The RPS Verdict: Invisible, Inc.

Adam: Invisible, Inc. [official site] is a turn-based stealth game and there is absolutely no reason why turn-based stealth should be a thing that works as well as this does. It is also has procedurally generated tactical cyberpunk environments, which should be occasionally confusing and a pain in the backside but are almost always indistinguishable from hand-crafted puzzles latent with drama and tension.

It’s both our Game of the Month and my favourite game since Crusader Kings II! What do we all think?

Alec: I haven’t played much of the final version yet, but one of the last early access builds was already my favourite XCOMlike since XCOM. It’s an engine for tiny dramas. And it just seems so effortless, as though stealth-based turn-based strategy with just a couple of characters has always been a thing.

I’ve been playing Massive Chalice recently too, and there’s this almighty difference in terms of excitement. In Invisible Inc you always feel like something unbearably thrilling is about to happen, and that there’s a whole bunch of stuff you could potentially do to resolve it, whereas MC feels so stilted and robotic. I don’t know what Klei’s mojo is, but it’s mega-mojo.

Pip:: I’ve done the tutorial and the first mission but I’m starting to feel excited. I tend to find turn based stuff lacks tension – games in this vein can feel like there’s a correct answer and not much room for improvisation but with this I’m feeling a lot free-er. It’s not forgiving, but there’s room to play, if that makes sense?

Adam: Yes, that makes sense. The one-hit permadeaths and constant rise of the alarm suggest it’s going to be absolutely punishing, but there are solutions to almost every problem. Right from the start, it lays out its cards – you’re outnumbered, outgunned and plain out of chances. So the fact that the entire game is ABOUT grabbing the second (or hundredth) chance that you really probably didn’t see coming is really exhilerating.

If a game like Just Cause is basically the last ten minutes of every action movie (or the entirety of Mad Max: Fury Road), Invisible, Inc is the equivalent for heists or espionage. Because it begins at the end, so to speak, with the agency fighting for their lives, there’s a constant sense of escalation rather than the slow-build and preparation. You prepare as you go, in the level, in the moment. Augmenting agents using a hacked surgical machine while there are guards patrolling just beyond the door.

Pip: It makes it so easy to imagine the exchanges the agents might be having, too. In the first mission I had a level with two possible branches towards the escape so the agents split up. Decker found the way out and bashed a guard on the head to knock him out in order to get past safely, then waited for Internationale. She was a fair bit behind and with no way to get through the door without the guard coming round again so I had Decker wait nearby to cosh him again as she hid behind a computer terminal. It was a simple sequence of actions but at the end, when they walked to the lift, I still imagined them having one of those jokey one-liner exchanges about it.

Alec: It has urgency, is the thing. That’s not something which a turn-based game naturally has – you feel you can stop and think, take your time, even undo an error. But the combination of theme and no reloads means you feel like you have to act now or your agent’s doomed. I sort of forget that it’s turn-based, because it plays out like this manic, one-take action sequence – darting back and forth behind the same doors, waiting for guards to walk by, praying that you’ve got enough movement points to get to your mate’s prone body and revive them. And every decision feels like yours, rather than the obvious thing you had to do.

Pip: I think the urgency is because there are lots of little moments for tension within the level. There are doors into new rooms with goodness knows what security arrangements which you’ll reach almost every turn, then there are the guards and their patrols and their KO timers so you have to factor them in, and then the objectives and the security which, as Adam says, is ramping up all the time. You get to think about each move but in almost every move there’s something that can go wrong or that you have to deal with immediately. I prefer that approach to games where you spend multiple turns setting up to do one particular thing. I find them frustrating because I might well have buggered up on the second move but then made seven more before realising I’d been screwed all along. Here it seems to be more of a cascade of “oh shit! not over there!”

Adam: I hadn’t really thought about the way things cascade but that’s definitely true. Plans are often made in a split-second and then executed in the next. It’s very malleable and allows for all kinds of daring improvisation. What’s even more impressive is that it manages to allow that kind of expression and reactive play in these super compact chambers. The whole game is an exercise in managing mechanics within a tight structure – both the campaign and the individual missions. Everything is very intentionally and deliberately restricted – with time limits, cash limits, action point limits, carry weight limits, equipment charges and cool-downs – and the whole campaign is a ticking timebomb that you have to defuse. It’s all risk-reward balance to an extent, except the reward is usually going to raise your chances of survival by the slightest degree rather than making you into a total badass with a +70 cyberrig.

