Regular price: £14.99
Sale price: £5.99
The ultimate prey being man is such an old chestnut of satire that most people wouldn’t know where it originally comes from – the 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell. Sir, You Are Being Hunted certainly has its origin in that trope, but the spin this time around is that the hunters are robots. You play a hapless inventor who has accidentally teleported himself to an archipelago of grey, rainy islands and must attempt to recollect the pieces of his device to send himself safely home.
This is a humourous game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The robots are clad in tweed and top hats, spouting off radio-warbled English pleasantries, and the islands are modelled after a certain concept of Britain – drizzly, bleak and industrial. The food that you scavenge to stay alive includes jars of marmalade, fruitcake and Stilton cheese, and you’re guided by the distinguished voice of your overly polite scientific assistant. In the sense of creating a unique atmosphere, Sir, You Are Being Hunted is certainly a success.
As a game? Not so much. Traditionally stealth games put you in the place of the silent killer in the shadows, from Splinter Cell to Metal Gear Solid to Dishonored – you’re toast if you face the enemy head on, but if you do things properly you’re the hunter, not the hunted; the terror in the night, the stalker in the grass. Sir, You Are Being Hunted obviously flips that on its head – it’s right there in the title – and while the concept is good, the execution is poor. You have a meter in the bottom left-hand corner which shows how visible you are, much like Metal Gear Solid 3, and much like Metal Gear Solid 3 this means the most effective way to get about unseen is by slowly wriggling your way through the grass, inching across the landscape. Sir, You Are Being Hunted has a procedurally-generated environment, with structures which can be looted for supplies but not actually entered, and after a while it seems to feel a bit pointless. It’s quite difficult to find the missing pieces of your teleportation device, even after you locate the scanner, and the ultimate feeling is one of slowly turtling your way through a repetitive countryside looking for a needle in a haystack.
The game also suffers from a few glitches; more than once I found myself suddenly stuck staring at the sky, able to do nothing more than fruitlessly discharge my revolver. And it would have been quite spooky the first time I encountered The Landowner, and heard his eerie hooting cries, were it not for the fact that he was stuck in a tree and kept stubbornly trying to run through it.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a laudable attempt at a creative and original indie game, both in terms of atmosphere and mechanics. But for me, it fell flat.