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A whole level of Echo is good for explaining Echo

Echo

Echo [official site] is a third person sci-fi action game which, as descriptions go… so far so doesn’t-tell-you-anything-interesting. But its big point of difference is that you are the enemy you are trying to beat. It’s an idea which, reading about it, reminded me of specific levels within other games – stuff like the Dark Link bit of Ocarina of time where you fight a shadow version of yourself which near-mirrors your moves. Echo extends that idea of you being your own difficulty cap and makes a whole game from it which sounds really cool. I hadn’t sat down to watch it in action before this full level video though.To give you the context I had before going in:

The bare bones of the concept in Echo is that the Palace you’re in tracks your moves and knows how you’re playing. Every few minutes it feeds those choices into the enemy behaviour, so if you play stealthily so do they, and if you’re gun-happy so are they. The time delay means you could start to build a behaviour cycle – play as something stealthy, then play as a thing which counters that, then play the counter to that counter… There’s also a blackout period which frees you up to do the things you don’t want the AI to know as it’s not monitoring you in those moments.

This vid gave me a far clearer picture of how it all works and how you know what you’re feeding the Palace as information:

I think it’s such an interesting idea and I definitely want to play, but being aware of my own gaming styles and habits I think I’m far more likely to be enthralled by videos or stories of other people’s games. Mine will probably be a comedy of errors.

Echo will be out on September 19th.

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Philippa Warr

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