When it comes to point and click games that convey a story of survival, relationships and a deep engaging narrative, TellTale games have pretty much made the genre their own over the last 5-6 years with many titles coming our way. We’ve also had Life Is Strange from Dontnod and more recently, The Council from Big Bad Wolf. It’s now time for ink Stories to carve a niche for themselves with a console port of their 2 year old Steam release, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. Set in the city of Tehran, Iran during the Revolution of the late 70’s, there’s more than just a story here, there’s historical facts and so much to learn.
Assuming control of Rex’s, a photojournalist with a conscience and armed with a camera, you follow his journey through a 2 hour historically accurate hell of the Revolution against the oppressive regime of the Shah in 70’s Iran. Tensions are high, people are angry and rightfully so, with people being snatched off the streets and even executed for speaking out against the Shah. It’s time to discover and document Reza’s story and those around him as they plan to stand up against those who oppress them. It’s not just any point and click adventure, these events actually happened, as you’ll find out the more you explore and photograph to save into your journal throughout your playthrough. Although it’s not based on a man named Rena, the events that influenced this game did. Let that sink in for a moment.
The only bad points I can genuinely mention about the game is the graphics and character models. It does look like a game that came from the 360 era, but that doesn’t detract from the importance of what happened in Iran, and the internal conflict that the country suffered. It’s a deep, moving and powerful story to be told. It really hit home just how horrific the conditions were for the citizens and how they coped with everything falling apart around them.
From anti American sentiments, to banning of literature and music, Iran really faced a tough time around the time of my birth, and for the developer to go ahead and develop this story into a game in turn ended up with the game being labelled as propaganda leaving him too fearful of returning to his home country. That is just how real it is, and while I applaud his determination to tell this story, I sympathise with him for feeling that he cannot return to his homeland. Gripping and powerful stuff when you indulge yourself into the game to find out why.
A game with over 80 stories to collect by finding cassette tapes, meeting people, finding documentation and of course, taking photographs will take you further into the dark history surrounding Reza’s fictional journey and the real world equivalent. It’s not a game that offers you a happy ending, no sunshine and roses with a sprinkling of unicorn dust to put a smile on your face, this was a grim time to be Iranian, and it shows.
The voice acting is top notch quality, and I can’t find any negatives there. Even the occasional background music breaks up the sinister goings on to relax you slightly, before throwing all hell at you. Being able to feel the pain, suffering and emotion that the characters feel is rarely perfected as such, and 1979 Revolution nails it.
Gameplay is as simple as approaching an object and interacting with it, as is in any other game of the genre. There are a few QTE sections that you need to deal with, and while they can be tricky due to the short reaction times available but they’re not impossible to pull off and they are few and far between. On a couple of occasions, there are some story changing choices to be made, so a second playthrough to find out the alternatives is something I would highly recommend, and as it’s a short game, it won’t eat into too much of your time.
Despite a lack of visual polish, 1979 Revolution is a fantastic title that is certainly worth your time, even if you won’t feel to happy come the final scene. Best get pictures of puppies and kittens to cheer you up. But don’t let that put you off, the story is well written, voice acting is superb, and it really hits home just how much easier life in my country is. If it wasn’t for the below par visuals, I’d be giving this a perfect 10.
Developer: ink Stories
Release Date: 3rd August 2018
File Size: 4.05GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch & Steam