The 12 months is 2018 and The White House of the United States of America continues to be satisfied that video video games immediately result in violent habits. They’re so satisfied in actual fact that they met with lobbyists and CEOs to speak about all of it and even made a spotlight reel of a few of the most violent scenes in trendy gaming to help that argument.
This isn’t a fictional universe: it’s actual life.
During a time by which America is embroiled in a contentious debate over the need and utility of brazenly out there firearms following a slew of public capturing tragedies, video video games discover themselves on the middle of all of it. In that regard, The American Dream, a VR sport from builders Samurai Punk that makes use of darkish humor and wry sarcasm to deal with this very concern, feels about as politically topical as you may get — for higher and for worse.
The premise of The American Dream is that you just’re utilizing VR to see a “brighter future” by which weapons rule all points of life. You keep in mind the basic child remark of, “Well in case you like ___ a lot, why don’t you marry it?!” This is that, became a sport, targeted on weapons. The concept is that if American society is so obsessive about weapons that we will’t even relinquish them within the face of nationwide tragedies, why don’t we simply evolve to utilizing them in all points of our lives?
So that’s what occurs right here. Each stage of The American Dream is a special scene from a special section of a typical American’s life. You see issues from the POV of a child in a crib as a mom factors a gun at your mouth to feed you cereal, you’ll use a gun to shoot burger patties and make them flip on the grill, and even in a while to handle gardening frustrations within the yard. After an hour or two the gameplay mechanics themselves begin to really feel more and more repetitive which, to the builders’ credit score, is a part of the purpose — however that doesn’t make it any much less monotonous to play after some time.
If all that sounds a bit ridiculous then, yeah, that’s on function. It’s imagined to be this completely outlandish and completely bonkers illustration of gun tradition as a technique of unveiling the absurdity of all of it within the first place. It’s harsh commentary by the use of parody. Something tells me Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park) would get alongside simply positive with Samurai Punk’s writers.
The conditions that you just play via do a very good job of sustaining a constant tone, nevertheless it comes on the lack of speaking its message. This is a tough matter and the builders don’t wish to preach on the participant, however a little bit extra direct commentary or extra overt criticism would have helped solidify the sport’s function extra strongly.
Everything is narrated by your trusty all-American canine companion, Buddy Washington, as you progress via every of the over 20 totally different vignette levels. While they could lack a actual narrative thread connecting all of them collectively, the tone and focus of every stage evolves as you delve deeper into the sport’s “simulation” of America.
Over the course of the sport, which ought to final most gamers about 4 or so strong hours, I discovered myself laughing quite a bit. My humorousness traces up effectively with the writers and I’ve all the time been a fan of this kind of darkish, sardonic tackle in any other case heavy subjects that sometimes keep away from parody.
What actually makes The American Dream work although, on a purely basic stage, is the subtly of all of it. The first hour or so of the sport is solely foolish with numerous direct jokes and witty humor, however by the point you attain the tip issues begin to tackle a a lot darker tone. Smiles on my face grew to become grimaces and my occasional breaks from VR grew to become breaks from my very own thoughts. I’m not a gun nut by any means, however as somebody that was born and raised in Texas, The American Dream is a sport that pressured me to mirror on sure issues that I’d in any other case by no means have given a second thought.
Given a few of the pacing points and the partially inconsistent tone/messaging, I believe The American Dream could have been higher served to be only a bit shorter. Some of the levels really feel pointless and don’t really contribute to furthering the sport’s message in any respect. For video games like this the entire content material must both talk the core ideas clearly or present actual gameplay leisure and there are chunks of this expertise that really feel included for no cause apart from padding the size.
I’m all for video games taking stances on essential cultural and political subjects. Some of essentially the most shifting items of leisure I’ve ever loved have been video video games and I see no cause why builders can’t use the medium to begin exhausting, essential conversations — particularly in VR. The American Dream, extra so than every other sport I’ve performed, actually requested me to take a look at myself within the mirror and examine my very own private relationship with weapons and gun tradition on a extra intimate stage.
Final Score: 7/10 – Good
The American Dream’s darkish, sardonic commentary about America’s gun tradition comes at a poignant time within the nation’s historical past. I hate having to place a numbered rating on a sport like this, however right here I’m anyway.
Using VR’s distinctive potential to inform highly effective and insightful tales with stark, reflective criticism is on show in methods we haven’t seen earlier than. The humor gained’t land for everybody and the message will seemingly get misinterpreted or misplaced by some, however The American Dream raises questions which might be completely value discussing no matter your stance on gun legal guidelines. This VR expertise, regardless of the quirky visible fashion, is just not for the faint of coronary heart.
The American Dream is out there as of right now on Rift, Vive, and PSVR for $19.99. Read our Game Review Guidelines for extra info on how we arrived at this rating.
Editor’s Note: Please preserve the feedback civil and respectful. We know that this can be a delicate matter and it’s not possible to debate this specific sport with out additionally participating in a dialogue about weapons typically.
Tagged with: Samurai Punk, The American Dream
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