With it’s eye-catching visual style, State of Mind will intrigue you as it introduces you to its future dystopian world. But it’s interesting sci-fi thriller story will keep you asking questions, for better or for worse.
State of Mind introduces you to Richard Nolan and Adam Newman, both fathers and journalists in the year 2048. The world stands in a difficult place and humanity wants nothing more than to escape from its harsh reality. Moving into digital worlds, finding companionship with robots and AI are more prevalent which is causing a divide in the society and rapidly breaking it down. Nolan is outspoken of his dislike for the tech uprising and the corporations behind it, and it’s taken a toll on his work and family. As the game opens, you find Nolan with his memories lost, seemingly from a tragic accident, his family missing and a strange robot assistant in his apartment. From there you soon take control of Adam and learn that he too has had a similar accident and doesn’t recall any recent events. The fate of these 2 characters and how they intertwine is an awesome take on a not entirely ‘new’ concept in the sci fi genre.
The gameplay is similar to old school adventure games, but takes a more modern approach by making interacting with other characters the centerpiece of the game. You won’t spend a lot of time just trying to figure out an abstract puzzle with a specific set of items. But you will spend plenty of time searching environments for clues or lore. The cast of characters you’ll meet range from cyber terrorist leaders, corrupt overlords, and robots confused about their identity. They all feel right out of your favorite sci-fi film. Some being cliche to a tee while others feeling fresh in the context of the narrative. All characters are voiced giving even the smallest roles in the game a little more impact which i grew to appreciate throughout the 10-12 hours playing through the game.
However, if you just follow the critical path the game doesn’t convey information to you about some of the most important characters in the final moments. Everything you can interact with is marked with a big icon, so it’s hard to miss information unless you’re actively doing so. Skipping that info could lead to some confusing moments as most give you better context on character motives.
I really enjoyed my time with State of Mind as i’m a sucker for the sci-fi genre in any capacity. But even with my love for the story and visual presentation, it may be a hard sell for a lot of people. The gameplay is simple and focused on getting you to the next plot point. A Lot of times you’re just walking between cut-scenes with nothing really to take you off that beaten path. There’s a few sections were you control a drone to move or scan things in an environment but that’s really the only divergence in the core gameplay. You have dialogue options during some parts, but it has no impact on the actual outcome of the game or the direction the story takes. I found myself engaged and intrigued by the world and story but the lack of gameplay elements will be a turn off to some. There is no real replay-ability, and a 40$ price tag makes it hard to say this is for everyone. But if you really like out there sci-fi narratives, you’ll come away find something really special here.
This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a retail copy of the title purchased by the reviewer.