Faith is a Runner who navigates a city full of surveillance to deliver valuable goods to those who oppose the tracking and control system the government has put the city under.
I first played this game as a demo on the PlayStation 3 way back in the day. The concept seemed interesting, so I decided to play the full thing on the PC. This is normally not my style of game since it requires fast response times and remembering buttons really well, but I actually really like this one (once I get somewhat decent at it).
On PC there is a setting to enable NVIDIA PhysX. You really want this on since without it, elements from the environments are removed, such as curtains and glass particles. Check out a comparison video. Getting it to work on modern systems is difficult. The PhysX drivers that come with the game are old, so I added an underscore to the PhysXLocal folder, primarily to prevent PhysXCore.dll and PhysXDevice.dll from running. That way the game will use the system PhysX drivers. But, that didn’t fully fix the problem since I also had to go into the NVIDIA Control panel and set PhysX config to CPU, since anything else would freeze the game. Unfortunately, even with getting it to work, it would drastically slow the game down to a craw in some areas.
The game takes place in the not so distant future where there is no crime, but everyone is tracked and monitored with surveillance and media is used to control people’s perception. Many people accepted it, but some protested and fought back. These people were shunned by society, criminalized, and labeled as terrorists. Most gave up and gave into the surveillance, but some didn’t. Faith Connors is one that stood her ground. She became a Runner, a type of courier that navigates the city to deliver packages, data, and other goods to clients without the government knowing. Faith was trained by Mercury, or Merc, which has trained many runners, including another that works for him, Celeste. Faith even has a twin sister, Kate, who is a police officer. Kate doesn’t like Faith’s clients, while Faith doesn’t like cops. Yet, they still trust each other.
Robert Pope, a candidate for mayor of the city, is running against the current mayor Callaghan, was found dead in his office while Faith and Kate are being framed for the murder. Faith finds a note on his desk that says, “Icarus” on it. Faith tracks down a former runner, Jacknife, who indicates that the head of Pope’s security, Travis “Ropeburn” Burfield, may be connected.
Faith overhears Ropeburn talking with someone about Project Icarus, which implies he is involved with the killing of Pope and framing it on the police force, which is Kate. Faith approaches Miller, Kate’s superior, and he explains that Ropeburn is dangerous. He pulls out a gun and plans on turning Faith in to let Kate go. Faith does not comply and escapes to eavesdrop on Ropeburn’s meeting with someone from the City Protection Force (CPF). That person turns out to be Miller. After Ropeburn attacks Faith, she gets him to talk as he’s hanging off the ledge of a building. He admits to hiring someone to kill Pope, but ends up being shot and falling to his death right after.
Faith on hot pursuit of Pope’s killer, and it turns out to be Jacknife. However, he claims he didn’t do it. Faith has Merc do a search for Pirandello Kruger Security, which she saw a logo of the company in Ropeburn’s office. She decides to check it out and finds that they are specifically being trained to kill runners, calling it Project Icarus. Faith continues to pursue Pope’s killer, which turns out to be Celeste. She said Pope’s campaign was getting too much support and knew about Project Icarus, so she had to kill him.
Kate was found guilty of Pope’s murder and is being sent off to jail, so Faith saves her and takes her back to Merc’s base. However, security raid the place, killing Merc, and take Kate to “The Shard,” the mayor’s place. Along the way she finds Miller who knows what’s going on and provides backup for her, but ends up dying.
Upon getting to the roof where Kate is being held, Faith finds Jacknife holding her hostage, admitting that Callaghan is the one pulling the strings. Faith knocks him off the building to save Kate. To be continued…?
Control Faith as she runs on the rooftops, through buildings, and other areas. This is a fast paced runner, except it always feels like she cannot run fast enough. Her speed is actually very realistic. You can jump, crouch, and duck mid air to coil yourself up to get a bit more height or to not be grazed by the barbed wire. Some obstacles in your path can either be jumped over or you can slide under, your choice. You can wall run briefly, and jump from a wall to reach a higher ledge on the opposite side. There are times that you think you’ll make a jump, but you don’t. Or you think you grabbed that ledge, but you didn’t. If you ever get lost, you can see what your objective is by pausing at looking at your objective screen, and by pressing a button to show you the general direction of that objective. However, it can still be hard to figure out where to go and what you need to jump over to progress. There are times I’ve raged a bit due to how difficult it is and some parts that have unforgiving checkpoints.
There is also combat in this game. Cops will be shooting at you, and you can punch and kick them, performing multiple moves to take them down. Additionally, you can slow down time for a little bit to help you steal their gun, and even use the remaining ammo on the other cops. Though, this is not the preferred method of taking down enemies. There are other enemies that are hard to dodge as well, such as helicopters that are always shooting at you. Additionally, no matter where Faith runs off to, the cops are always on her feet. Too many shots and she will die.
Throughout the game, there are 30 hidden runner bags that can be collected, three in each chapter. Getting all of them will unlock an achievement, but only on the console version, not the PC version as there are no achievements on Steam. There are markings nearby when close to a bag, but since movement and combat is quick in this game, it’s possible to miss them.
Upon completing the game, you unlock speed run mode, to play back any level from story mode as fast as you can. As well as various levels in time trial, and concept art, and music. In time trial, you complete a strange and get ranked based on your time. It is very strict and one mess up will basically knock you back drastically. Getting three stars is only for pro players. There are maps that were available on console as DLC, the Pure Time Trials, and are not available on the PC version, which I used from here.
The thing I remembered most about this game was the red interaction points, such as rails, doors, and pipes. This is ‘Runner Vision’ which is a guided tool by the runners to find pathways of escape that most cannot see. The rest of the graphics are bright white and blues when outside, and often green and orange when inside. The color pallet is interesting and stands out.
Sound / Music
The music in the game is very action oriented and fits the gameplay very well. There is light ambience when nothing is happening, which picks up greatly when you’re being shot at and trying to escape. I wouldn’t call the music memorable, with the exception of the ending theme song, Still Alive.