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Hindsight review - "Deeply emotional but a tad repetitive"

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Hindsight review - "Deeply emotional but a tad repetitive"

"Depending on where we're at in life, our perception of a memory changes." This, I feel, is the overarching theme of Hindsight, Annapurna Interactive's poignant narrative adventure. The title alone gives you a hint of just how much weight our perceptions have when it comes to looking back, and the short two-hour game takes you through just that.

The emotional story deals with grief, regret and everything in between, but while the premise itself is meant to be heartbreaking, will it have the same impact on you?

Table of contents:

HINDSIGHT STORY AND VISUALS

Hindsight follows the tale of the main protagonist Mary as she goes through her personal belongings in the wake of her mother's passing. Throughout the game, players will revisit various stages in Mary's life while she grapples with death in the family, and using each significant object as a window to the past, the game presents snippets of both the good and the times throughout Mary's life.

The narrative is the main driving force of the game, but the visuals add to the overall emotional impact of the story. Scenes are presented in clean minimalistic detail, with moments frozen in time ala-Matrix's bullet time. Players can peer through each object in Mary's life and see the memories that come with it, revealing more of her relationship with her mother.

THE GAMEPLAY OF HINDSIGHT

The gameplay comes second to the narrative here, as all you'll really have to do is rotate the camera until you hit the right spot to reveal the next phase in the story. The so-called puzzle aspect of the game is mostly just you trying to find a glistening object in the scene and tapping on it to progress the story forward.

While having the gameplay fall by the wayside is understandable given the narrative focus of the game, it did feel like a bit of a lost opportunity for me. Rotating the scene in 360-degree motions was lovely, but it might have been cooler if you were tasked to line up certain angles to reveal a slice of the story.

Some instances were a bit more puzzle-esque - like trying to recreate words, sequences, and dishes from memory - but these aren't significant enough to make you feel like you've accomplished something. Worse, some tasks didn't feel intuitive at all, and you might just spend forever looking for the perfect angle that hits the light just right to get to the next scene.

The concept is brilliant, but the execution felt a little lacking. Still, the choice of scenes and the chronological order of events do feel authentic enough that despite the lack of any real gameplay elements, the story compelled me to keep moving forward.

WHAT'S THE APPEAL?

What helped with my immersion in the game was in large part the phenomenal voice acting. Mary's voiceover looms over you the whole time, but the narration doesn't feel forced. Emotions felt authentic, and nothing was too over-the-top. That coupled with the ambient music made each memory a truly emotional trip.

The story itself, as a whole, felt predictable in the sense that it's nothing we haven't heard before. It's a classic tale of a child having a complicated love-hate relationship with a parent, and while plenty of players will likely relate to Mary's (or her mother's) struggles, there wasn't anything that made the story stand out apart from what it is - a daughter's grievances against her mother. Still, it did manage to make me shed a tear or two toward the end, which means it certainly did its job when it comes to all the feels.

Overall, Hindsight is a bittersweet narrative journey that will likely hit too close to home with players who have complicated family dynamics. While the theme is relatable (and certainly tear-jerking), I found myself wishing there was more to it than just repeating the same concept across seven chapters.

Hindsight review - "Deeply emotional but a tad repetitive"

Hindsight is a bittersweet narrative journey featuring gorgeous 3D scenes and fantastic voice acting. The gameplay feels a little lacking and the story hammers on the same point repetitively after a while, but it certainly packs an emotional punch in the end.
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