Cbilab VR Studios is a Turkish based company hoping to put out their first game, Manmade, in May 2019. I say hoping because it is going to be an episodic game consisting of five chapters and Cbilab is going to be having a Kickstarter for season one on May 31. All of this information was a little hard to decipher. As I said, they are a Turkish based company so I am using Google Translate to read their website and sometimes it just does not make sense.
Everything I know about Manmade’s story I took from the website as well. The demo does not get into it at all. This is not necessarily a criticism, just something I noticed. Maybe they want to play their cards close to their chest until they get closer to the date of the Kickstarter campaign launching. Or maybe this was the only section of the game that was playable in any way. I do not know and I’m not here to theorize but it did feel like I was dropped into the middle of someone else’s save file.
From what I can gather, Manmade will be a science fiction, adventure game taking place in the year 2050. Artificial intelligence is on the verge of taking over. One of the playable characters, William Kaan, may have had a hand in making AI what it has become. The other playable character is a woman named Anika but she was not playable in the demo and the website does not get into much detail about her.
The Demo Itself
An opulent, glass hallway is the first sight to greet you once you launch the demo for Manmade. After finally discovering how to get the demo to play, this lovely image was my reward. A long hallway with windows on all sides and light shining through at every angle. It’s interesting now, looking back on it, how this static image differs so distinctly from the rest of the demo.
The image of the hallway is tarnished by a prompt to press E to start. Once I do, I am transported without any transition at all, to a room full of tall, futuristic looking, data servers. I know that’s what they are because as soon as the scene starts the character I’m in control of (I recognize him from the website as William Kaan) makes a comment about having to find the right server.
I begin to walk Kaan around the room and I am suddenly very aware of the camera placement. Manmade is going to be VR compatible so it would make sense that it would have strange camera control when not playing it in virtual reality but it felt very unnecessary. It reminded me of the camera placement in the original Resident Evil series. I felt like I was controlling a security camera. Or Lakitu in Super Mario 64 but he got stuck in a corner.
Kaan has the ability to send out a ping that will highlight any important details in the room. It’s a very useful power to have in an adventure game like this but it seems to be tied to where the camera is facing and with the bad camera controls it’s not nearly as powerful as it could be.
Using the ping power, Kaan finds a cigar butt on the ground next to one of the servers. He scans it for DNA (which is something he can do I guess) and discovers it belonged to a coworker named Marcus. And if Marcus was down here he must have had something to do with the servers. Now, I still don’t know who Marcus is or what Kaan wants to find out with this server. But at least now I have a lead!
So Many Servers…
Kaan determines that whatever server was being tampered with will probably be overheating so now he begins pinging for that. This is the most interesting part of the demo. There are several servers that are overheating but only one is the correct one. It’s pretty fun trying to figure out which one is correct. My complaint about this section is that if you fail, it sends you all the way back to the beginning of the demo. There are also two servers that are exactly the same. Unless I missed something, I just ended up guessing.
Once Kaan finds the server that was being tampered with, he downloads some data off of it and an alarm is triggered. A security guard comes in and then you have to perform a thousand quick time events to escape. The window of time you have to perform these quick time events is so small it’s just cruel. I restarted this section multiple times but luckily there is a checkpoint here so it is not that bad.
After that, Kaan is still stopped by the guard but he recognizes Kaan as his boss and asks what he is doing down here. Two choices pop up and you have to choose fast to talk your way out of it. I chose randomly and correctly my first time so I do not know if there is a fail state at that point in the game.
I did not enjoy my time playing the demo for Manmade. It was not well voice acted. It did not control very well. I had no idea what was happening and I still don’t. However, none of that really matters in this particular case. This is a game that, if all goes well, will be released episodically. They have barely started working on one fifth of this game. Of course it is going to be rough!
I keep thinking back to that image of the hallway. The gorgeous glass hallway with light shining in on all sides. The image is ruined as soon as you press E to start. I think that’s what this game is. It’s gorgeous, bright and full of potential but right now it’s just an image. It could be something truly great or it could just be more quick time events.
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- THE GOOD
- Cool powerset
- We need more adventure games!
- THE BAD
- Quick time events
- The voice acting
The demo for Manmade will leave you with more questions than answers about the final product. Hopefully, due to the late release date of the game, the full game will be better than the demo.