We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
PC games software Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Recommended

Analogue: A Hate Story review

$15 (around £9)

Manufacturer: Christine Love

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Dark pasts and hard decisions in this twisting visual novel set aboard a 25th century ghost ship.

Landing somewhere between visual novel and point and click adventure, Analogue: A Hate Story was always going to be an acquired taste. No action as such, no interaction outside of conversations and reading letters, and the only visible characters are semi-static, manga-esque drawings of computer AIs adopting the appearance of young women.

Yet it's precisely because Analogue leaves so much to the imagination and relies heavily on the written word that it achieves its power. Nominally, it's a science-fictional tale set aboard a 25th century spaceship en route to founding the first interplanetary human colony. The ship's vast population is all dead as the result of a mysterious accident, and it's your job to find out what happened, recover any logs and get out.

Except, as it transpires, that's really just a framing structure for a harrowing peer into the real-life past - specifically of a centuries-old Korean dynasty that revolved around nobility and reputation, and treated women as little more than slaves. Somehow, these attitudes re-established themselves on the ship, and so you'll find yourself reading the diary entries of the women who suffered and the men who made them suffer.

Their tragic, horrific stories are slowly revealed, told both through their eyes and through those of onlookers, and ultimately they lead up to what befell the ship.

Rather than a straight-up presentation of text, instead you have a non-linear delve through archives, unlocking new, out-of-order information and having your sympathies tugged in different directions by two rivalrous AI entities who were witness to the dark events.

Analogue: A Hate Story

Based on the information you collect, and based on where your sympathies end up lying, you'll make decisions about who's really to blame and what to do with the two lonely AIs. That's the key to analogue, really - that while there is obviously a finite amount of information in there, and while the broader aspects of the narrative do happen in very specific order, it's so guided by your emotional responses to what you discover that you feel you're constructing a very personal outcome.

Not that it's without frustrations. The choice of slightly jarring (compared to the clean, white environments and pitch-black backstory), bright and breezy manga art will prove a turn-off to many, while having your conversation interactions distilled to two pre-written, click-button options limits how the degree to which your choices can reflect your own sentiments. Plus, well, it's exclusively about reading - and that may well disappoint those who came for the sci-fi mystery but discovered a harrowing exploration of a dark chapter of Korean history.

Nonetheless, Analogue is a deft yet detailed and well-written detective story that pulls the much-debated visual novel genre - so popular in Japan, especially on handheld consoles - into something with far broader appeal and more ambitious mechanics.

Analogue: A Hate Story Expert Verdict »

Available for PC and Mac. Runs on almost any relatively contemporary system.
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

A history lesson, a forlorn sci-fi tale, a morality play and choose-your-own-adventure: Analogue is a fascinating, thoughtful achievement in game storytelling.

  • Manga Studio 5 review

    Manga Studio 5

    Manga Studio 5 features new Photoshop and Painter-like coloring options and brushes with responsive drawing tools for creating art. Here's our Manga Studio 5 review.

  • Anime Studio Debut review

    Anime Studio Debut

    Anime Studio Debut is Smith Micro's homegrown animated answer to its translated 2D art program, Manga Studio.

  • Terminator Salvation review

    Terminator Salvation

    Video games based on movies generally get a bad rap - and rightfully so. Thankfully, there are plenty of titles out there from Riddick to Wolverine that introduce just enough new material to keep gamers interested. Terminator Salvation is not one of those games.

  • iRiver Story review

    iRiver Story

    With a full keyboard, nice design touches, and plenty of compatibility - the iRiver Story is an eBook reader to look out for.

  • Facebreaker review

    Facebreaker

    Facebreaker is a boxing game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that has a lot of potential.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

Apple's 2014 highlights: the most significant Apple news of 2014

IDG UK Sites

Watch this heartwarming Christmas short by Trunk for composer John Rutter

IDG UK Sites

Ultimate iOS 8 Tips: 35 awesome and advanced tips for using iOS 8 on iPhone and iPad