Technology Harmony: The Fall of Reverie puts Don't Nod's choice...

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie puts Don’t Nod’s choice mechanism in the spotlight

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Don’t Nod Games is best known for its choice-driven adventure games – Life is Strange, Vampyr, and Tell Me Why all feature player-made choices. It has become something players expect from their titles. The studio’s latest title, Harmony: The Fall of Reverie, brings those choices to the forefront.

We got a chance to preview part of the game. The decision-based mechanics are complemented by interesting visuals and a good story.

Harmony follows a woman named Polly who lives on an Earth-like world in a dimension called Brittle. One day she is taken away from her mother and childhood home to another dimension called Reverie. There she encounters deity-like personifications called Aspirations. She discovers that she is actually the goddess Harmony, the only one who can restore balance between the two realms with her clairvoyance.

The game follows two intertwining stories: Harmony’s efforts to empower the Aspirations and rescue the derelict Reverie, and Polly’s efforts to find her mother and investigate the evil megacorporation that is exploiting Brittle. Every choice she makes affects both worlds, tipping the balance of power in favor of certain ambitions. In the end, Polly/Harmony will decide the fate of both worlds and who will control them.

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The story and character design are the highlights of Harmony. Each of the characters has a distinct appearance. The Aspirations look bright and stylized, while the humans have a more realistic look. Reverie and Brittle are wonderful settings for this story. Reverie’s otherworldly physics contrasts with Brittle’s urban decay.

The story is intriguing – ironically, despite the clairvoyance of the player character, I couldn’t predict the beats.

Decision fatigue

Asking players to make story-altering decisions involves trade-offs. Players don’t know exactly how their choices will affect the story. A choice you make early in the game can determine your endgame options. There’s no way of knowing until you’ve reached the point of no going back, which can be frustrating. On the other hand, this adds replayability to a game and the choices feel organic.

Harmony, on the other hand, presents choices with absolute transparency. The Augury shows you what outcomes your choice will affect, who benefits, and what the likely outcomes are. It shows you how many “points” your choices earn with each ambition, and how many of those points you need to reach the desired end.

As refreshing as it is to see the results of your choices, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re looking at a game design document rather than an actual game. The Augury literally looks like a fancy Twine board, especially as the story and choices get more complicated. Yes, it saves you a lot of guesswork, but it also feels a bit clinical. If what you loved about previous Don’t Nod titles was the mystery behind how your choices worked, then Harmony can feel empty.

Also, the way the Aspirations react to Augury choices feels different than how they interact with the player. Most Aspirations, for instance, present their affairs to Harmony (in-story) in a straightforward manner and they don’t begrudge you, at least at first, if you don’t follow their paths. However, within the Augury, if you don’t pick as they please, they become passive-aggressive and sound irritable. It makes them seem weird with two faces.

Harmony: The Fall of Reverie launches on June 8 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, and PC.

GamesBeat’s credo in covering the gaming industry is “where passion meets business”. What does this mean? We want to tell you how important the news is to you — not only as a decision maker in a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you’re reading our articles, listening to our podcasts, or watching our videos, GamesBeat helps you learn about and have fun with the industry. Discover our Briefings.

Shreya Christinahttp://ukbusinessupdates.com
Shreya has been with ukbusinessupdates.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider ukbusinessupdates.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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