Alec: No, you’re a ticking timebomb. We all know it.

Adam: I do have a +70 cyberrig (it’s a digital watch).

Alec: I can send text messages from my watch. I’ll out-hack you any day. And out-dork you.

Anyway, one thing that always gets me about Invisible Inc is how much personality I project onto the guards. The simple fact of someone’s route taking them through exactly where I want to go, or that this guy I keep having to zap into unconsciousness is this beating heart of known danger, means they mean something to me, somehow. I guess it’s because they don’t often die, unless you’re being super-reckless: they remain persistent threats, and you have a very clear idea of what the threat is: where you can and can’t go, how many times you’ve had to zap them, the little anecdote involved in escaping from them. I almost feel sad when I leave a level, like I’ve got unfinished business with these guys.

Is there anything anyone doesn’t like about it, or are we all breathless enthusiasts who are betraying the necessary cynicism of our trade?

Adam: Well, in the tradition of innovative turn-based tactical games it’s charms are obscured at times by hideous graphics and a crappy UI.

OH NO WAIT IT LOOKS FUCKING AMAZING.

Look, I even like the voices. I’ve fallen for it hard. I’m also kind of surprised that I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near this good because Klei have been on fire recently. Mark of the Ninja wasn’t to everybody’s taste, I know, but it switched stealth into a side-scrolling proposition seemingly effortlessly. Obviously there was actually a great deal of effort and work involved.

One thing they have in common is what I’ll call the Freedom of Information Act. The interface in both games is willing to give you all the information you need to make your next move – like a chessboard – and that’s so different to many other games, and any game that uses dice rolls. In XCOM, so much of the tension comes from not knowing if a shot will hit its target or if a wound will down an agent. Invisible, Inc. tells you exactly what is going to happen before it happens but still manages to surprise you. That’s incredible.

It feels like a polished and perfected version of a design that already existed somewhere. I don’t think it did exist though – if it did, I haven’t seen it before. That’s not to say there’s something unique about the setting or the basics of the design. But it’s extremely rare to come across a game in which all of the details of that design intertwine so effectively. And then you realise it lets you redefine a lot of the parameters individually instead of having monolithic difficulty levels and, wow.

Pip. Say something negative about Invisible, Inc. so that I can DEFY you.

Pip: Okay, the only thing that I found a little odd was the rewind mechanic. I mentioned this to you OUTSIDE the hallowed verdict chamber so I will reiterate: basically, the rewind takes you back a turn but when I did make a mistake it wasn’t a turn-worth of mistake, it was that I wanted to rewind some of the action or movement points I’d spent. Thus, rewinding felt more punishing or immersion-breaking than I initially thought it would be. That’s part of the game, obviously, but I’m trying to work out whether or not it would be good to be able to choose whether you use a rewind on a HUGE WHOLE TURN or on just a small bit of a turn.

Adam: As you play more, I reckon you’ll find that you only really use rewinds when an agent is taken down. I think it quite naturally becomes a last resort tool, even when you’re playing on regular difficulty and have a handful to burn on each mission. If it were an undo button for your last ‘move’ rather than turn, it’d be too useful.

Alec Yeah – I mean, half the joy of it is trying to bounce back from a mistake (which is how I most enjoy Hitman games too, the desperate fumbling to find safety once everyone knows you’re there). You want to save those rewinds for when the situation is entirely irredeemable.

The only thing I’m not totally sure about is the metagame timer structure, I feel a bit pushed before I’m ready. But equally I’m sure that’s part of why it has urgency and doesn’t feel like a grind – you have to keep moving forwards, can’t regret that you haven’t unlocked this or that, can’t dodge going on harder missions. It keeps turning up the heat. But it does make me feel a little panicky, this worry that maybe I did do something wrong three missions ago or haven’t banked enough cash, and I’m going to suffer for it later.

Adam: There is an endless mode but I find it difficult to stick with mission after mission without an endgoal. It is panicky but I like that and I find it has become less so now that I have a better idea of how much I should be looking to take from each level. A vague idea still, because so much is changeable.

