By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on February 8, 2018
From the moment I saw the Hidden Agenda trailer at last years' E3, I so wanted to play this game! A cool storydriven game that you can enjoy together with your friends; how cool is that. Plus, the title put the idea in my head that all players need to make decisions in order to progress through the game, but one of the players might have a hidden agenda and secretly thwart the plans of the group. How awesome would that be?
We all know developer Supermassive Games from their smash hit, Until Dawn; a horror game about eight youngsters who have to survive all kinds of dangers until dawn arrives (hence the title of the game). Until Dawn is one of my favorite games ever and I play it at least three times a year. The reason I replay this game so much is that there are so many paths to take and decisions to make within the game, all influencing the final outcome in one way or another. So I was thrilled when I found out that Supermassive Games had another game coming and this time, it could even be played with a couple of friends!
For my first play-through, I invited some friends over to join me on this eerie adventure. I was curious to know if my hunch was right about having a mole in the group while playing. Turns out, there are three way to play this game. You can choose between a cooperative and a competitive mode. The cooperative mode can be played with friends or on your own. The competitive mode can only be played with a group and yes, this mode puts a mole in your group. And, after trying out all three ways to play, I can only say that they're all awesome!
Hidden Agenda tells the story of Becky Marney. Becky is a rookie police officer, but because she is able to trace and capture a vicious criminal called "The Trapper" early on in her career, she is quickly noticed by the FBI and said career takes a swift ride to the FBI main office. Pretty soon, however, strange things start to happen and people are getting nervous. You take the role of Becky Marney, as well as of district attorney, Felicity Graves. Both ladies will have to bring their A-game and work together really closely if they want to have any hope in hell to expose the real psycho in this game.
With Hidden Agenda being a PlayLink game, it can only be played with a Smartphone (yes, even when you play solo). The necessary app for this game is used for controlling the characters but also doubles as a library of story developments, biographies of all characters in the game (which will be updated as you progress through the story) and the effects of your choices (Ripple Effects) , which also will be updated during the game. By controlling the characters, I mean controlling their choices, not their movements. Instead of making your character walk around, you make decisions, complete quick time events and control the flashlight while looking for clues.
If you play the game in cooperative mode, you will get the chance to enjoy the story of Hidden Agenda without any problems. Up to five friends can join in and you all vote for your favorite action or answer. The outcome is determined by the answer or action that gets the majority of the votes. During the game, vote rounds will appear; you'll get some questions about each other during the game like: "Who is the bravest?" "Who can act best under pressure?" At some points in the game the person who was chosen by most players during the vote round, has to make decisions by him- or herself. When you're playing by yourself, you'll never get these vote rounds, seeing as how you're the only one around making decisions.
Last but not least, let's talk about the competitive mode, where you're not only busy unraveling the mystery of the main story, but will also need to keep an eye on your fellow players. In this mode, one of the players receives a hidden agenda. He or she will receive a secret objective, which is intended to create confusion and conflict between the other players. Can you expose the psycho of the game, as well as the plotting mole within your own group?
Supermassive Games showed us a way to enjoy PlayLink beyond party games. Hidden Agenda is an awesome game to play by yourself or with friends. To me, all modes have their pro's and con's. Playing with friends takes a bit of the speed out of the game, but making decisions together is fun. I was very happy to see that my hunch about the competitive mode was accurate and I think it's especially a great addition when you've already completed the story once, because you don't have to be afraid you'll miss any of it. Although, I must say, even if you've completed the story, you may not have found all the Character Biographies or Ripple Effects. So, even then, there is still a lot to discover!
I personally think that Hidden Agenda is an awesome game. It managed to exceed every one of my expectations, is really fun to play alone or in a group and another great way to enjoy PlayLink!