PC Serial Cleansers
Occasionally, it is evident how certain games are positioned to launch a series, with a large budget and a massive marketing effort to ensure success. Other times, a surprise indie hit might achieve mainstream success through inventive gameplay, a compelling story, striking visuals, or a combination of all three. Serial Cleaners, the sequel to Draw Distance's 2017 stealth-action game Serial Cleaner, is another step in the right direction as a stealth-action title.
Bringing back Bob from the original game and blending him with three more cleaners in the form of Psycho, Lati, and Vip3r, Serial Cleaners jumps from the 1970s to New York City in the 1990s as the franchise advances not only in terms of its narrative but also its gameplay mechanics.
As implied by the title, the game's theme is upon cleaning, but of crime scenes. When the mob leaves a mess, it is the responsibility of one of the four unique cleaners to guarantee that no bodies or evidence are left for law enforcement and that the area is largely free of blood.
One level may have you dismembering people with a chainsaw as Psycho, while another may have you cleaning up a comedy set after a disaster as Lati. In any case, the same instructions apply: avoid the police, clean up the blood, dispose of any and all evidence, and ensure no one sees the dead. Due to the open-ended map design of each level in Serial Cleaners, which is filled with intriguing and even bizarre environments, nothing ever feels the same, even though the core concepts stay unchanged.
This is mostly due to the distinct skills that each character possesses, which take advantage of the intricate map designs and assist to keep the action interesting and fresh depending on how you choose to approach the game.
A Vip3r level offers numerous options to hack into mechanical systems, such as lights and doors, in order to annoy the authorities. Lati, on the other hand, is powerful and quick, which enables her to navigate the environment more efficiently; she is one of my most trusted cleaners. As for Bob, the OG cleaner is considerably more adept at wrapping up bodies and keeping things tidy, but Psycho's lumbering demeanour is countered by his ability to chainsaw up bodies and barriers alike. Using severed limbs to knock off guards who can then be locked up spares you future hassle.
Certain stages also permit players to switch between cleaners, allowing for a variety of play styles and encouraging experimentation, despite the fact that some interactions are considerably more suited to one than the other.
Once you understand the constraints of the universe of Serial Cleaners, such as Vip3r's inability to lift bodies and the fact that breaking obstructions with a chainsaw draws unwanted attention, your level completion efficiency will only rise. And you will need that later, as the terrain becomes more difficult, more attackers appear, and the stress rises to distinguish the best cleaners from the rest of the field.
All of the action is wrapped up in a narrative that depicts the group reminiscing about their past jobs, allowing for a non-linear story to unfold as players choose dialogue options, whose adventures they want to relive first, and uncover more secrets about each of the four cleaners and where they are now. This is not a spoiler, but it is a story worth following to its conclusion due to the numerous outcomes that result from your decisions and their ramifications.
The visual and aural presentation of Serial Cleaners is noteworthy, and for good reason. The majority of the art direction is inspired from street art and postmodernism, and this, along with the use of colour, is intended to immerse the player in a world where nothing is as it seems. Combine this with the pulsating soundtrack that gets you in the mood for some stealth-based cleaning, and you're in for a treat.
Despite the fact that the game is all about keeping things clean, there are a few drawbacks that will hinder your enjoyment in Serial Cleaners. The top-down view allows players to see more of the world, but obstacles can block the view of vital objects like blood trails. Certainly, Cleaner Sense can be used to highlight such objects, but perhaps the ability to swivel your perspective would make things more streamlined.
Also, while some may claim that the lack of vision cones and the like makes for a more pure stealth experience, it can be hit-or-miss when it comes to successfully hiding from cameras and guards or being partially exposed to them. The AI may also be readily exploited if your cover is lost, as dashing around corners and crouching can cause them to lose interest unexpectedly fast, which kind of ruins the fun. Additionally, there are graphical and technical difficulties that may necessitate level restarts, although they will undoubtedly be resolved in future patches.
As a stealth-action experience, Serial Cleaners is unquestionably a breath of fresh air, building upon the foundations established by the series' 2017 debut. Serial Cleaners has everything you could want in a sequel, including the uniqueness of the rest of the crew, diverse and interesting level designs, a non-linear story with freedom of choice, and good old-fashioned cleaning action. However, there is still some polishing to be done to achieve perfection.
Characters having distinct sets of abilities.
Diverse level design.
Both audio and video are excellent.
Narrative is engaging.
Perspective might pose difficulties.
AI detection is not always clear.
There are bugs and issues to be resolved.