In that sense it reminds me a little of FTL’s structure – it has a similar inevitable pressure to move forward while attempting to ensure you can survive what waits at the end. Invisible, Inc. doesn’t have quite as specific a set of builds that can actually succeed in its final mission though.

Pip: I think you’re right about the rewinds, thing. I was worried I would find it punishingly hard so I had selected the lowest difficulty and that has 5 rewinds. When you have that many they don’t feel like a “last resort”. It turned out I didn’t need any of them though and preferred playing the level I have done without them.

Alec – you said about worrying you’d done something wrong a few missions back and it would affect you later. Is that a big concern later in the game? Like, can you ever end up in an unwinnable situation because of not enough cash or some other resource?

Alec: Don’t quote me on this, apart from publishing it to a few million people of course, but I think the game is designed in such a way that, if you’re really good at it, you can survive most anything simply by absolutely understanding how everything works. The essential tools for victory are there right from the very start – what the upgrades primarily do is potentially make things slightly easier on you as the difficulty ramps up, allow a bit more get-out-of-jail-free stuff. But certainly you can fail to get enough cash and end up with almost no bonus toys, which is going to be a major handicap once the more armoured guards abound and there’s more advanced security tech everywhere. You can lose agents permanently too, and that is going to be a game-ending calamity.

Adam: It’s kind of hilarious showing up at the end-game with absolutely nothing to show for the last few days of work. You’re absolutely screwed but I still always go in with a glimmer of hope. MAYBE. And then…no. The best way to think of it is perhaps as a vault of resources that you’re building up – when the end comes, you want that vault to be well-stocked but if it isn’t, the game still lets you take your shot.

One of the advantages of the short-form campaign is that it encourages you to play and play again. Losing doesn’t feel like an enormous disaster for too long because the time investment is relatively small, particularly compared to a big ol’ strategy game or an oldschool (or even newschool) X-COM. That short running time is also a great encouragement to play how you want to play – different difficulty levels feel like perfectly legitimate choices, and you can tweak specific details within them, rather than rungs on the ladder toward perfecting the game. The best way to play it involves a bit of roleplaying, I think – putting yourself in the mindset of the agency folks knowing that they’re almost certainly living through their final hours rather than fretting about winning.

Alec: The Final Act Of The Movie structure is ingenious. You hit the ground running, you feel desperate from the off, you don’t need to get bogged down in exposition because that timer tells you everything you need to know. And when you do restart you get the same OMIGOD HURRY motivation, rather than drearily feel you’re repeating early rope-learning.

Adam: OH WAIT. I have a criticism. I like the tone on the whole but I wish there were more humour. I find it all quite jolly, even when the tension is causing me to scar my own palms, but I kind of wish the ‘enemy’ corps would send snidey messages or just laugh themselves into a heap when I show up at one of their ultra-secure facilities with nowt but a trenchcoat and a smile. The game definitely has character but it sometimes feels caught between two poles – one that is very silly and one that wants to establish high stakes seriousness. I may be being slightly picky here.

Alec: I trust we’re all now picturing Adam showing up at our doors wearing nothing but a trenchcoat and a smile, like Frank’s notorious visit to Pat in Eastenders.

I dunno, I prefer that it’s largely silent, rather than risk plaguing my easily-irritated ears and eyes with endless looped soundbites. Massive Chalice is a nightmare for that. And I think II is cartoon rather than comedy, it’s a deliberate choice to not be – urgh – wacky.

Pip: I rather like the tone, I’d say. It’s not particularly jokey but it is energetic and sleek. Maybe that will change as I get further in but right now I’m super excited to play more and nothing you guys have told me about the later game has changed that – hurrah!

Adam: Let me be clear – I like the tone as well but I find my own ineptitude so hilarious at times that I want the game to acknowledge that. I am my own clown.

Before we wrap up, I wanted to mention the Early Access versions of the game. It started as Incognita, which seemed fine, and ended as one of the best turn-based games ever made. I not only think the end-product is that good, I also think the improvements that Klei have made during Early Access have been superb. Too often Early Access games ask the audience “What do you want from this?” Invisible, Inc. seemed more like a game that had a definite end-point in mind but that could benefit from broader testing and exposure. All of those early players were like rats in a maze that was being reconfigured every now and again. Now there is so much cheese.

This metaphor may have collapsed. But, yes, Early Access done right. Stealth done right. Turn-based tactics done right. Even cyberpunk done right, I dare say.

Alec: Yeah, it clearly knew exactly what it was going to be right from the off, and made a point of giving all the main tools to players right away. Then it gradually whittled away at making that stuff better, as a priority over giving out more, which it didn’t especially need anyway, nor did it especially have in the end. The key was to make that moment-to-moment cyberpunk spy micro-drama as thrilling as can be. Early Access done right, but I guess it’s also Early Access done with a ton of greenbacks in the bank to start with – they didn’t need Early Access just to get out of the starting blocks.

Well done Klei, though. It’s a helluva thing. AND WE LIKE IT MORE THAN THE WITCHER EVEN THOUGH WE REALLY LIKE THE WITCHER so there.

Adam: Turn-based beard growth… now that’d be a thing to see.

Invisible, Inc. is out now. It’s our Game of the Month for June, and you can read our review of the game here. Also, Graham was getting a haircut while this verdict was being written but he agrees with everyone above.

43 Comments

  1. eggy toast says:

    It’s so so good. This took a smaller studio less time than Massive Chalice, and they didn’t even need to beg for money before they even started. It’s so good.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      This is because this game feels like it was designed, while Massive Chalice feels like it was cobbled together: “People seem to love Crusader Kings 2, and people seem to love XCOM, let’s superficially frankenstein them together”

    • moocow says:

      As fun as I’m sure it is to hate on Double Fine, the team on Massive Chalice was pretty small, as I’m sure was the team on Invisible Inc., both studios have multiple projects on the go at the same time and nothing suggests either team was substantially bigger than the other.

      The Massive Chalice kickstarter was in May 2013, and Invisible Inc. was announced in July 2013, so again not exactly substantially different.

      They did “beg” for money though, so there’s that!

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        FhnuZoag says:

        Does anyone else think that the comparison between Invisible Inc and Massive Chalice shows one of the downfalls of the Kickstarter model. That being that it took Klei a lot of iterations and a lot of changes to finally find the fun in their game. While being Kickstarter funded meant that DF weren’t able to change things nearly as much, instead clinging to a flawed basic design?

  2. draglikepull says:

    I’m a big fan of turn-based games and of stealth games, so I expected this to be a game I fell in love with (especially as everyone else seems to be falling in love with it) but it just fell completely flat for me.

    My biggest problem is it just doesn’t feel like there’s much to *do* at any given time. You either move a character or jump into AI mode to turn off a machine, and that’s it. That’s all you ever do on almost every turn of the game.

    To me a stealth game is made or broken on the strength of its AI, and the AI in Invisible Inc. doesn’t really have any depth. Line of sight is the only thing it cares about. If it sees you it shoots, and if it sees a door open it investigates, but other than that it doesn’t really do anything and there aren’t really any ways to interact with it.

    As an aside, I think these Verdicts would be more interesting if there was anyone on the team who disagreed so that some real discussion about the game’s merits could emerge. John And Kieron Argue About Limbo was really interesting because they both had to defend their positions. I know a GOTM is likely to be enjoyed by most or even all of the staff, but a series of “Isn’t it great” / “Yes it is” is less interesting to read than a more nuanced discussion.

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      FhnuZoag says:

      ??? You can tase them, you can kill them, you can pick-pocket them, you can hack their bot-buddies to make them shoot each other? Once alerted they also comb the map hunting for you?

      If you are finding the game boring, maybe try and play at a higher difficulty?

      • draglikepull says:

        Ahh, of course, the hallowed If You Don’t Like The Game You’re Playing It Wrong, Noob.

        • Taerdin says:

          Easy on the generalisations there buddy, he just thought you should ‘maybe try’ something else if you don’t enjoy it the way you are playing it. That’s quite a ways away from telling you that you are ‘doing it wrong, noob’

        • TheAntsAreBack says:

          No-one called you a noob. Also, the post simply explained all the things you can do in a turn that you’d perhaps not appreciated. No need to be rude.

