Industria, developed by Bleakmill and published by Headup Games, is a first-person shooter with a strong story narrative, set in Berlin sometime near the end of the Cold War. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and XBox, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
Berlin, 9th of November 1989, the streets are lined with people. After years of division and anguish, the Berlin Wall has finally fallen. The people are jubilant and celebrating this feat. Elsewhere in the city, your colleague, Walter, disappears from a research facility in the East side. You are on your way back to the facility where State Security has managed to already eliminate all records of the man's research, the facility is deserted and empty. Thus, you must begin your journey to find Walter, a journey that will take you deeper into the desolate centre of the facility; through the heart of the universe into a place where time truly stands still and dark secrets and revelations lurk in every corner. Story and atmosphere wise, I often felt some Bioshock influences along with a little bit of Half Life as well thrown into the mix, which quickly became very intriguing to me.
In any first-person shooter, the most important things for me are fluidity and that movements are not too restrictive - unfortunately, I found the general movement and shooting to feel quite clunky and not too fluid throughout. All was relatively fine whilst I was solving puzzles and exploring environments, however, the minute I got into a gun fight I really felt how restrictive and clunky the shooting and movement mechanics were, which really turned the combat into a bit of a hassle that I really didn’t want to deal with. Along with this, resource management is incredibly important, and I often found myself trudging a great distance, somehow surviving the onslaught of robots and machines with very little ammunition to get me through, which leads quite effectively into my next biggest gripe with the game - checkpoints. More often than not, the checkpoints felt like they were unnecessarily far apart, which really turned the game into a deeply frustrating time for me as I’d repeatedly try and navigate through an area only to unfortunately die and have to redo quite a substantial amount of the area again. I only played on the normal difficulty, however I feel like on hardcore mode the game could very easily become even more frustrating for even the more hardened gamers.
The main attraction for me in Industria was most certainly the storyline. By and large it felt engaging, and I enjoyed it and with the bizarre, unique aesthetic, Industria felt like a mostly unique experience. Apart from that, I also really enjoyed the puzzles, initially they felt very clever, and I really enjoyed them, but unfortunately after a while the puzzles started to feel repetitive and just re-hashes of puzzles that we already had previously in the game. For a small developer, I’d say they did a pretty good job environmentally and atmosphere-wise, and I really appreciated the art style throughout.
Industria was very much a mixed bag for me. It had its flaws and little quirks that I felt irritated by, but with its four-hour run time it never managed to outstay its welcome, and I was glad to have seen the story through to its end. Unfortunately, the FPS aspect was a bit of a struggle for me, but having mentioned its small developer team, I think props should be given for getting so many aspects right rather than focusing entirely on the negative.
Lj’s Rating: 3 out of 5.
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Many thanks to Plan of Attack for the Review Key.