• Hidden Agenda (2017)

    Hidden Agenda (2017)

    Hidden Agenda is an interactive game for Playstation 4 that requests the additional use of a mobile device or tablet. You will need to download an additional free PlayLink application to be able to play the game. You won't be using the regular controller. The game is based upon quick time events and so-called ripple effects where specific choices can determine different outcomes of the game. The game can be played by up to six people who have to collaborate to make what they think could be the right choices. In addition to this, certain players will receive additional tasks known as hidden agendas. They will have to influence decisions in order to make certain things happen and gain points. Other players can try to uncover the player with a hidden agenda. Basically, Hidden Agenda is like a mixture of a board game for multiple players and a movie where the players watch the story unfold and only react to some quick time events and make choices. There almost isn't any gameplay.

    Hidden Agenda tries to come around with a few fresh ideas but the overall execution is below average. First of all, it took me hours to download the app. I needed to create a Google Account, had to update my Playstation and it took me twenty minutes just to download the application and another ten minutes to make it work because both the Playstation and the Hidden Agenda application need to be connected on the same WiFi hotspot. Just getting this game started was frustrating. Supermassive Games should at least have given single players the opportunity to use the regular Dualshock controller.

    Another big issue are the games' numerous glitches. The cut scenes are often abrupt and harm the game's fluidity. The player spends too much time looking at black screens or other graphic failures in between scenes. After having played the entire game twice, it happened already twice that the game was interrupted due to major glitches and I had to replay certain passages. It's hard to accept that such a short game that involved so many programmers has so many glitches.

    Another serious problem is the game's length. Depending on your choices, it takes between eighty and one hundred twenty minutes to play the game. I knew this game was going to be shorter than a regular game, but playing this game for about eighty minutes is shorter than playing any elaborate board game I could possibly think of.

    The game's only saving grace is the complex story with its multiple choices but once again, Hidden Agenda is far from perfection here. You can't save the game and go back to modify your choices, even though the game is subdivided into three parts as well as an introduction and a conclusion. It's possible to stop the game and continue playing the rest of the game at a later moment but you can't replay specific chapters. In addition to this, the story doesn't always make sense. In one case, an important witness pointed out the job the actual murderer might have but instead of investigating this lead, the characters of the game focused on a completely different possibility which led to an unfinished open ending that wasn't quite satisfying.

    Even though I enjoyed the game for its main idea, there are too many problems about it, including a complicated application, numerous graphic glitches and the very short length. Ironically, the credits at the end of the game are so long that they make for about ten percent of the entire game which isn't even the case for short movies. My suggestion is to avoid this game and watch a great crime flick instead or play a board game with your friends. Supermassive Games tried to innovate gameplay but ended up failing miserably.

    Detailed rating:

    Atmosphere: 7/10

    Challenge level: 7/10

    Controls: 6/10

    Game flow: 3/10

    Graphics: 7/10

    Length: 4/10

    Long-term fun factor: 4/10

    Sound: 6/10

    Soundtrack: 6/10

    Story: 8/10 

    Total score: 58 /100

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