We previewed Clandestine a couple of months ago, and it left Steam’s early access late last year. Time to catch up and review the game.
Clandestine’s approach is still as novel as it was back then, combining steal action with hacking in what is essentially a two person game (even though you can play it solo as well). Unlike most coop games, the action in Clandestine is divided into two very different game modes – with a field agent (Katya) in the middle of the action and a hacker (Martin) trying to help her out. This can be done by spotting some of the dangers ahead (using a building’s technology against it) but also by opening up new routes by unlocking doors.
When playing together as a team, this creates some tense and exciting moments, but either player also has the option to go at it alone – although Katya is more crucial when it comes to reaching objectives. When playing as Katya you can also opt to go the lone wolf route, disregarding all the options that Martin’s hacking can provide and going in guns blazing. However, without the element of cooperation and suspense, the experience because a distinctly average one – since Clandestine doesn’t excel as a straight up action adventure.
It’s those moments where working together saves your partner in the nick of time where the game really shines, and they really make it worth your while. Uneven pacing and a few imperfections/bugs in the gameplay break up these moments of pure coop thrills though, which is a shame. Bugs include awkward respawn moments/spots, cameras that keep “working” even after having been disabled and enemies that randomly show up out of thin air.
Luckily, since the game left early access in November, the team has already released at least four major updates for the game, fixing a long list of bugs. We’ve been playing since the early access phase, and are happy to say that the experience is consistently getting better – even though it would probably have been better to release this out of early access a little later.
We’re hoping the game will get polished a little more over the weeks and months to come – the coop concept on offer here is so novel and rewarding (when it works) that it deserves your attention. Production values aren’t what you’d expect from a Splinter Cell or Metal Gear title, but fit the ‘retro spy thriller’ atmosphere they’re going for. For now, Clandestine is an interesting take on the stealth genre that we’re hoping to see evolve into something greater.