REVIEW: Hacker Evolution Duality

Jan
03

REVIEW: Hacker Evolution Duality

A game with many ideas with bad implementation. Hacker Evolution Duality doesn’t feel like a hacking game with its “new features”.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: Simulation, Hacking
Developer: exosyphen studios
Publisher: exosyphen studios
Release date: 16 Aug, 2011

Intro

As a fan of hacking games, Hacker Evolution Duality catches my eye; it looks like other hacking games at first glance despite its negative reviews. I ended up giving it a chance after some careful consideration, but is it as bad as other people say? More on the review.

Graphics

It might not be a surprise for a hacking game, but there isn’t much to boast in terms of graphics. There is a good-looking image on the screen with some buttons and information that you can use. The interface is easy to understand although the buttons might overwhelm you at first with their number.

Story

The story is told in a chunk of text before you start each level. It’s mostly there for the sake of the game though and the ending doesn’t seem to make sense. It is not the main selling point of the game after all so it’s not much of a surprise.

The Game

Hacking

Unlike other hacking games, you won’t be hacking with your console. The game has a console feature but its functionality is limited – you can’t even use it to connect to a server. Hacking can be done as simple as clicking on a server and pressing some buttons, which also have keyboard shortcuts that you can use. Most hacking tools will require you to do some minigames and half of them are time-consuming as you need to find a lot of numbers that are shown on the screen. Sometimes I even wonder whether I was playing a hacking game or a puzzle game because of this.

Number hunting is needed to finish some hacks.

Attacking Servers

Although most servers are docile, some servers will become hostile when you hack them. They will keep on attacking you several times for a certain time and there’s no way to stop or defend the attack. Your Integrity, which works the same as HP in RPG games, will be reduced after each attack and you’ll get a game over screen once it reaches zero. You can increase Integrity with money, but sadly, money is limited. This makes every level that has hostile AI in it require trial and error as you need to make sure that you do the correct decision quickly to finish the level.

Objectives

Each level requires you to finish some objectives to move to the next level. You can get the gist of it from the information that is provided before you start a level and the messages that you’ll receive after you start the game. Strangely, both of them tend to not be clear enough; there were times where I had to check the objectives screen to see which one that I missed. All objectives are also listed on the objectives screen from the start that it becomes useless to check the in-game message afterward.

You need to have a certain understanding of the game to understand some of the objectives. Some objectives can also be lost completely, making it impossible to finish the level. Although this sounds impossible at first, it happened to me a few times at the first level because the tutorial isn’t clear enough to explain the basic mechanic.

Length and Difficulty

The story mode has 7 levels with 3 difficulties: easy, normal, and hard. I’m not sure what’s the difference between each difficulty is, but I finished the game at 4.9h in the easy difficulty. Strangely, the game becomes easier as you are further in the game since you only need to do the time-consuming minigames at the later levels.

The game also has an “Open World” mode where you have to attack other AI servers until there is only one left standing. However, I lost interest after playing it once. You have a cooldown between attacks and you can’t defend nor stop any attacks that are coming to you. Moreover, there is no notification whenever you got attacked except the small green text on the upper side. The AI also seems to have a wicked speed that my money is stolen as soon as I finished stealing money to my server.

It’s hard to know when an enemy is attacking your server.

Problems

The game will close the game if you alt-tab in full screen. There is an option to start the game in windowed mode, but it’s locked at 1200×800 resolution and the text is very hard to read at that size. I ended up changing my screen resolution to fit the windowed screen size to play it, but some buttons at the bottom row are cropped because of this. Strangely, these buttons were hidden when I did this for the first time, making it hard for me to understand how the game works since I didn’t know some functionalities that were never explained in the tutorial.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

I would like to say that it was an okay game, but it’s actually worse than I thought. The hostile servers and attacking mechanic are just a cheap addition to make you lose the game, the hacking tools are time-consuming, and the “Open World” mode is not balanced well. It might be a good idea if the dev focuses more on the hacking elements and drop the attacking mechanic since the game doesn’t feel like a hacking game because of it. If you want to play a hacking game, you can buy Hacknet (our review), which is a far superior hacking game if you’re willing to add more money.

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