The third episode of Republique picks up right where the second, Metamorphosis, left off. So you're still leading Hope through the grey confines of a totalitarian, apparently subterranean state.

You're still jumping from camera to camera, nudging the heroine around and trying to avoid the attention of the hunch-shouldered Prizrak who patrol the corridors and spaces.

But this time around there's less puzzling. And less of a challenge as well. There's a focus on the morality of surveillance, and a twist that, while not particularly shocking, does at least call into question your actions throughout the rest of the episode.

The old problems remain though. Hope still bumbles around when she needs to be swift, some of the stealth puzzles are frustrating, and the confines of Metamorphosis are still dull more often than not.

But there's probably enough here that, if you've stuck with the game this far, you won't be too disappointed when it reaches its conclusion.

See see TV

Where the focus of the first two episodes was on button-pushing puzzles and gaining knowledge from the environment, here everything is a little more linear.

You sneak from A to B, following the directions of a slightly surprising new helper, and accessing some surveillance equipment outside of the facility.

The aim of these puzzles is to collect information on a couple of guards to get them pulled from their stations. Once you've gathered all the highlighted information you need to create a newspaper story using snippets of it.

It's pretty much a game of trial and error, but if you pay attention to the audio and visual data then it's an easy enough puzzle to solve.

Hard graft

There are two difficulty settings - normal and story. Story lets you work through with a focus on story and exploration, while normal makes everything that little bit harder. It toughens things up a little, but the stealth sections still feel like they've lost some of their sharpness.

New equipment includes a mine that puts Prizrak to sleep, but I never felt threatened enough to drop one.

I understand that they could come in handy tracking back through earlier sections of the game, but in all honesty wandering back through the slightly drab settings doesn't sound like that much fun.

Thankfully this time around the story is allowed to breathe a little more. Characters develop, the world is explored, and there's hardly any heavy-handed political diatribes to wade your way through.

Tough choice

There's one affecting moment towards the end of the episode that really pulled the rug from under my feet. It managed to make me reconsider a lot of what I'd just done, and turned Hope into a much more interesting character at the same time.

Ones & Zeroes isn't perfect, but it's certainly a step up from the previous episode. It's a little more confident, a little braver, and a little more subtle. And that all blends together to make a more enjoyable experience.

If you weren't a fan of the first two episodes then it's unlikely that this one will change your mind. But if you've decided to stick with Republique through thick and thin then you're likely to be pretty pleased with the direction Ones & Zeroes takes things.