1979 The revolution finally finds its way to consoles after being available on PC and mobile platforms. Based on the actual real life event of the 1979 Islamic revolution or ‘Iranian Revolution’.
Our story follows the journey of photojournalist ‘Reza Shirazi’ as he interprets and tries to survive the events of the Iranian Revolution. Particularly that of the famously deadly ‘Black Friday’, an event that would be pivotal in ending any compromise between the two sides and what would eventually lead to the King or ‘Shah’ of Iran being overthrown and replaced by an Islamic Democracy.
Release date: July/August 2018 depending on format
Developer: iNK Stories
Genre: Single Player Interactive Story/Drama
Reviewed on PS4, also available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC
Anyone familiar with the ‘Telltale’ line of interactive stories/drama’s will feel instantly at home here playing 1979, with the game borrowing heavily from the framework and gameplay designs that the series has become renowned for.
Players take control of our principle protagonist ‘Reza’, who throughout the 3 to 4 hours of gameplay must make differing responses (depending on the player’s preference) to the varying NPC’s and situations that he encounters.
These responses can be static or times and can vary from simple yes/no’s to more complex, morally ambiguous decisions that will see either the player take a ‘pacifist’ or ‘aggressive’ stance.
These decisions will ultimately affect the player’s perception of the revolution and also the games NPC’s perception and interactions with the player. A very familiar mechanic of ‘X will remember that’ flashes in the top left hand corner when you have encountered such a scenario.
Players will also be familiar with the ‘Quick Time events’ or ‘QTE’s’ that the game employs in its action sequences. Though sadly these events are few and far between.
Throughout the revolution, the player is also encouraged to take photographs (After all, you are an aspiring photojournalist) of the unfolding events and varies NPC’s.
These photographs will usually offer up further backstory to the revolution and help add some meat to the bones of what would otherwise be an incredibly quick affair. Which is very much needed as some of the 19 chapters will literally take the player less than 2 minutes to complete.
1979 utilises the familiar ‘Unity’ game engine for its graphics display, a stalwart game engine and favourite among developers for versatility.
Again you would almost be forgiven in thinking that the developers had used Telltales ‘Telltale tool’, such are the remarkable similarities between the titles.
Sadly, these similarities come with the same criticism of the Telltale series of games in that they are beginning to look incredibly dated next to some more ‘current gen’ offerings.
I also encountered a few bugs that resulted in fatal crashes of the game. These usually occurred when I tried to use the PS4’s share button for captures (in order to do this review) and resulted in my having to restart the current chapter.
On boot up 1979 will advise the players that the game is optimised as a headphone experience. If you are fortunate enough to own a decent gaming headset then I would advise that you take advantage.
The developers, iNK have done a decent job of utilising stereo sound to really immerse the player and have them feeling like they are part of a large crowd, especially in the street scene chapters. It’s just a shame that these are few and far between.
Finally, characters are also well voiced and come across as emotive when delivering their lines in what is an incredibly turbulent piece of human history.
For me, given the emotive story topic (I’m wanting to stay spoiler free here) I feel they could have spent a little longer on character development. The story and chapters whizz along at such a pace that you never really get to the nitty-gritty and backstory of what is driving many of the characters to take part in the revolution, I found myself asking, ‘so why is X involved with Y‘.
It feels like a missed opportunity since many of them are superbly acted and realised on screen. For me, the game could have done with a slower pacing that would have allowed the NPC’s to flourish and develop, as the rushed character backgrounds make the pivotal story decisions almost a non-event.
Overall, 1979 The Revolution is a decent attempt at the ‘interactive story’ genre and will provide a decent enough experience for players that are a fan of these type of games. It will also please achievement/trophy hunters for its straightforward completions.
1979 The Revolution: Black Friday£9.49
- Thought provoking source material
- Easy completion for achievement/trophies
- Some chapters feel rushed
- Graphics engine looks tired
- Game crashed a few times
- Potential to be incredibly short