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 moderators, 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

Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
What is the Dtoid chat room?
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 -