Internal Vigilance

by Simon Christiansen profile

Science Fiction

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Thought-provoking, July 5, 2010

Internal Vigilance is an extremely thought-provoking game Ė one where every action and its possible impact should be thought through twice. It starts out routinely enough: You are an agent for The Agency, which serves The Union, which apparently restricts the peopleís freedom in exchange for keeping them protected. You are tasked with interrogating a terrorist suspect. At first I was intrigued with the many conversation possibilities for this interrogation. However, thatís the one part of the game that left me disappointed. The suspect appears to be well-characterized in the beginning, but some of his actions become a little perplexing when he breaks very abruptly. From the initial impression I got of this NPC, I expected the interrogation scene to be a bit lengthier. It seemed as if the author was trying to move the story along faster than it would move naturally in favor of the events that are waiting for the player in the next few chapters of the game.

That speeding up of the first scene turned out to be at least partially justified, because the events after it are indeed worth exploring in more detail. In the beginning of the next scene, I got the impression that Internal Vigilance was trying to give itself a surreal feel, where none was necessary. Fortunately, I was mistaken. What I mistook for a surreal, little gimmick is actually a clever metaphor and plot device. In fact, at the conclusion of the game you will learn just how much your choices during this part affect the outcome. Throughout Internal Vigilance, there are many choices that will drastically affect your ending and there were times where I stared at the screen for a few minutes before making one of those choices.

Unfortunately, there are some implementation errors in Internal Vigilance. They donít take away from the general enjoyment of the game, but they did annoy me a bit in the beginning.

>Take papers
The desk it too heavy for that.

Little errors like that made me think that the author didnít care enough to iron out the game before publishing it. In fact, there are even some minor grammar mistakes and typos that could have been fixed with a thorough read-through. But all of those mistakes can be forgiven, because the premise of the game serves as a brilliant, thought-provoking experiment into concepts like freedom, government stability, and patriotism. There are nine endings in total and each ending is affected by the little choices the PC makes as a solitary agent. And those little choices sometimes affect the entire structure of the world around the PC.

Internal Vigilance made me think Ė really think deeply before each step in the game. Going through the story didnít feel effortless or instinctive. Every action was deliberate and laced with a small amount of bitterness for all the doors that closed when one opened. This isnít a game for a lunch break or a relaxing afternoon. This one has a high replay value and you might find yourself going back and back and back and frantically trying to change your responses to change the final outcome.

But no one outcome feels completely victorious. There is always that one grain of doubt in every ending that makes you want to go back and change things for the better. And I loved that about Internal Vigilance.