PAX East 2020 Hands-on: Hindsight 20/20

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Hindsight 20/20 – Wrath of the Raakshasa is developed by a small studio – Triple-I Games. The studio is made up of former Bioware and Sucker Punch veterans and Hindsight 20/20 was designated as “Best Action Adventure” by DreamHack and was selected as a PAX Rising title for PAX East 2020. After a short time with the demo, it is immediately apparent why.

Hindsight 20/20 is billed as “a 3D third-person action-adventure” based on “morality-based decisions.” Morality-based option based games are nothing new, think of the episodic Telltale titles such as The Walking Dead or Tales from the Borderlands, but unlike those games, which are more akin to visual novels in their approach, Hindsight 20/20 is very much an action RPG.  

During the PAX East demo, you are presented with some backstory, the leader of your otherwise peaceful town has killed your father, and you are presented with choices – ranging from aggressively pursuing revenge to retreating and mourning his death. Based on that first selection – and each one thereafter – all NPCs will modify their behavior. But the developer is not just presenting game play choices, or even obvious right/wrong or good/bad choices, they are intently focused on examining the grey in all decisions we are faced with.  

Seeking revenge will bring unrest to your peaceful village, but allowing the perpetrator to go free may allow him to grow in strength, perhaps killing additional people you love. If you seek revenge and battle your way to the leader, can you defeat him in time, thereby allowing you to save your best friend who is considering ending his own life? Perhaps if you forgive the leader you can make it in time to comfort your friend and convince him that his life is worth living. Or will you get to him in time, but then say the wrong thing?

These are the dilemmas at the heart of Hindsight 20/20. But between those choices is battle, but even the battles provide a choice. Will you be in ruthless mode, attacking with your sword, killing your enemies with an unforgiving a hack-and-slash approach? Or will you engage in merciful mode, with a staff capable of stunning and repelling your enemies? Each mode has its own special combos and special skills, and each encounter – boss encounters included, can be passed in either mode.  

It will take between 4-6 hours to play through the story, and with 7 possible endings depending on the choices you make, there is a lot of content here to enjoy. Set to release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Mac in Q4 of 2020 for $20, Hindsight 20/20 is definitely a game that should be on your radar.