Indie Game Spotlight: 1979 Revolution: Black Friday

chapo_1979_1Prepare yourself for a history lesson. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday brings you to the streets of late 1970’s Iran through the eyes of photographer Reza Shirazi as he returns to find his hometown consumed in a fervent political uprising. The player is given the choice to take sides or attempt to remain neutral during the revolt, although the latter will prove to be much easier said than done. Prepare to experience a historical moment that may be fairly unfamiliar, yet very insightful to how current events in the region have come to pass. I feel that I learned quite a bit about Iranian culture during my playthrough, which tends to be a feeling I rarely encounter after completing a video game. After an extremely abrupt ending, I’m craving a conclusion to my journey and expect to see some excellent follow-up content in the future.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday

System:
PC, OSX, iOS

Developer:
iNK Stories

Released:
PC, OSX
(April 5, 2016)
iOS
(June 10, 2016)

Price:
$11.99

1979_revolution_black_friday_27

Gameplay:

Although my time with 1979 Revolution: Black Friday was very enjoyable and entertaining, I can’t necessarily describe experience as being fun. Don’t take that as a bad thing, however, because I was extremely immersed in the story and captivated by the characters from start to finish. Most of the actual gameplay involves Quick Time Events (or QTEs), taking photographs when prompted, and choosing lines of dialog. These dialog choices enable you to dictate the course of certain events and influence they way NPCs view the protagonist. If you’ve played any of Telltale Games’ titles such as The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us, you will find that the similarities in gameplay are obvious. The only unique features I noticed were the photography aspects and the reportedly historical accuracy of the overall conflict. If you enjoy those types of games then you almost certainly won’t regret purchasing 1979 Revolution: Black Friday.1979_revolution_black_friday_04

I was very excited to learn more about Iranian culture and the revolution due to the fact that it hadn’t been covered in any of my world history classes in high school. I think this is the first time I’ve sat down to play a game with the intention to learn anything other than fantasy lore or how to efficiently kill any enemies I might encounter. Even with high expectations from the beginning, I was still extremely impressed by the storytelling. Despite the lackluster gameplay, I was constantly on the edge of my seat during the more stressful situations I kept finding myself participating in. The speed required to react on time can be extremely stressful and some players may have a hard time making decisions in such a short time span, but even though it felt rushed it was often appropriate for the situation. The relationships between characters seems very realistic. There we many times I found myself conflicted due to the fact that most choices had no clear right or wrong answers. 1979_revolution_black_friday_29

 

Final Judgment: 79%

If I were to judge this game based solely on storytelling, I would give it a near perfect score. The controls were a bit wonky and unintuitive at times, but if you’ve played any Telltale games you should feel right at home. I didn’t experience any glitches during the roughly 3-4 hours it took me to complete the game. The voice acting was wonderful and still managed to be completely immersive even with most of the conversations being spoken in English. You will meet different factions, each with their own unique reasons to rebel. You have the opportunity to form your own opinions, engage in violent or nonviolent methods of protest, or just try your best to avoid it all.

Pros:

  • Excellent storytelling
  • Believable characters & relationships
  • Tough decisions
  • Replay value
  • Great voice acting

Cons:

  • Choices have minor impact on ending
  • Unoriginal gameplay
  • Felt rushed in dialogue
  • Very short
  • Reused and sometimes low quality character models

 

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