Developed by Ultra Ultra, Echo takes player for a loop through a harrowing sci-fi stealth world filled with intrigue and backstory. Lots of backstory. Lots and lots and lots of backstory. In fact, the first 60 or so minutes of Echo consists of the main character En (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones) and the narrator going on and on in their docile tones. There’s no action to speak of as you press forward at a snail’s pace while becoming hypnotized by the conversation. Many people may find the heavy initial narrative and world-building that the game focuses on to be a huge plus, but in my opinion, it serves as a roadblock that will prevent people with shorter attention spans than mine to quit the game altogether. If you can get past Echo’s drawn-out and boring introduction, a game begins unfolding that should have been front and center all along.
Once the voices in En’s head (and yours) quiet down a bit, the exquisitely ornate underground chamber known as the Palace begins to show its true colors. The huge cathedral-like rooms connect and become a labyrinth that you must navigate while clones of your character close in to kill you. The core gameplay mostly involves sneaking around and shooting when necessary, which you need to consciously reign in as the AI adapts to your very movements. That’s where the engaging strategy aspect of Echo comes into play, as each hallway encounter with your doppelgangers becomes a do-or-die situation. Each room you venture through brings En one step closer to unraveling a conspiracy you’ll want to see through to the end if you can survive.
Echo Review Final Thoughts:
Echo’s sharp stealth gameplay is hidden behind an hour’s worth of literally walking around, which is a huge detriment to the overall experience. That said, the environmental designs are top-notch, as is En’s character model, which I could easily see on the deck of the SSV Normandy. The adaptive enemy AI in Echo is an incredibly enticing element that should have been explored earlier on and will keep you playing for hours on end. Just get past the intro.
Echo on PS4
- Enemy AI that learns to attack based on your own movements.
- Environments that are both epic in scale and capable of creating high tension.
- Long, boring introduction that cannot be skipped.
- Unforgiving stealth gameplay that will deter those who prefer action with their space sci-fi games.