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Sci-Fi fans have been eagerly anticipating the adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel The Invincible and we have set off to Regis III for you.
The Invincible was developed by Starward Industrie and will be released on November 6th, 2023 for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S by 11 Bit Studios. The game is based on the science fiction novel of the same name by Stanislaw Lem. A research mission sets out to explore the planet Regis III, which offers ideal conditions for life. We slip into the role of Yasna, who is the only crew member to wake up after a crash and, contrary to her expectations, finds herself on a planet alien to life. When she arrives at the camp, she meets her physically intact but mentally unstable colleague Krauta. She sets out on a journey to find out what happened to the rest of the crew consisting of Marit, Koval and Gorsky. Commander Novik supports Yasna via radio from the mother ship.
You can influence the progression of the story both in the dialogues and in the paths you take in this narrative-driven adventure. This ranges from simple detours that you take with your vehicle, which you find relatively quickly, to serious story decisions that decide between life and death. Although the game is quite linear, it also offers space for exploration on the planet characterized by dry riverbeds. For example, we meet one of the numerous ARTi helper robots, who leads us to a diary that reveals more about the background story.
We also find slides in disused machines that represent further important puzzle pieces for understanding the story. Similar to the Ubisoft game I am Alive, the aim is to gain the trust of another survivor in the dialogue. The conversations are excellently set to English and German subtitles are included. The score by Brunon Lubas supports the feeling of helplessness when we, in the role of Yasna, wake up once again in a strange situation, or the approaching unknown danger when we flee.
So we walk or drive from point A to point B, explore, use our equipment such as a motion detector or a measuring device for ground structures and talk to other characters. However, both the trips through the wasteland and the pauses between dialogues can sometimes get out of hand and test even the most patient fans of the genre. This loop is broken up somewhat towards the end of the game, when both the story and the gameplay gain momentum and we’re finally fighting back against the hostile planet, which works surprisingly well considering it’s not the focus of the game. Unfortunately, once our vehicle disappeared into the ether and we had to walk for about half an hour to the next location to advance the story – this way you can at least appreciate the detailed models of the heavy construction equipment on Regis III.
The play time of The Invincible is approximately six to seven hours. In order to experience all eleven endings, you have to plan a little more time. At the end of the game there is actually a binary decision, which is generally not very imaginative, although the previous decisions are also likely to have an influence on the relatively high number of endings.
Regis III offers many scenic views, as you can see in our screenshots, with very short loading times in-between locations. The lighting effects in particular breathe life into the dead planet, but the same does not apply to the characters’ faces. Despite the most emotional dialogue, we often look into empty eyes and doll-like faces – and that has nothing to do with their mental state in terms of the story. In addition, missing environmental textures and animation errors occasionally take us out of the otherwise dense atmosphere of the sci-fi thriller.
The Invincible tells an exciting sci-fi story full of twists and if get used to the slow pacing of the game, it works very well. It is precisely the interactions between Yasna and Novik, who try to solve the mystery of Regis III together, that keep us engaged, even when we are hiking through barren mountains for the umpteenth time. After all we mostly end up in an interesting area full of new clues. If you like the gameplay from Firewatch and the setting from the Deliver Us Moon/Mars games, you should definitely give The Invincible a chance.
The publisher provided us with the PC version of the game. We captured the screenshots with that review copy.