Event is a game in which you rely on your typing skills to interact with your new buddy Kaizen, a smart and intuitive AI. Beginning as a 6-month project and evolving with Ocelot Society, the game has won numerous awards and received backing from France’s CNC and the Indie Fund. After these awards, I had high hopes for this game and I didn’t get what I was expecting, Event took my little bubble and popped it. It completely blew my mind.
At start up, I was quite confused when I was confronted with a narrative story of which I could select certain parts to essentially create my character. However, it was a brilliant way to ease myself into the world and get told about the backstory and premise of the game. After an accident that leaves you alone in an escape pod, you float around the endless space, trying to contact anyone who would listen. Thankfully one day, someone responds. It is here that you leave your escape pod and enter a luxury yacht known as the Nautilus.
This is where you see the game for what it truly is, an absolutely stunning world to get lost in. The graphics are flawless and give a realistic feel to the area, in addition, the attention to detail is astronomical. The small blinking lights inside the pod to indicate that you have attached, the soft voice stating the current system diagnosis for the ship. These small details that are so often overlooked in games, make noticing them exciting. As if when you notice one, you’ve discovered something new, a smile comes to your face and you think “Oh, that’s really neat!”. Well, I did, and it made getting immersed into this game even easier. And once I interacted with the first terminal I was even more impressed.
I created a new user on the terminal’s interface and after the familiar sounds that I can only describe as AOL from “You’ve Got Mail” (A throwback to the old 90’s computers). I met the one and only Kaizen. He is the smartest AI I have ever encountered, comparing him to Evie and Cleverbot. Although this could be because I have an objective with Kaizen, I must find out information. When it comes to Evie, I’m just trying to see if I can make her mad or convince her she is a machine. Just like Evie, Kaizen can talk, however, he only says the most obvious letters in a word, alongside his robotic undertones, it actually sounds like he is speaking. This does mean he can say your name and I got especially excited at this.
Once you have spoken to Kaizen for a bit, you realise that everything you want to do has to be done through the terminal interface. Essentially, you have to tell Kaizen what you want to do, if you want to have a door open, you’ll have to ask Kaizen to do that. And he can refuse. More accurately, he can delay what you want him to do by infuriatingly and cheekily changing the subject, it’s annoying how clever he is.
When you enter the lobby, you get a real feel for what the era is meant to be, with the retro-styled TV’s and seating area, you can tell it is the late 20th century. And even though we are sure none of this actually happened in that era, the way they have incorporated it to make it feel like the 90’s (whilst still holding true to the sci-fi aspects of the game) is really well done.
Further, into the story, you get a feel for Kaizen’s attitude more. He can get angry at you, causing the text to jumble up before reforming and the icon of Kaizen to frown. It’s actually a rather unnerving experience to anger the AI, I mean he has control of the ship and although he does what you tell him too, he is still in power. But, no matter how clever Kaizen is, he is still an AI and as such can often repeat phrases that he has already said when he doesn’t understand what you are saying. This can get frustrating when you want him to tell you something, as he isn’t straight forward and there is often the case of having to be extremely specific with what you say.
Without Kaizen, you can find information about the world you walk in with a small reticle that draws a circle and upon completion, a dialogue opens up with a description of what you are looking at. This reminds me of the “hold E” from No Man’s Sky. There are a few issues with this, as when you are in space and have to float around an object to find out what it is. It can be difficult to hold the reticle on the smaller objects until the circle is completed. As well as this, due to lighting and the descriptions white text, in some areas, the text is almost impossible to read.
When you find a piece of relevant information, the game takes this and holds it in a box in the top right-hand corner. So when ever you approach a terminal and want to know what it is that you need to type in, you can look here for anything that could help. Meaning you don’t have to have the handy piece of paper and pen, the game has got you covered. This is handy to have when completing the various puzzles the game has to offer, but the better thing is that you don’t even really realize you are doing a puzzle.
The level of difficulty, along side the way the information is given to you, makes it feel as through you are putting all the pieces of the puzzle together and coming up with your own objectives. Although this may sometimes include running backwards and forwards from terminal to terminal to find put those pieces, the eureka moment when you do is all worth it. And if you are having a particularly hard time, don’t worry, your friend Kaizen will help nudge you in the right direction with “accidentally” telling you what it is you need to do. Oh that cheeky Kaizen.
After all the conversations, you’ll eventually come to the end. The game lasted about 4 hours, which is pretty short considering the price. But, there is some replay ability, the game has alternate endings of which you can explore, as well as a few choices during the game that you can change. But, let’s face it, the main reason you’d ever want to play this game again is to speak to Kaizen.
With Event’s revolutionary AI and beautiful graphics, I would definitely recommend this game. It’s an immersive story experience with a witty companion that will take you on a journey of emotions. The subtle music and atmospheric tendencies create an environment that is both daunting and welcoming, apart from one song that will stick with you through out the game. Although there is a small issue with the descriptions and accessing them, it is overlooked by the outstanding detail shown throughout. I would give this game a higher score, but for the price and the amount of time it took to complete, it falls short just that little bit.