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Javier Reviews – An American Dream

 

An American Dream is a satirical take on the gun laws of America – It’s quite apt after recent events, and something we’ve covered previously in other articles; the game replaces every day tasks with guns such as playing catch with your dad or flipping burgers for your first job.

The gameplay is a sort of on-rails shooter, but isn’t as action fluent as something like Until Dawn: Rush of blood, but instead more like a series of mini games involving guns.

Story

In the story of this game, you’re taken through the life of an American in a dystopian world, where guns are part of everyday life, you’re introduced to your narrator who takes the form of a plastic dog, named “Buddy”, that follows you through your journey and the game’s setting is an oddball ’50s museum tour on American guns where you’re promised “a look into the future” at the end. It’s not a game driven by story, you have no choice but to follow the ongoings of this American’s gun filled life. Starting as a baby being fed by its mum (With a gun) with each stage progressing your life by a few years (Playing catch with your dad, then your first date etc.). There is constant comedy on offer which is entertaining to start with, for example there’s a questionnaire at the beginning where you can choose your race “American or American”, later on you have to “dunk the commie” in the fair, and so on. The game does have some very odd moments, such as a sex scene which is pitch black and just very loud sounds.

The story and the plastic-dog-narrator act as your reason to complete each level and do have some entertainment value. The whistle-stop tour of an American’s gun filled life is what it starts as, but what it ends up as is a fucking weird acid trip attack on Americanism and gun laws (or lack of). I’m not going to ruin anything, but the end is not what I expected and vastly different from the beginning, and for me didn’t really work. Overall, I got bored with the shit humour pretty quickly, and wished they had put in a skip button for the cutscenes and Buddy the dog’s rants. The first couple of levels are pretty funny, but it grows tiresome.

Gameplay

As mentioned above, it’s an on-rails shooter. The cart that you’re placed in takes you to one static location where the mini game takes place, always involving your guns. One nifty part of the game was how the guns are reloaded – you have to hit buttons on the side of cart, which pop out magazines you have to clip in mid-air. The only problem was that with certain weapons, clicking the magazines in mid-air didn’t work all that well, making more intense parts of the game difficult. Apart from this it’s your standard shooter affair. Each game is almost like a fun fair game, like ‘shoot the ball’, or ‘shoot the targets’ etc. The game does have other things to do, such as a dance-off where your arm movements need to match the partner and I enjoyed every game as its own thing, I actually found the burger flipping quite challenging and burnt more burgers than I wanted to! There’s also one level which is more of a no-holds-barred shoot-fest, but it doesn’t last that long. I enjoyed every mini-game but it’s definitely more of a ‘fun experience’ as opposed to a fully fledged FPS VR game.

When completing the mini games, you get money for your tasks. This money unlocks other guns, so getting a sniper rifle changes the gameplay slightly. The game definitely benefited from the change of weapons, and the level changed to suit it which I enjoyed. However, I found that no matter my setup, the tracking for a two-handed gun was always off and this ruined some of the levels that required precision with a rifle or sub-machine gun etc.

Additionally, there are ‘secret’ targets throughout the game that sometimes pass by very quickly, which I enjoyed trying to find/shoot.

The last couple of levels were much faster paced, but weird. So, so, weird and different from the mini game oddball humour that the rest of the game offers.

Graphics

The graphics are fine, but there are no real people due to the setting, so everyone you encounter is a cardboard cut-out. I enjoyed the travelling in the cart, and the way your rail ends to open on to the level, for the ‘show’ which is your game. It’s kind of cartoony and lends itself well to it as it’s supposed to be a silly museum tour in a strange world. I did wonder if the game would have been more interactive if there were real people around.

There were some videos with live action characters, but these were done on such a low-budget that I found myself wondering if the developers were taking the piss out of people who actually spend money on this.

I honestly can’t decide if I enjoyed this game or not. It’s a fun fair/mini-game collection that develops into something weirdly political. I think Samurai Punk have a huge vendetta against the American ways and are using this game as a vehicle for that opinion. I found myself wondering why I’d actually played the entire thing and I won’t be going back through it. But then again, it was a unique experience with fun minigames and some interesting gameplay.

I feel like there’s an incredible game under there, somewhere but it was muddled by gun politics and weird level settings, perhaps Samurai Punk need to set their mind to something else.

It’s about 2.5 to 3 hours long which isn’t much for £25 (£20 if you’re on PlayStation Plus). Obviously there’s a degree of re-playability, the ending actually loops you directly back around to the beginning, but I can’t imagine you’ll play this over and over.

This may be worth picking up in a sale In the future, but I wouldn’t say you need to rush to buy it.

6.5/10

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