        • KenTWOu says:

          @draglikepull
          Could you please elaborate? Which game has a better AI in your opinion? What would you do to improve Invisible Inc’s AI? Cause that’s my concern as well. I didn’t play the game yet, but it looks/feels like you’re playing not against AI, but against very strict design decisions. So I just don’t get it. By the way, I’m not a fan of turn based games, so this could be the reason why I don’t get it.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Could you please elaborate? Which game has a better AI in your opinion? What would you do to improve Invisible Inc’s AI?

            KenTWOu, the AI in this game is pretty basic, with guards having three modes – oblivious (seriously their cone of sight makes them relatively easy to avoid), investigating a disturbance, and beelining towards an alarm. It’s possible to spend an action point to observe and predict a guard’s movement path in the next turn. I’m guessing that the other poster wishes for more gunplay and unpredictable behaviour. X-Com is a great option, and imo two other great turn-based tactics games are Jagged Alliance 2 with patch 1.13 for the gunplay and Age of Wonders 3 which has astonishingly good tactical AI.

            Invisible Inc is best described as a roguelike puzzler. Missions are relatively short and compact, death is instantaneous and there’s no cover-based shooting system like in the new X-Com or Shadowrun. A great deal of the challenge comes from dealing with electronic security systems, firewalls, daemons and managing power. I think adding more variables to the AI would make the gameplay quite a bit more punishing and grindy. It’s just not that kind of game.

    • that_guy_strife says:

      That’s also how I felt.

      It seemed really promising, but then it seemed so empty.

      The alarm levels rising up even if all I did was move from cover to cover without being spotted made no sense to me. Good thing you can really tweak the gameplay, but then I lost a lot of the tension.

      All the gameplay elements seem awesome and fun on paper – the random loot, the alternative hacking dimension, the outgunned spies, generated levels. But it just feels very flat to me, and having getting halfway through maybe 5-6 campaigns with different settings everytime time, I just kinda left it alone.

      People oft mention FTL – FTL felt like it had good dose of skill added in. Figuring out the timing of your weapons to take down shields and maximize damage. Getting blue options if you had a diverse crew. Every encounter was a minigame in itself (even though not much so after a while of knowing the game, but then different ships and layouts breathed new freshness in).

      In Invisible, once the though armored guys showed up and I didn’t have anything that could take them down – it was down to running. All the time.

      • 0celot says:

        Alarm levels make sense to me. I, the operator, have infiltrated the facility digitally and even have incognita jacked in for the ride. The corp has an idea that something’s up and they’re trying to track down what part of the building the transmissions are going to. As they gain more and more certainty as to what part of the building is being infiltrated (via tracing the signals and from guard reports) they continue to send more and more security assets that way.

  3. Radiant says:

    One of the few downsides to this game is that the different agents just aren’t different enough.

    I really wanted to mix up play styles after my first play through and the various agents from the starting blocks just didn’t change the way I played as much as I wanted.

    Still a great game though.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Internationale is the one character that really sticks out for me. The wireless skill that she has is probably the single most useful tool in the entire game to the point that hard mode should just be playing without her.

      • Horg says:

        I prefer Shalem / Nika. Shalem is the most reliable way to have a 3 AP lethal weapon by the final mission, you just have to find another ranged AP aug for him and load him down with charge packs. Only downside is he sucks early on until you can replace his starting disruptor. Nikas ability to attack twice per round is amazing and I find her most useful for clearing out everything but the final level. I once had her modded out so she got 9 AP after each knockout with +1 stun time and +1 melee AP, easily sweeping entire levels in a couple of turns. Another time I had her with two Flurry guns (ridiculously lucky drops) and a stim that refreshes your attack, giving her potentially 8 +3 AP lethal shots for free every mission. After those two, Internationale and Dr. Xu are the most useful to find. I especially like Xu as his EMP kills camera drones and lets you open any safe without hacking or triggering daemons. Neither of them are dependent on their starting items like Shalem, although Xus door trap is superb but can be replaced from vending machines.

        • Radiant says:

          Yep Internationale’s skill is one of the few that sticks out as different [her and Banks’ ability to open red doors] which makes her markedly better to take on a mission over say… Prism or Tony.

          Internationale and Nika with Inter buffed hacking skills and Nika with an extra regular Disrupter and buffing speed + strength and +2 anarchy on both is pretty much all you need to go through the game smoothly.

