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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Although many conflicts are met with or resolved with violence, at game's core is a message of what it means to be human, and the inevitable harsh outcomes of discrimination. Violence is rarely senseless, adding to the desperation of the Replicants' struggle to find a way to live past their four-year lifespan. Touching on themes of the movie it takes its name from, the game creates a narrative pushing back against prejudice and discrimination.
Positive Role Models
Main character Ray McCoy starts out as an anti-Replicant cop with unreasonably aggressive feelings toward them. He goes through an optional journey of realizing the error of his ways, helping a group who has been pushed to their limits and simply want to extend their short lives. A few Replicants mean well but use violence to further their cause. The rest of the cast is filled out with characters of varying moral complexities.
There are people of color in main, substantial roles, but most are unfortunately either one-note caricatures or have little to no character development throughout the story.
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Ease of Play
It can be hard to maneuver your character exactly where you want him to go. You might click a certain spot to convince Ray to go there, and he'll spin around the area without directly following the input. Objects are sometimes difficult to interact with, as they either blend into the scenery or are so small that the game won't acknowledge you selecting them until the tip of your cursor is directly touching the object. No information on certain mechanics or objectives, which can lead to frustrated players moving from area to area trying to figure out exactly what to do. No autosave feature, so players have to remember to manually save their game frequently or risk losing hours of playtime over a minor mistake.
Violence & Scariness
Survival plays a major role, and many people can be shot and killed by either the player or a supporting character -- causing minor bloodshed. But the game's old-school visuals make it so that the violence isn't too explicit or reliant on gore and graphic imagery. When the player dies, the character simply falls to the ground and the game restarts at the beginning of the act (or at the player's last save).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A strip club appears, featuring scantily clad women dancing provocatively on stages. There's an option to "romance" certain women, but that aspect is practically nonexistent.
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Some characters curse more than others, and some instances of profanity include "damn," "hell," "bitch," "bastard," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Based on the Blade Runner movie (which itself is adapted from a novel by Philip K. Dick) and contains many references and Easter eggs to its source material. This may inspire players to watch the original movie or read the book the universe is based on. This is an updated version of the 1997 game.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Players can drink at a certain area of the game, even becoming drunk if they've had too much. Other characters are also clearly intoxicated when you speak to them. Drugs are featured infrequently with very few characters and never become too prominent within the game's story.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is a single-player point-and-click adventure game available for download on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac. It's set in the same universe as the Blade Runner movie, as well as being an "updated" version of the 1997 game. Players will attempt to solve a case involving the brutal murder of multiple exotic animals -- which soon becomes even more dangerous when Replicants make themselves known. In this gritty, cold world, violence comes quickly -- leaving players with a choice to shoot certain people if it's decided they're guilty, causing bloodshed. But the old-school visuals keep the violence from ever being overly bloody or gruesome. Characters tend to curse quite a bit, including profanities like "damn," "hell," "bitch," "bastard," and "s--t." Later in the game, a strip club becomes a major location, featuring scantily clad women dancing provocatively on stages. During a party in a night market, players can drink and become temporarily drunk, and a few characters are clearly intoxicated during conversations. At the game's core is a message about the detriments of discrimination and prejudice, showing how disenfranchised groups react to harmful societal norms -- and the dangerous results. But the ability for the message to resonate is dampened by the fact that the game has a hard time registering where the player wants to go and also has players die randomly and senselessly without an autosave feature -- meaning that players might lose hours of playtime in the wake of minor errors.
Is It Any Good?
It's always a shame when you can see how great something could've been if it hadn't gotten in its own way. Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition, unfortunately, falls victim to just that. It's an incredibly ambitious game that's almost as ahead of its time now as it was when it came out in 1997. Few games follow through on the promise of a living, breathing world where things happen without the player's direct involvement like Blade Runner does. The likelihood of certain situations occurring is dependent on where you are, what you choose to do, and how quickly you can act. In theory, this is a game someone could play over and over and somehow manage to find something new every time. But there are simply too many roadblocks getting in the way of what could've been an engaging return to form for a beloved cult classic. To start, the "Enhanced" part is inaccurate, as certain scenes somehow look worse than they did in the original game. Additionally, this game feels like a 1997 point-and-click game in the worst possible ways. Players need certain objects but have no clue where to find them, only to discover that the object is the size of an ant and blends into the surrounding scenery.
With the lack of an autosave feature, players will die in absurd ways they couldn't have foreseen, and find that they've lost a chunk of progress by not obsessively saving after every room and conversation. Even worse, players have to track their objectives themselves, and with so much happening in the plot, it's easy to spend too much time figuring out what exactly you're supposed to do and where you're required to do it. Combine all this with a host of bugs and glitches, and the half-hearted update would've been better off as a full top-to-bottom remake. But as it stands, Blade Runner: Enhanced Edition is a cautionary tale to game developers to tread lightly when bringing older games to newer audiences, as all that glittered back then won't necessarily be gold today.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.