Hidden Agenda for PS4 PlayLink review: Choose carefully or suffer the consequences
A convicted serial killer says that he didn't commit the crimes that he confessed to 5 years ago. First responders are being murdered via booby traps left on bodies. And a corrupted city that has too many secrets to keep. Hidden Agenda is a cinematic adventure game that has you unraveling interconnected mysteries to get to the truth about a serial killer. It's also one of the first Sony PlayLink titles, which requires a companion smartphone app to play.
Will you make the right choices to find the truth?
While you control a variety of different characters during the events of Hidden Agenda, they're all following clues of the story. Five years ago a serial killer was caught red-handed with a victim and put behind bars. With only 48 hours until his execution though, the convicted murderer is claiming that he didn't actually do any of what he had confessed to.
Your job is to try and hunt down the truth and figure out what was actually going on five years ago. Hidden Agenda is a cinematic adventure game, which means that your choices in investigation and conversation will set the story on its path. In many games from this genre, not every choice matters so much.
That isn't the case here though. Every choice that you make, from whether you are aggressive in conversation to which locales you investigate first, will affect what comes next. Depending on these choices, you may end up skipping entire chunks of the game, or even ending the game early. There are multiple endings, and while I've beaten the game in about 90 minutes I know for a fact that I ended it early with a bad choice.
The story is gripping, weaving together a tragic past, human errors, and a corrupt city into a tale that will have you trying to figure out exactly what is going on while you play.
While a significant amount of the gameplay in Hidden Agenda is based on conversation choices, there are also two different type of mini-games that you'll run into. When investigating scenes related to the crimes in the game, there is a hidden object game, and you'll run into quick time events that require you to react quickly to avoid unpleasant consequences.
Searching for clues in crime scenes is easily one of the most important aspects of the game. When this feature triggers, you'll see three items at the top of the screen that you ought to be aiming to find. These clues can be photos of characters, pieces of technology, and in one case, the way into a hidden room. These clues are important to uncovering exactly what is going on in the city, and while not finding one doesn't mean that the game is over, they are handy for picking away at the threads that connect everyone in the story.
The quick time events will trigger on your screen when certain things happen. You might need to avoid a punch from a suspect, vault over a table, or block an attack from an intruder. In all of these cases, you'll see a box appear on the screen, and need to move your cursor inside of it in order to succeed. You'll also see this square appear when you are given the chance to shoot as suspects, although shooting isn't always the correct path to take if you want the truth.
In all of these cases, the controls for the game are located on your phone. This is a Sony PlayLink game, which means that your phone is your controller for all of the action. Thankfully the controls are pretty easy to grasp, and primarily consist of moving your cursor into the appropriate place on the screen in a short amount of time. It makes things a bit more challenging, but still, plenty of fun, making this a game that is easy to pick up whether you are a gamer or not.
Great solo or in a group
While PlayLink games are really made for a group environment, Hidden Agenda was a ton of fun both solo and with other players. In Solo mode, it's much closer to a movie experience, while playing with your friends makes it much more competitive.
With other players that are added features like knocking the choices of other players out of the running by using a Takedown. You earn these in-game by completing actions such as finding clues during minigame sessions. When there are multiple players each person will also receive a Hidden Agenda which they must try to complete by steering the choices that are undertaken in the game.
Fun and replayable
Hidden Agenda deliver a fun game whether you're playing solo for the story, or with a group for a more competitive experience. It delivers a great story, beautiful visuals, and gameplay that is easy to control with your phone. If you enjoy cinematic games or choose your own adventure style stories, then this is a game that ought to be right up your alley. Best of all it's available for just $19.99 which means it's well worth the price tag.
- Gorgeous realistic graphics
- Easy to understand controls
- Plenty of access to in-game information via the companion
- Replay value can get frustrating when trying to reach a specific result.
- Lag on your wi-fi network can cause issues in game
- Get your cursor to smaller quick time events can be frustratingly difficult
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Jen is a staff writer who spends her time researching the products you didn't know you needed. She's also a fantasy novelist and has a serious Civ VI addiction. You can follow her on Twitter.
Why all the PS4 love on an Android site? Don't get it? But hey
Because it's PS4 PlayLink. Game runs on PS4 but is controlled via smartphone or tablet.
Yeah but there's an awful lot of PS4 love for an android site is all I was saying, nothing against PS4, but leave it, and XBone where they belong
Also PS4 is great.