found Mackenzie’s philosophical speech on your role and impact to be interesting, but the momentum that these scenes build up doesn’t seem to go anywhere and quickly fizzles out.

There’s no doubt that making a game like this is difficult, and I commend the author for such an ambitious attempt and the decent introduction. Ultimately though the game feels very rushed, obtuse, and not fun to play at all, if that sounds harsh, it’s only because I’m so disappointed at the lost potential.


#7

@RupertDragoul
I stilll haven’t finished, but I’m beginning to agree with many of your points. The writing is excellent, at least.


#8

I beta this and I didn’t buy it is well written, but how say it diplomatically is boring , without soul and enjoyment. The game has lots of potential, but ends in a little colony ship death story. But I dont believe its bad its just not really as interactive as we are used in Cog


#9

@poison_mara
I agree. I just finished it and the ending is very unsatisfying, and it keeps getting more vague as the story progresses. I’ll try it again, though, because I like the writing so much.


#10

The thing that got to me first was the fact that I couldn’t romance Mackenzie(which I really wanted to do) nor anyone else, for that matter. At the party, the option that was given to go seek out a potential tryst ended up in my character getting wasted with the crew and then having to listen to the tycoon’s speech. v.v

The concept of the game was very interesting and I expected more from the initial description. I expected something very much like Tin Star, too. I expected to be able to marry, have offspring, start a business of my choice, etc.

What annoyed me the most was when, at the end, I was given a detailed description of the work I’d be doing at Hadley’s World…only to be told in not so much as a paragraph that was a story for another game! Wanted to stomp my feet about and scream at that point. :stuck_out_tongue:

I also hoped the game would, as the description said, be more focused on my character’s personal life. In fact, right before that choice which asks me whether I want to investigate Augustine’s death or not, the game says ‘it will define my future’. The choice does nothing of the sort, since investigating Augustine is somehow forced upon me later in the game and no matter what I choose it plays out the same.

I agree that the choices were not as meaningful as they initially seemed to be. It seems to be impossible to get that girl Karina/Ruth not to kill herself and the stats do seem very vague.

And WHAT was the info that was so important for someone to go through all that trouble to smuggle?


#11

Well I bought the game today and to be completely fair I new it wasn’t going to be all that based on the asking price. I have to say a few things about it though.

Pros
Well written
Good concept

Cons
Almost no character development.
The choices that could have an impact either are forced on you or end in your death.

There is a romance option if you go to the party and choose have fun and then choose totally new person. However just because I decided to stay and listen the speech she dumped me, WTH?
No mention who or what was smuggling the information.


#12

One other small issue that got under my skin was the interview question regarding your greatest trait as an officer, despite my praise of the character creation in general, this rather irritated me. I chose “Pragmatist”, as I tend to play harsh anti-hero characters who are adaptable and use the resources available to them to fulfil a greater good. However this was interpreted as my character being more “Corruptible” which implies a tendency to abuse my authority for personal gain, (taking bribes, smuggling goods myself) rather than to achieve a universally beneficial end. I found this misinterpretation jarring and could have been cleared up easily enough with an accompanying question of what my pragmatic nature consisted of/who was intended to benefit from it. Just a minor gripe, but one that I think is at least worth mentioning.


#13

First off, I did think the writing was solid. Not the best, but “above average” I suppose. My biggest issues with the story have mostly been touched upon (HEAVY SPOILERS abound):

-For being a space “detective” of sorts, just about everything is trial and error. If I let Mackenzie screen Augustine’s body, my “detective” skill goes down. If I sit myself out to control for the variable of my character’s possible errors, on the optional second screening, same result. Is Mackenzie written to be suspicious at this point? I don’t think so.

-Ruth. Same result, regardless of how I handle her screening, making my choice seem inconsequential. Same thing when I talk to her. I thought having local law enforcement make the arrest would “protect” her. Yet, somehow, she manages to blow herself up no matter what. I guess it speaks to the greater conspiracy, but at the same time, I don’t think she was murdered.

-The Farm. The first time I went in, after consulting with my team about the little girl. On another playthrough, I figured, why bother? They’ll follow me straight in. Nope. My throat gets slit and off to the decade-long simulation pod I go. I don’t understand why this is the case, considering Bryson’s(sp?) findings on technology that makes you use your own weapons against yourself. That happens inside. Besides, why kill me before my team brings our DNA-encoded hair directly into the house? Why kill any of us period? No one seems to listen to us.

-Number of choices. Relatively few. One or two in some middle chapters it seemed. Furthermore, many choices require simply going down the list and reading each option. Other choices will get you suddenly “destroyed” a few chapters early. My “happiest” endings have been turning a blind eye to whatever is going on, as if there is one narrative statement (RE: Ruth + the screening process being imperfect) being made rather than letting me sculpt anything. I am a cog. (Also, the skeleton cards. I still have no idea how I’m supposed to guess at that. They could have important formulas on them to prevent death. They could also be bad. No way to know at that point.)

