Serial Cleaner is a stealth action game that illustrates the day-by-day life of Bobby, a young man who is a “good boy,” helping his dear mother around the house and holding down a steady job. Never mind that his job includes cleaning up blood and bodies–evidence of crime and foul play. There isn’t much of a story here, but rather a list of jobs that you must complete.
As a cleaner, you’re tasked with visiting various locations in order to discretely remove the bodies, incriminating evidence, and bloodstains from the scene of the crime.Some jobs require you to remove evidence from the scene of the crime while others also require you to clean up a certain percentage of blood. Police officers and other such security measures patrol the crime scenes and you must avoid their line of sight, denoted by a red cone. Using your “cleaner vision” will show you where your objectives, hiding places, and more importantly, the authorities you need to avoid are located.
There’s a place for everything. Objects of interest are marked by placards and must be picked up. Bodies need to be taken to your station wagon or otherwise deposited in the correct drop off point. Some objects serve as trophies for Bobby and he will comment on his collection as he gathers them up.
You can also find magazines hidden around the crime scenes. These are fairly well hidden collectables that give you additional outfits to keep your serial cleaner looking sharp.
What’s most interesting is the way the guards will react to suspicious objects (or lack thereof) and sounds. They will investigate missing objects and bodies and will come running when you make too much noise. These can be used to your advantage: just as long as they don’t see YOU, you’re in the clear, so you can move bodies around to cover your tracks if need be. You’re not able to outrun them if you are spotted, but you can hide in marked locations, which will stop coppers in their tracks.
The game does require a measure of patience because if you get caught, you must start gathering objectives from square one. This means that even if you’ve managed to get everything except one last body, you stand the risk of having to do it all over again should you be found out. When you die, the guards and objective locations are shifted. Being stealthy often requires you to remain still and observe enemy movements to figure out the clearest route to get in, clean up, and get out without being detected.
This is the game’s main drawback as skulking around in the shadows in what is tagged as an action game doesn’t really scream “action” in my book.The implomentation of checkpoints would make this much more bareable. The game isn’t particularly difficult, but it can become tedious with added playthroughs of the exact same level until you’ve figured out the best route to completion.
Still, it’s rewarding to figure out how to proceed without a misstep. Sneaking around in the shadows and escaping detection while dragging corpses to their drop-off point is surprisingly fun and you’ll feel like a total bad ass with each successful heist.
There’s also a challenge mode for those who have already completed the main story.Gameplay doesn’t change a whole lot between the campaign and challenge mode, so those who don’t like performing the same action over and over again may find themselves getting bored fairly quickly. The collectables will provide a short distraction from the norm if you keep your eyes peeled and pad your game time. For those who are trophy hunters, a shiny platinum can be earned by finishing the story, collecting all of the collectables, cleaning up all of the blood in every crime scene, and miscellaneous tasks like being chased by x amount of guards for x amount of time.
Stealth works well and is satisfying when pulled off properly.
The 70s theme and music are stylish.
Collectables add to game time should you deign to grab them all.
Getting caught means starting all over again.
Gameplay can be very slow, forcing you to sit and wait until you memorize NPC movement patterns.
Serial Cleaner is a unique premise and it’s delivered well. The universe is gritty and violent and the that makes the relationship between the protagonist and his mother all that more sweet and believable. Stealth fans will enjoy this one, but it will take a measure of patience in order to clean up and get out without anyone knowing the wiser.
Though this is an action game, it is bogged down by the one-hit-KO system it adheres to, meaning that you’ll find yourself frustrated on more than one ocassion once your carefully laid plans fall apart due to your own impatience or perhaps by a guard who got lucky. If that doesn’t sound too terrible, Serial Cleaner is worth a look.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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