Murderous Pursuits is being described as a Stealth-em-up and comes from the team at Blazing Griffin, the same people who brought The Ship: Remastered in 2016. They look to take what they learned from The Ship, improve upon it and deliver a more well-rounded, quality experience. Is this the pursuit of happiness or just a wild murderous goose chase?
It’s dog eat dog aboard the titanic (actual ship in the game is HMSC Britannic) where up to eight players face off in a murder not-so-mystery game in which stealth is best. I love stealth, I love meaningful strategy and tactics, so this is something I have been wanting without knowing it. The story if it can be called a story is that you are aboard this time-travelling vessel and being tested in a game of “cat and mouse” against seven others, perform well and you will be chosen as the trusted assistant to the narrator. Nothing really happens after a win other than experience gains, which feels a bit anti-climactic and not worth it.
So, how do you win then? Each player throughout will be given a designated target which is referred to as your Quarry, kill them to earn favour points, just be the one with the most favour points at the end, to be the victor. It’s not quite as simple as that due the fact you could very well be one of the Quarry’s yourself and will have to out manoeuvre the hunters whilst hunting someone else. Which proves to be both an amusing and difficult task.
You can increase the amount of points you earn per kill in different ways. There are five weapons available, each with a number assigned as to how many points you gain from using them, with each kill, the numbers change which forces you to adapt or get left behind in the leaderboard. Another smart feature is the Exposure system, the more you are moving around and making a scene the more exposed you become. Whilst not exposed you can earn points dependent on the meter, if exposed then no extra points. Why is this smart? Because it stops players just running around and going mental with a weapon, if you do so, you miss out on the extra points that others could be accruing up, you may kill more people but it’s about how you do it that matters, I appreciate that, quality over quantity.
More favour will also be awarded if you are on a kill streak, using your abilities to kill, stunning a hunter before they get you and killing an exposed quarry. There are numerous factors to think about when going for the cut to black on someone. Vignettes go hand in hand with the exposure system as these are set places on the map where if you stand on them your character begins an animation as a sort of, take no notice, I’m acting casually type deal. This reduces your exposure and is the only way to reduce it. Not only that but it can be used to trick others into thinking you are one of the many NPC’s on the map, that’s right there are innocent NPC’s as well which makes it more difficult to track or be tracked.
What stops players going crazy and attacking everything in sight? Guards, that’s right, try and attack someone whilst in view of these will put you in an arrest for a brief 5-10 second moment allowing your target or hunter to get away. These guards however like a little nap sometimes which means they won’t be looking and will be unaware of your activities. This has been so incredibly well thought-out and balanced, ensuring it is a more even playing field and doesn’t turn into a troll fest, it ensures people play the way it is meant to be played.
There are four maps to jump into and for a game with only one mode, I feel there just isn’t enough to keep on going past a few hours, if that. The maps are interesting to explore for a bit but eventually you have seen everything on offer and very quickly too.
The art style was certainly on point for the type of game, more cartoon like rather than aiming for realism, it combines with the narrative and gameplay to put on this charming front. Each level matches the setting in looking like every area takes place in a ship, my favourite being the a mix between posh, high budget rooms and the barebones engineering areas.
When roaming around, killing people or being killed, even the sound has been injected with charm, the narrator is consistently commenting on what is going on and will either be approving of your journey or nicely berating you for screwing up. A nice addition that helps keep the easy going atmosphere carry on running.
Murderous Pursuits takes a fun concept and executes on delivering an equally entertaining package. The issues arise in terms of longevity and variety neither of which it excels in. The maps are fascinating, the gameplay is satisfying but I feel it all comes to an end after a few hours with no true reason for progression aside from skins. Not always the best motivator unfortunately.
OVERALL: 6.9/10 – AVERAGE
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Murderous Pursuits, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)