-Endings (SPOILERS of course): I’ve been stuck in a transport pod, I’ve escaped a transport pod only to have some incurable disease, I’ve had my throat cut, I’ve worked with the Big Boss Man, I’ve browsed Augustine’s virtual library (keeping the cube afterward), and I’ve opened up a LOT of shops to live out my old age. Maybe I need another ten playthroughs under my belt, but is the whole Augustine case even solvable? Can I save the planet from corruption? Maybe someone else can tell me.

-Hair Cuts: I wish I had the option to shave my head, once Augustine’s final results come in…haha.

-Length: It’s short, and I feel as if the fast-forwarding (choices that will impact your life for years) does the story a disservice. I welcome disagreement, but for how it’s written, the pacing seems off to me.

In the writing workshop classes I’ve taken, I was always taught to say something positive to balance out the negative. I hope this wasn’t too harsh. After playing Tin Star, I played Choice of a Rock Star and this. The latter two both, unfortunately, disappointed me. Which was especially frustrating with this title as I purchased it after reading the first two trial chapters.


#14

I was wondering if this game was going to be released on the kindle fire. Really want to give this game a try, but do not own an android or apple phone.


#15

@hild
I think it’s on Kindle. It’s on Google Chrome, too.


#16

Yeah, ‘rubbish’ was probably rather strong. I was venting a bit. Like others here, I found something in the description of the game (and even in the demo, what I saw) to be suggestive of Tin Star, which I had just played and thoroughly enjoyed to the point of dissection. I was hoping for something along vaguely similar lines, with questions of what you choose to do with your appointed authority. What you will allow into this new world, and how it shapes it.

As others have said, though, these elements get rather swiftly swept aside. Instead, you become an amateur detective, which isn’t really what I signed on for. Particularly with how ready the game seems to be to make assumptions about your intentions.


#17

I went to amazon on my new kindle fire since I did not see it in the app store and tried to buy it but received a message that it would not work for my kindle.


#18

@hild
You could always buy it directly from CoG’s website


#19

I was considering it but I really like the ability to play it offline.


#20

Now that I read these reviews, I’m kind of agreeing that maybe this game wasn’t as good as I thought it was. I will say this though…there aren’t many games with the CoG or HG brand that I’ve played more than twice…

So I guess this game does join that unique group. Part of it might be because it’s relatively short and easy to jump through into the choices…but part of the reason is because it seems like a puzzle that I desperately want to solve. I’ve never had my character die in the game (well plenty of instances about my tombstone after my character died, but that’s different I think), but I can’t really say I got the ending where I brought down the bad guys and all that.

The most successful was that I somehow brought down the whole mind reading organization by forcing the AI girl to lob an emp grenade at the computers. Everyone survived but the computers at the farm were completely destroyed. This prevented me from figuring out who the major villain was. After that I think I joined up with the big boss man and continued my line of work somewhere else.

Perhaps I was very close and one decision away from discovering all the game’s secrets, but I guess I’ll never know.

I do feel like the choices get a bit wonky. One choice for instance lets me think I can take every member of my team individually and discuss matters with them. I pick one character, read up on that, and then suddenly I have to deal with something else and it moves on to the next scene. Well…that kinda sucks, doesn’t it? I mean what’s the whole point of picking that? I mean at this point I’m just going to meta the whole situation anyway.

Now…unlike Mara, I didn’t find the game boring. I thought it was rather fascinating. In fact the whole premise of the game is pretty amazing. I think the fact that the game takes you where it does is a very good thing. But on the other hand…I do think that the game kind of fails in the premise of being a detective game, in fact, if you don’t want to be a detective it doesn’t even force you to. Although I’m not sure if there is any real meaningful success that you can have if you move on.

The stronger of the situation would be to a kind of Inquisitor from Earth. I would have been a lot more fascinated by that. The idea that I have the ability to allow ideas and artifacts and even people’s personalities to enter a colony is pretty powerful. What if I want to shape the planet in a certain way? Doesn’t that sort of become the premise that your partner brings up to you? The whole god/prophet/servant/ thing? Does the game honestly deliver that?

I don’t know…I don’t feel like it does.

The game isn’t boring though and I feel it is well written. Jumpy? Yeah, kinda. Choices? Sometimes good, sometimes bad. It needs more cowbell. Lots of it.

I really can’t say I was disappointed or that it is rubbish though. I probably played through it like 5 or 6 times. So you know…good job, Planetary Quarantine Guy! Just you know…next time…maybe figure out what you want your game to be.