Identity V mixes a thrilling 1v4 survival gameplay with Coraline-esque aesthetics on steroids. Created by NetEase, a Chinese game developer company famous for mobile hits such as Rules of Survival and Knives Out, just released another awesome mobile game fairly recently. Right off the bat, the game’s most striking quality is its graphics: one look at the characters and setting will already give you the creeps.
(Warning: this post contains plot spoilers!)
From what I’ve seen so far, it looks like the story mode is integrated into the gameplay itself: you have to follow the detective’s narrative in order to uncover the plot and unlock different characters. As you progress, you gain access to more features of the game such as customizing survivor/hunter traits, items trading and in-game chat features.
Though reminiscent of Dead by Daylight, Identity V holds its own ground when it comes to several fronts: story, aesthetics, and gameplay. Due to the addition of a story feature, it feels like you are watching an interactive movie. You start off as a detective investigating a girl’s mysterious disappearance.
I appreciate the “foolproof-ness” of the game, it’s pretty easy to follow along with the preliminary instructions. The visuals are really praise-worthy. At over 700mb, you wouldn’t expect something as good as this. Larger games such as Mortal Kombat X or Injustice pale in comparison to Identity V in terms of graphics and design. This looks like something you would usually play on a PC or console.
The game starts off with you playing as a detective, investigating the disappearance of a young girl. As you piece together bits and pieces of the case, you discover more about the detective’s past as well: that his “memory loss” wasn’t what he thought it was, it’s his darker alter ego resurfacing. Turns out, the detective himself is just as interesting as the mystery he was trying to solve.
The story mode’s main gameplay stems from the detective putting himself in the survivor’s shoes, this is where you first get a taste of being hunted down while you decode cyphers and search for the exit. The next “tutorial” features a chance to play as the hunter.
And finally, I love this touch of creativity when the detective was telling his backstory and the art style changed–indicating that this is some kind of a flashback.
I only have two gripes with this game: the loading time and the controls. Even though the game’s instructions are pretty comprehensive, the controls itself can use a little bit more improvement. Running and looking around the “arena” is really straining to the eyes, even for people who are used to playing fps games. Walls and even small obstacles are difficult to walk around in, but this may be intended in the design to present a challenge to the players. This doesn’t justify the flaws in the game’s controls that make it harder to walk or run around obstacles.
Regarding the loading time, I could’ve given this game a perfect score if it wasn’t for the hassle of booting up the game every single time. Since the game is relatively new, expect a lot of patch notes that need to be downloaded every now and then. Identity V doesn’t show mercy on lower-end phones with a small RAM, as the game’s assets can get really taxing.
There are also minor flaws that I think are worth pointing out, such as some subtitles (the detective’s lines) changing too fast and small typographical errors. I can’t tell whether this was because of a limitation in translation or if the game was on a strict deadline that they didn’t have the time to polish it. There are lines in the game that are not voiced but are part of the detective’s narration: you can’t expect anyone to read more than two sentences in under a second, especially when the text itself is too small. It felt like I was missing out on the story because I couldn’t read some of the subtitles. But like I said, these errors are pretty minor, considering that the game is originally in Chinese, and the best I can think of is it probably reads better in its native language.
In conclusion, Identity V is a great game. Probably one of the best that I’ve played so far. NetEase really outdid themselves with this one. From the presentation down to the user experience it offers, it’s surprising that this game is actually for free. I hope that in the coming months or years to come, as more players discover and enjoy the game, the small kinks in the system will already be fixed. I can see Identity V as the next big thing in mobile gaming, and I hope I’m right.
Identity V is currently available for free on Google Playstore and the Apple App Store.