Stealth games aren’t normally my cup of tea; I can work the stealth in any game that has stealth elements but don’t require them fully. These kinds of games deal with a kind of patience that takes trials and failures to get through sections. Most people enjoy being mindful, some do not. That’s why they play action games where they can go gung ho. On one Steam sale, I was fortunate enough to get this game and was blown away at its meticulous world and gameplay. It is truly a AAA game in an indie shell.
Echo, developed and published by Ultra Ultra, is a sci-fi action-stealth game that provides a harrowing experience where the phrase “you are your own worst enemy” is a gameplay mechanic amidst a beautiful graphical world where the horror of this station are reflections of yourself.
The story starts on a space station in the middle of nowhere, where you play a genetically modified rich girl named En seeking to find a lost civilization known as “The Palace” to help revive her grandfather Foster. With the help of a snide AI named London, En sneaks through the massive station in hopes of reviving her Grandfather, but unfortunately the station analyzes and now puts itself in the way of En’s journey. Now, with the help of London, En must survive, find what is making the machinations tick, and then get out.
Gameplay wise, Echo is a stealth game by every meaning of the word. You are trapped within this space station and survive through numerous levels and long passageways. Crouching and moving quietly are your go-to movement strategies, along with vaulting over barriers and a sprint button. Your suit can scan enemies and let you know if your echos can see you through color coded prompts. If you need it, your suit has some tools. Your suit is powered by energy cells that you can acquire throughout the game. With said cells, you’ve got the capacity to fire a limited number of bullets to dispatch enemies and push enemies aside when they grab you. Though, when you’re out, you’re out until the suit recharges at energy stations. In that case, kick enemies and run away. Even on normal difficulty, you are bombarded by enemies on walking tracks, all seeking to take you down.
What is interesting about this game is the aspect of a learning computer within the game itself. As you progress through the levels, the difficulty of the game adjusts based on your playing style. If you are purely stealth, enemies will be placed across the level in choke points to draw you out. If you are a shooter, tougher or more enemies compensate for your gung-ho actions. Make sure you’re going before the 10-15-minute intervals and then be prepared to repeat your actions. It can be repetitive, but you get better at pattern recognition in the process.
When we get very ambitious games like these, it’s a joy to see them on the market and play through. Unfortunately, with Ultra Ultra’s shut down on May 7th 2019, it is sad to see a studio flourish then die in a quick amount of time. I may not have liked the game’s genre, but I do appreciate the time and effort that went into this game. Echo is a very ambitious game and people should check it out because of its learning computer aspect. It’s a gripping story and its strong two cast members of En and London, played by Rose Leslie and Nick Boulton, makes it. Puzzles are plenty and there isn’t a ton of backtracking but repetition. When you can, buy it!
ECHO is rated M for Mature. It is available for all consoles and priced at $24.99