By Nathan Grayson on September 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am.
Klei only removed the cloak of shadows (but thankfully not the trench coat; that would be weird) from espionage XCOM-ish strategy Incognita a couple months ago, but you can already play it. As in, right this very second. Following in the footsteps of endlessly bizarre survivalist megahit Don’t Starve, a paid alpha was in the cards from the get-go, but it’s still a pleasant surprise to see it on these rainslick, cybertronic streets so soon. What is Incognita’s alpha hiding? Tread lightly and you might just be able to sneak up behind a trailer and some impressions after the break.
Looks pretty impressive, right? And it is! I got to go hands-on with a randomly generated map during PAX, and I came away nodding confidently in silent admiration. Also dead. I managed to slink, sprint, and hack my way all the way to my objective and nearly make off with the goods, but then a crafty NPC – who I should’ve noticed thanks to a Mark-of-the-Ninja-like footstep sound visual indicator – popped one of member of my two man-party from all the way across a room. With my robo-engineer permadead in a pool of his own oil, I had my nimble spy man make a break for it. And he would’ve gotten away with it too, if not for that pesky guard who’d staked out the elevator and his dumb, non-talking gun.
So my first run wasn’t the most successful, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe yours will go better. For $16.99, you can preorder the full game and gain immediate access to a still very early alpha. Here’s what to expect at this stage, according to the game’s technical designer:
“Alpha means the game is still in a very early state, and we do not have many of our major features implemented! What the game will look like in this state is a single (randomly generated) level, with a few agents and little to no progression. The current Alpha build has most of our core tactical and strategic systems, as well as our engine, UI, procedural generation and so on, but is missing some major progression systems and missing most of our content, which will be developed as we get further along in the process.”
“Because the game is still in the early stages, we’re expecting the game to change significantly as we test and iterate on major features. We’re also expecting major bugs to pop up during the development, as much as we try to avoid them.”
It’s exceedingly barebones for now, but the skeleton of something great is beginning to take shape. Whether it’s worth a go at this point is up to you, but you probably ought to keep an eye on it regardless. Because seriously, it could be watching you right now, and you might never even know it.
Also, hi: espionage XCOM. I didn’t really even need to say anything else, did I?