hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Analogue: A Hate Story

Review: Analogue: A Hate Story

5:00 PM on 02.14.2012 // Daniel Starkey

Analogue: A Hate Story is a sci-fi visual novel taking place thousands of years in the future. It has a strong pedigree, coming from the mind of Christine Love, a well-regarded figure in the English-language visual novel/interactive fiction scene, who also created Digital: A Love Story and don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story.

Full disclosure: I’ve never really played (read?) a visual novel. So take everything you’re about to read with eight grains of salt. It’s entirely possible that I don’t “get it”. Keeping that in mind, was my experience with Analogue a tale of love or of hate? Hit the jump to find out.

Analogue: A Hate Story (PC)
Developer: Christine Love
Publisher: Christine Love
Released: February 2, 2012 
MSRP: $15
Rig: Intel i7-820QM @3.06 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 480M GPU

As a game, Analogue is nothing if not minimal. The interactive components primarily consist of a few given commands and binary dialogue trees. Beyond that, narrative is constructed through diaries and epistles of the long-dead former inhabitants of the generation ship, Mugunghwa. The player enters over 600 years after the last of the crew died, and is tasked with reconstructing the events surrounding their last days on the ship.

As you pore through text, you can occasionally call for assistance from one of the ship’s two AIs. They each have very different perspectives, and to get all of the content you will need to carefully balance the two occasionally playing them off of one another. Additionally, at some point you will need to interact with the ship's override terminal. This allows you to reallocate power, control the AI programs and ultimately download and/or transmit the data stored on the derelict vessel.

Immediately a great sense of purpose is established and the gentle, non-intrusive soundtrack harnesses and cultivates that initial sense of intrigue to create a solid backdrop for a decent albeit heavy-handed mystery novel.

I came into this with virtually no expectations other than a science-fiction story about transhumanism, traditional marriage, and loneliness. And while each of them is present, all of the moral complexity and subtlety of these issues are never explored, effectively reducing each issue to one or two words. The pieces of exposition are expertly woven together, but the complexity of the ship’s political factions and the interactions between the characters are lost with a shotgun blast of names. There are a few guides within the game to help, but I still ended up taking quite a few notes.

An initially intelligent, "enlightened," and well-read crew was mysteriously wiped out and supplanted with a damn-near illiterate populace that desperately holds to rigid class and gender roles. The new social paradigm is heavily influenced by the structure of feudal Korea. Patently offensive to most modern audiences, these circumstances are used to elicit sympathy from the audience for a woman initially known only as the "Pale Bride." It’s difficult to say much without giving away some pretty massive spoilers, but I felt like much of this set-up was established merely to pluck at my heart strings. While successfully and superficially well-executed, it is clumsy and I think a great opportunity to address issues of gender equality was lost here.

Other themes "explored" by the work are side-stepped in much the same manner. Cosplay is, for example, mentioned, but not really discussed. The result is a well-written system of alluding to conditions and social phenomena, with no analysis or reflection. Comedy, by contrast, is plentiful, and serves to help redeem the work.

There are a couple of romantic options for the player to take, though neither feels particularly believable. The player is effectively silent, and the two potential love interests are more caricatures than anything that would resemble a relatable human being. When sexuality is brought up through the examination of crew logs, it is tragic; however, when the AI reflects upon the diaries, it comes off as cheap fan service. Neither relationship is tangible, nor does their inclusion do anything but detract from the work as a whole.

My first run of Analogue took me about five hours. There are a total of five endings though, and the other four took me another six hours to navigate. There is some trial and error to unlocking certain sequences, but they all fit together well.

Analogue is a really mixed bag. When I hear the word "transhumanism" I immediately think of a jungle of moral quandaries and reflections upon the interplay between class, technology, human nature, and our future as a species. I came in expecting Deus Ex and instead I got a politically milder, sexually-charged Phoenix Wright. It isn’t great but it isn’t awful either.

To its credit, Analogue’s non-linear story does take some thought, and the journey is worth it, if only to resolve the dramatic tension sparked by the introduction. The legitimate questions that are raised are answered quickly by the author, apparently discouraging audience reflection. What is here is solid, but superficial.

My feelings about Analogue are nuanced. For every thing Love nails, there's another place where the experience falls short. The middle stretch doesn't live up to the standard set by the intro, but the finale is just satisfying enough to even it all out. If I had to sum up the whole game in one word, it would be "ehhhhhhhh". Don't take it personally, but this just ain't my story.




Analogue: A Hate Story - Reviewed by Daniel Starkey
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Daniel Starkey, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dcstarkey Tips
Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Game... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img]
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Anyone else getting massive lag in between games of the Battlefront Beta? I'm running an AMD rig so it might be that but just want to know it's not just me.
Shinta avatarShinta
1 hour stream of Dragon Quest Heroes.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Plague Knight is pretty rad, even when represented by mediocre artists [img][/img]
Shinta avatarShinta
Initial impressions: Chibi-Robo Zip lash is pretty damn fun so far. It's like Mr. Mosquito + Castlevania + Umihara. Controls are spot on, platforming is actually very solid so far, and the characters are about as charming as they can get. +amiibo.
nanashi avatarnanashi
Question: Is resident evil nemesis supposed to start off with a toolbox that has (unlimited) ink ribbon, 250 handgun ammo, magnum (w/ammo), shotgun (w/ammo) and two assault clips, in the first room of the game?????
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] Much want. Such need. Ow.
Shinta avatarShinta
[img][/img] Can you imagine if greedy aliens stole all YOUR snacks? I don't even know how I'd handle it honestly. I don't even want to think about it.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Great. YouTube took down my nude re - enactment of She-Wolf. Again. Fuck you Shakira. Let my art shine.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
BREAKING: Inner city man and "Pokemon Go" enthusiast found dead after entering rival gang's territory. "All he wanted was a Shiny Charizard!" according to an interview with a close friend. "We found him on the street, limp as a Magikarp stuck on a beach."
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I completely forgot that Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow had an animated opening. Other than the compression, it actually looks really good today, and makes me wonder why Konami didn't commission some sort of Castlevania anime. That would have been sweet.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Gamestop has Splatoon amiibo up, if that's your thing. Totally didn't order and just cancel mine.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone else having issues with italics in blogs? I went to save a draft, and when it loaded the post-saving creature I was working on, the entire text had been italicized and I now am unable to change it back. I've been possessed!
So that's $50 for the season pass on top of the game already costing sixty at launch, plus the monthly subscription fee for playing online on consoles. All in the name of getting the full experience! VYDEO_GEAMEZ!!
BroskiTheChocobo avatarBroskiTheChocobo
Why hello there. My name is Broski and I am new here so be nice. I'll be posting some content over the next few days so have a read and I hope you enjoy it. Broski out.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
tired but I gotta work. Would rather play more MGS5.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Races have been pretty intense, and the last Moto3 race in MotoGP 14 should have been too. Emphasis on the word [i]should[/i]. The AI riders ignored infringements in the last race, meaning everyone was disqualified except me. Derp.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Been playing MotoGP 14 on my Vita. A bit buggy (some menus you need to press circle to go back, then cross to select to proceed, otherwise nothing happens. And motorcycling helmets riding motorcycles in-race), but I've got the sweet spot in difficulty.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Daily VGM #21 (Witcher 1) - Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher 3) [youtube][/youtube] I think this theme does a fantastic job capturing the feel of The Witcher 3. Epic, but also somber at times.
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Sorry to shamelessly self-promote, but I wanted to share a piece that went up over the weekend with ya'll Hopefully it's an enjoyable read! [url][/url]
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Analogue: A Hate Story

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -