Out toward the tail end of 2017 came the new technology PlayLink for the PlayStation 4. It allowed players to access new games from the PlayStation 4 through their mobile devices. It’s a novel concept with some serious advantages, you can have more than 4 players on the one console local with titles such as Hidden Agenda having 2 – 6 players and Singstar Celebrations having 8 players max. Recently I was lucky enough to receive review codes for the PlayLink titles Hidden Agenda, Singstar Celebrations, and Knowledge Is Power. This week I will be reviewing Hidden Agenda from Supermassive Games many will know their work from titles like Until Dawn and the upcoming VR title The Inpatient.
Hidden Agenda follows the same gameplay style as Until Dawn your actions have ripple effects that will change the course of the story as you are playing it meaning your playthrough can be vastly different from another which adds a compelling reason to go back for more.
The story of Hidden Agenda is a fascinating one dealing with a serial killer called “The Trapper” and their disturbing crimes that involve booby-trapping their victims and getting cops killed. You play several characters throughout the course of the game but your first eyes into the world of Hidden Agenda is Officer Becky Marney played by Katie Cassidy who fans of Arrow will recognise. The reason for this recognisability is due to the high quality of the graphics developed by Supermassive Games who made their name in both the innovative gaming and photo-realistic graphics from Until Dawn.
Now to get to the meat of Hidden Agenda the gameplay and it’s honestly one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had gaming with a party and this due in no small part to the accessibility of the gameplay. People who were in my party didn’t have to know how to play a video to enjoy this video game and it allowed for a communal experience especially in the co-op mode of Hidden Agenda where your whole team works together to try and finish this story with the best ending possible. In the competitive mode, the more interesting mode, in my opinion, the party can work against each other so that players are playing for the individual instead of the whole. This is coupled well with a system that makes the players choose the outcomes of situations by voting for the resolution of said scenarios. There is then the fact that this is heightened by the competitive mode which adds yet another engaging element to Hidden Agenda.
With all these positives you must be thinking, “well there’s nothing wrong right Graham?” wrong, unfortunately, there is a single issue with Hidden Agenda and possibly PlayLink as a whole and it’s a damning one. To utilise the PlayLink function your phone must connect with the game and I’m not sure whether it was my phone or the app or even the game itself but the connectivity was horrendous every time I played through Hidden Agenda I lost connection with the game and it got to the point every time that I would have to restart the game and hope that it connected again and this situation would only be exasperated by more players with different makes and models of mobile devices.
Hidden Agenda is a lot of fun, the stories, characters, and innovations they’ve brought to the party gaming genre is great but if this to be something more than the next big fad the issues that I addressed in this review need to be addressed.