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A haunting piece of humanity, April 24, 2010
This is one of those games that you either love or hate. Personally, I loved every word of it. The PC is a doctor euthanizing patients in a hospital amid a widespread outbreak of smallpox. The atmosphere is colorless and numb – a fitting metaphor for the numbness one feels after being injected with antibiotics. The game moves at a perfect pace, allowing the player to mull about the hospital and take everything in before continuing on.
Mercy makes you think about death, humanity, life and yes…even love. The prose really pulls on the heart strings and combined with the subject matter, it makes the game almost too painful to play. I know that this may sound terribly sentimental, but at one point I could feel tears gathering in my eyes. There are so many directions this game can go and I wouldn’t say that there is really a “winning” ending. There are several endings which I would consider a better outcome for the PC than others, but ultimately it’s interesting to try out every branch of the story and read every ending.
There are moments of Mercy that are truly haunting – presenting death in a way that is beyond a corpse or an illness. Mercy deals with the death of the soul – a complete lack of feeling in the PC that becomes quite alarming toward the middle of the game.
Puzzle-wise, Mercy is nothing special. There are no puzzles, per-say – only choices. The game progresses at a set pace, giving the player the option of making certain choices in the process. The thing is – those choices actually matter. Every little choice you make will impact the ending you get in some way.
I strongly recommend that you play through Mercy several times to really get the full experience. The imagery sets the scene perfectly, but to get the full story, it’s best to visit all the locations and examine everything available. You won’t be able to do that all in one play-though.
But be warned: the theme of death is a very prominent one in the game and you should not play it unless you can handle the emotional impact. And believe me, there is an impact.