          Another point is that the skills you are buffing do not change your agent enough.

          Other then the must have speed and strength; you’re just raising hacking to normalise the increase in firewalls on the harder levels as you progress [and you only really need anarchy at level 2 for the theft ability].

          If the skills gave your agents powers and different powers depending on the agent I would have shot this game and mounted it on my wall rather than just recommending it to everyone I speak to.

          • Philotic Symmetrist says:

            Anarchy at level 4 is actually quite fun (although in light of the credits spent its viability is perhaps more inconclusive); I can’t remember if I got more exciting items than these (I did get a lot of med-gel which I sold almost all of) but charge packs going from something I’m not sure whether or not I really want to spend credits on to something I just happen to find while pickpocketing guards is rather nice.

            I agree that some more significance or distinctiveness to the skill levels would be cool, though I guess to some degree that’s the purpose of associating the more powerful items with a required skill level.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I think the agents are extremely well-balanced. There are only occasional situations where you can’t reach a terminal, so Internationale ends up being a time saver more than a power generator (which is still super useful). On the other hand, Prism sounded the most useless when I saw her ability, but when you actually play you realize that it translates to like 1.5 power per turn on average, which is huge, but more subtle than the other agents.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Regarding Prism, I chose her and Shalem in my first successful run. I took Fusion and Rapier, and only ever upgraded Prism’s hacking once, but I had all the power I needed, it only got particularly dicey in terms of power management during the final mission. You don’t notice it moment to moment, but her power generation is seriously huge.

    • Philotic Symmetrist says:

      I’m currently on a [second] expert attempt with Central and Monst3r as well as using Brimstone and Faust: Daemons ahoy! You never know what you’re gonna get; that changes things up a bit…although not necessarily in quite the way you’re looking for.

  4. aircool says:

    I enjoyed what I played, but the lack of shooting (and the lack of variety in the scenery – minor quibble) made me start a fresh XCOM game.

    • SlimShanks says:

      I assume you mean a fresh Xenonauts game.

      • Coming Second says:

        Ah, good of you to drop by the Game of the Month article, because now we can award Sniffy Indier-Than-Thou Post of the Month at the same time. Congrats!

      • Shake Appeal says:

        I assume he meant an XCOM: Long War game, which is better than Xenonauts.

  5. Robert Post's Child says:

    Been a little put off because the screenshots looked too reminiscent of Shadowfall, but it is encouraging that it’s more moment-to-moment focused – would be nice to have a turn-based where I didn’t feel the need to restart every encounter halfway through.

  6. montorsi says:

    Probably going to be my GOTY unless Fallout 4 arrives this year or XCOM knocks it out of the park.

  7. Cross says:

    I love Invisible Inc. and particularly look forward to what DLC they might bolt onto it. my only quibble is the very, very crappy story end. I intensely dislike that.

  8. jgf1123 says:

    I agree with everything here. What I like best about Invisible Inc. is the tension: are we going to be able to get around this guard successfully? Do we have enough time to hit that vault? Do we spend money upgrading agents between missions or save it for acquiring upgrades during missions?

    If RPS is looking for criticism, here’s mine: there don’t seem to be many agent builds, which is weird when you can have up to 4 agents.

    • JimThePea says:

      There’s also alternative versions of 5 of the agents, so something like 15 different agents so far, I believe more are planned. What bugs me is that all but two are unlocked by simply gaining points through play, which is really easy and kind of a bland way to do it. Maybe the first game where I’ve wanted more grind for my goodies.

  9. Henas says:

    What makes a great stealth game for me is the vulnerability of the protagonist/s. I never felt particularly weak and vulnerable as Snake or Sam Fisher whereas Garrett could be easily felled by just one taffin’ guard. Invisible Inc increases this vulnerability further with the one shot kill agents, cooldown focused tools and constantly ramping alarm state. You rarely feel safe, but you do feel like a cyber punk Garrett when you sneak undetected into a guarded room, pickpocket the guard and out the other side without being noticed.

    Plus Decker reminds me of Inspector Gadget…go go Gadget cloaking device.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I never felt particularly weak and vulnerable as Snake or Sam Fisher whereas Garrett could be easily felled by just one taffin’ guard.

      Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. On expert difficulty level if you make a mistake and alert a guard even sleeping guard wakes up and makes a shot / lethal headshot faster than you withdraw your weapon and point it at him, because Fisher is so slow and guards are so fast. So you feel yourself pretty weak and vulnerable there.

  10. JimThePea says:

    I totally get the skepticism with early access, but Invisible Inc. and Don’t Starve are both examples of it done right. Klei know what they’re doing, scheduled updates, constant communication, it’s actually been a worthwhile experience to play the game as it developed and be involved in the forums where the big talking points become real features in next update. Now it’s finished, easily one of the best titles of the year.

  11. Raoul Duke says:

    I bought this a long time ago to support its development, but have never touched it. I’m excited to hear it’s finally ready, and that it’s actually good too.

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    Mungrul says:

    I bounced off of this in early access as I felt the pressure escalated too quickly. I’ll give it another go now it’s finished.
    But at around the time I picked Invisible Inc. up, I also got The Marvellous Miss Take. Now there’s a game I immediately fell in love with, which plays fantastically, has that sense of urgency when you’re completing the trials and has humour in spades. Granted, some of the writing is a bit hit and miss, but the moment-to-moment animation and themes are, well, marvellous.

  13. drewski says:

    Last time I bought a Klei game off recommendations I hated it, so I’m not exactly positively inclined toward this one. But I’ve heard enough good things that I might give it a go in a future sale.

  14. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Adam: Turn-based beard growth… now that’d be a thing to see.

    I actually started to make a Dredmor-inspired Roguelike once where the central mechanic was that your beard was possessed by a demon and grew a bit every step. As it started to get too long the idea was you’d get various debuffs and ill effects (shops not serving you because you look like a crazy person, missing turns because you’ve tripped over it, etc) but you could also choose to trim the beard. The hair you removed would become a demonic beard monster you’d need to fight off, and its potency (and loot quality) would depend on the length of the beard when you trimmed it. A short beard would be trivial to beat, but a long beard with great loot would be more like a boss fight.

    Sadly, I don’t have anything like the time to make the game anything more than a rubbish prototype. Ho hum.

  15. Premium User Badge

    FatOak says:

    After not really getting on that well with Mark of the Ninja, I was pleasantly surprised by Invisible Inc. I love the art style (although I wish they’d carried it through fully to the cutscenes, a minor quibble I know), and the combination of stealth and time-based pressure works really well. My only criticism is that sometimes the game is lacking a bit in clarity. Some of the descriptions on some of the Augs and items are sometimes a bit vague, leading to a couple of ill-informed purchases, even though I thought I understood what the item did. Also, as far as I can tell there are no tooltips for the Vault/Cybernetics Lab doors that require an access code from a previous Financial Suit mission. Because of this I missed the Vault the first time I took on one of those missions despite having uncovered the whole map, although I concede that it could easily be down to my own stupidity. I also misclick or move one agent whilst thinking I had another one selected frustratingly often, and agree with Pip that using a Rewind to fix these kind of small mistakes seems like overkill, although as Adam said allowing you undo a move would be too useful. I feel like these are all small issues that could be fixed easily with a relatively minor patch, a small clarity pass perhaps.

  16. Wowbagger says:

    I think Klei must be my favourite developer at the moment; they don’t just do cookie cutter sequels to their games to make money, they produce stand alone triumphs that show how deeply they understand game design.

    Shank 2 and Mark of the ninja are my favourites, but Don’t starve and Invisible inc. are superb examples of their game types as well.

  17. Ysellian says:

    Well I was hesitating buying this game but I’m convinced I’m going to like this now.

  18. denizsi says:

    Two guys with the only ever experience of TB games from recent mainstream releases with poor design, gets to play a singular decent TB game and are so overexcited and overwhelmed by how fun a good TB game can be, they are desperately and fanboyishly trying to attribute all of it to every random element of the game, in complete ignorance and indifference of amazing TB games of the past.

    It’s like OMG is that what I think it is? It’s like, whoa! totally awesome! Except it’s nothing new under the sun, except you keep getting excited by superficial garbage so you never got to know what the world has to offer.

  19. Thathanka says:

    Studios like Klei and CD Projekt Red are the great hopes for future gaming. They have all the integrity, creativity and passion that the empty vessels of Bungie, Netherrealm, EA etc lack