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We Should Talk – Game Review

We Should Talk is a short narrative experience with a very interesting point to make on word choices. You play as a women in a bar having a drink instead of going home to her girlfriend. You’ll chat with the bartender, an ex and a random guy but most importantly, Sam, your girlfriend, via your phone. Your choice of replies will shape the narrative you create.

Sam will never get to slurp those noods…

Where this game differs from most other choice based games is that your choices are broken down into parts of a sentence for you to construct yourself. By changing just a single word or a phrase, the entire conversation feels and reads very differently. This is the main message that We Should Talk leads with and the sentence construction game mechanic really makes this clear. When you have the opportunity to say I, we or you… just need to communicate better – for example – it completely repaves a conversation. Other sentences shift focus in topics, open up different dialogue trees or even change your entire personality. Whilst that was fun, I found the smaller details of being tactful was where I spent more time justifying my choices. Do you go for a softer softest approach, or be a bit more bold with what you want to say? What results will these choices bring?

The experience lasts around 15-20 minutes per brisk playthrough and there are nine endings to find. A lot of the options are explored over again per playthrough and you’ll see the same responses over again time after time. It is at that point I started to feel like there are only very specific choices that send you down certain paths. This was confirmed to me when I was playing the PS4 version and ending trophies were pinging about 4 choices from the end. I would then choose to be outrageously horrible and whilst Sam would be annoyed, we’d still end up getting the good ending. It took away from the overall illusion of a dynamic conversation.

The rotating sentence structure is the games best feature and it makes you think before choosing.

Graphically, We Should Talk is mostly a one room scene and the graphics are not the games strong point. Everything is clearly marked though and the 9 endings as cocktail drinks on the wall is a nice touch. The bar you are in has a soundtrack and it is really hit and miss. Some songs are really catchy and interesting whilst others have some truly out of tune vocals. I think this is made more muffled by the background filter the music is put through to make the music feel part of the ambience but it amplifies the poorer tracks more, whilst making the club tracks shine.

Ultimately though, this is an interesting thoughtful experiment that I would love to see fleshed out further in a future game as the seeds for something stunning is here. I really liked the sentence building mechanic and it has strong potential. The narrative is decent enough to entertain you for a while and it makes you think about your choice of words in a text message too. It is just a shame that the characters are largely arrogant by design and the endings are funnelled by single choices at certain points without having a more dynamic and realistic relationship structure and feedback setting.

We Should Talk
Final Thoughts
We Should Talk has some interesting points to make although the grind to find all the endings means this is best played in short bursts.
Building sentences feels like you are really making a proper choice.
Thought provoking.
Some good music...
but also some terrible music.
Once you've worked out about half the endings you'll see that the game has obvious choice funnels rather than being as dynamic as you are lead to believe.
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Review copy on PS4 provided by publisher.