We all know how action RPGs can fall down sometimes. In their attempts to combine action and role-play elements, they can end up being neither one thing nor t’other, with gameplay dynamics less satisfying than a straight action game, and storylines less engrossing and interactive than a pure RPG. Pitched by German developers Master Creating as a game that will offer the best of both worlds, Restricted Area all begins when four characters meet up in a cyberpunk future city in the year 2083. All of them have one thing in common: the need to start a new life.
The world is now ruled in name by one unified government. The reality is that - you guessed it - the world is run by greedy and controlling companies, who enlist the help of the very people they have isolated from society, called outcasts, to conduct secret wars by stealing information and assets from each other.
You must choose from the four characters on offer: Johnson, an ex-government special forces agent, out of a job since the waxing of corporate power; Victoria, whose amazing psychic abilities have brought her only misery as the companies sought to exploit her; Kenji Takahashi, the swordsman son of a Yakuza boss, expelled when framed as his father’s attempted murderer; and finally Jessica, a convicted cyber criminal with a robot bodyguard. Whoever you chose, you’ll be launched on a mission with detailed RPG elements – conversations with NPCs and what have you - but also a satisfying combat system. All of you are now natural enemies of the companies. Find their headquarters out in the barren wastelands, the so-called Restricted Areas. Can you bring the capitalist dogs to their knees? As you explore this nightmare future world, you’ll meet all kinds of people on who can help you. But who are they really working for? And when you leave the neon-lit cities – a sanctuary for those who agree to toe the company line - you’ll meet the hostile denizens of the wastelands: the mutant Strangers and the primitive Low Techs.
A polished action RPG with a full skill level system, countless weapons, plenty of action and a plot crafted with care and pride, you could do a lot worse than Restricted Area.