Runeheads / 1C Entertainment
The cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction has a history of being popular within the gaming industry. Personally, I recently re-played Deus Ex: Mankind Divided just to get my cyberpunk fix before Cyberpunk 2077 hits us like a lightning bolt from Zeus himself (or maybe Cyber-Zeus?).
A small, Italian development studio, Runeheads, has taken their stab at making a cyberpunk-themed game and they’ve done an unusual thing—combined that theme with that of a turn-based dungeon-crawler such as Legend of Grimrock. It’s an interesting and risky proposition, so how does it actually all play out?
The year is 2099 and the city of Conglomerate is experiencing some serious issues. Apparently, there’s a lot of crime going on, specifically in Sector 451. Therefore, some governmental agencies have developed a program to replicate special clones that have enhanced combat capabilities in order to pacify the criminal elements in that area.
Gameplay-wise, Conglomerate 451 is played from two different perspectives; one featuring base management and the other wandering the streets of Sector 451 and fighting bad guys and girls. Your clones are highly customizable and you can trick them out with all kinds of cybernetics and upgrades that enhance their abilities. There are a lot of options for modifying both your base as well as your individual clone operatives.
Your operatives will take on various missions in order to destabilize the criminal corporations that inhabit Sector 451. The combat itself is grid-based, so you won’t see any sort of positional tactics ala Darkest Dungeon. However, like that game, Conglomerate 451 does share some rogue-like elements in that once one of your operatives goes down, that’s it; they’re not coming back.
You can recover from injuries in the field but you’ll soon realize that your more weathered veteran combatants will eventually develop long-term traumatic issues that will affect their combat capabilities. You can attempt to rehabilitate these conditions, but that means that you’ll have to utilize less-experienced operatives while your veterans are on the mend.
One of the things that I noticed right off the bat is that Conglomerate 451 does follow the typical Bladerunner theme, both visually and aurally. So, expect to see lots of darkness and rain, and of course, neon lights that pulsate so brightly they seem like they could produce seizures.
Another thing that I quickly realized was that the game’s developers didn’t hire anyone to do any basic English editing. While reading the game’s myriad text boxes of dialogue and a multitude of menus, I saw some really elementary English errors that diminish the game’s sense of immersion.
When it comes to Conglomerate 451’s visuals, while I didn’t expect for such a small development team to wow anyone with cutting edge graphics, games that still utilize the Unity Engine are usually pretty lackluster when it comes to looks. Conglomerate 451 is no exception and although some of the character models are decent, the environments suffer from some pretty bland-looking textures.
Conglomerate 451 is a game that is obviously still suffering from growing pains. However, with the right development (frankly, it needs a lot more), it could turn into yet another Steam Early Access success story. Only time will tell if the developers can turn this lump of cyber-coal into a cyber-diamond.
Conglomerate 451 has some pretty decent looking graphics that make its cyberpunk gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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