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The number one comment whenever I look up the community posts of Anshar Studios’ Gamedec is, “please don’t be like Cyberpunk 2077“.  Well, it’s not like one has anything to do with the other. Aside from the common cyberpunk setting, Gamedec is nothing like Cyberpunk 2077. One is an open-world action game with RPG elements, and the other is a focused detective RPG without a combat system. So people mistaking Gamedec to be a traditional open-world combat-heavy cyberpunk can stop reading right now. Now, with that out of my system, let’s talk (spoiler-free) about Gamedec.

Similar to Disco Elysium, Gamedec is a narrative-heavy detective RPG in which you progress not with fisticuffs but with a silver tongue. Unlike Disco Elysium, it’s a lot more compact and a comparatively linear affair. So the gist of the game is that it’s the 22nd century and you play as a Gamedec – a detective who handles frauds, crimes, and conspiracies committed in virtual worlds. The main draw of the game is that not only will you get to explore all the usual cyberpunk themes like AI, anarchy, corporate corruption, class disparity, etc., but you’ll also get to explore original virtual worlds as a digital denizen, kind of like in Ready Player One or The Matrix. The game is based on the works of Marcin Sergiusz Przybyłek, a Polish writer who also served as a consultant helping with the dialogues and lore entries (that shows!).

So now that you have a brief idea as to what the game is about, let’s see how it plays. Much like any good RPG, you’ll get to create your custom avatar as you start a new game. You can select your appearance and also choose from two origins (high city or low city) as well as values that will dictate your starting skill points. You then wake up in your apartment in the megapolis of Warsaw City and it’s business from there.

I mentioned earlier that Gamedec is a more linear RPG. The way this works is that the main story is structured around Virtualiums, self-contained digital worlds that you go into to solve cases. The first full Virtualium you’ll visit is the one they showcased in the demo – Twisted & Perverted, a no-holds-barred hive of perversion and pleasure. Once you complete your objectives in a Virtualium, you can go back to the real world and wait for the rest of the story to unfold. Sadly, you cannot explore these Virtualiums as and when you please. The story unravels in a linear fashion where you’ll only be granted access to worlds one after the other. You can not leave the Virtualium before finishing the mission, nor will you be able to revisit them. Within each Virtualium, there are side missions to complete, people to meet, and (limited) places to explore.

The Virtualiums are what sets Gamedec apart from other RPGs. Each world you visit is unique thematically and has its own rules. These worlds are filled with meta references and easter eggs and often take jabs at the malpractices in the video game industry. My favorite has to be High Noon – a frontier town that functions as the main hub for the MMORPG Harvestime. There, you can buy your own farm, plant crops, level up, ironically grind for loot boxes, hit paywalls, and do some really fun side quests. By the time I was done with the game, I was longing for more of these. This brings me to my main criticism of the game—the length. I was able to complete my first playthrough in just over 7 hours. Though I did rush the last Virtualium a bit, I can see people 100%ing a single playthrough at 10 hours. The replayability factor definitely negates some of this but still, I just wish there were one or two more Virtualiums to explore. On the plus side, since the Virtualiums give the devs a reason to create whatever wacky shit they want, the potential for content updates is huge. Speaking of digital worlds, am I blind because I didn’t find the Cthulhu-inspired Virtualium that was promised as a stretch goal.

Since you’re a detective, the main gameplay loop revolves around that. You enter a Virtualium, gather clues then make a deduction which, in turn, branches into multiple outcomes for the current case as well as the overarching story. What’s great is that, even though it doesn’t take a genius to piece clues together, the game rarely holds your hand and there’s a chance of making the wrong deduction that makes some opportunities invalid while opening up the path to new ones. It’s this narrative freedom that makes Gamedec enjoyable. There are so many options to choose from in each section of each case, resulting in a highly replayable campaign. I do wish some of the early deductions were a bit less obvious though as I was able to figure out the correct solutions to most problems without gathering all the clues.

Gamedec‘s role-playing elements come in the form of choosing what kind of detective you want to be. There are four main attributes you should pay attention to, each alluding to a particular psychological profile. They roughly translate to aggressive, stoic, logical, and empathetic. You can approach conversations in different manners – depending on how you behave with people, you’ll get points under the respective attribute. You can use these points to opt into what the game calls ‘professions’. These are various skills that open up new dialogue options and paths to solve cases. Since you won’t be able to acquire all skills in one playthrough, it’s better to plan ahead and role-play what kind of detective you want to be. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward system but it works well.

Since this review is spoiler-free I’m not going to explicitly talk about story elements. Is the story good? Yeah, I suppose it is. The immense amount of lore the game provides is Deus Ex level. Every time you interact with something, chances are, a new entry will pop up in your codex. You’ll find more than enough info on the world, corporations, digital worlds, characters, technology, and more in it. However, I found that the more the story progressed, the more predictable and generic it got. Maybe it’s because I expected something different from a cyberpunk RPG and all I got were themes and story beats that’ve been done to death before. I have similar complaints about the characters as well. The hero is an uninteresting vessel used to carry the narrative forward and I can’t recall meeting even a single interesting character in the game. I guess Disco Elysium has ruined RPGs for me. When all is said and done, the self-contained stories in the Virtualium kept my interest throughout the run time.

Visually, the game looks very competent and all the characters are well-animated. There’s so much detail put into the environments and the same can be said of the character models. The review build did not have any voice acting, though I’m told that the final game will feature some. The game ran at a locked 144 fps on my 3070 and there are even a few graphics options to tweak, including AMD’s FSR. The game did have this annoying bug where I was unable to progress through dialogues as the ‘continue’ button stopped working. The only way to resolve this was to load an earlier game and avoid that specific dialogue option. Thankfully this bug didn’t affect any crucial NPCs. As always, this could be fixed in the launch version.

Real Talk

Gamedec is a short but highly enjoyable detective RPG with unique locations to explore, crimes to solve and a shitload of lore to absorb. The choice-driven story, along with the chance to explore meta digital worlds makes Gamedec a must-buy. If you’ve played the demo, then you’ll get a few more hours of that exact experience with the full release.


The following is a shameless theft of our boss Ayush’s review scoring system:

With less time and more wisdom at our disposal, he has decided to create a whole new rating system for games we review: How many nights a week will we stay up after 11 PM 1 AM, once our family has gone to sleep on a workday and spend 2 hours with it, knowing full well that we need to enter the rat race at 8 AM the next morning? Well on that scale, we give Gamedec:

“Two consecutive playthroughs then don’t touch it until new content drops”

PS: What a fantastic month for RPGs!



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