The Persistence is a rogue-like, first person uhhh… shooter? You play as a member of the crew of The Persistence, a space vessel. Something has gone fucky and clones of monsters started getting made on the ship and killed everyone. Well fuck, there goes the quiet space cruise I guess. You are the mind of one of the crew named Zimri, she’s cloned in a generic body and sent to harvest DNA from her corpse not far off. Then she’s sent into the shit, err I meant to say ship, but shit works too. She’s given some basic warnings by another mind in the ship named Serena. Well the ship is being pulled into a black hole, monsters are being cloned and placed on the ship, the ship’s molecular… ummm… fuck what was it, something is going fucky which causes the ship to be reorganized anytime you move from one floor to the other, and oh yeah, to get the fuck out of this you need to do shit on all four of the ship’s decks to power the ship and get information you need around to escape somehow, without the ship clearly. Along the way you need to find genetic information for other crew members so you can put your mind inside their bodies, talk about dirty fantasies.
That was the quick and dirty… well not really quick or dirty, but that was the story of the game. Now onto mechanics, the game has teleporters which are basic, thank God, most of which act as elevators from one floor to the other in a single room. There’s your personal transporter as well which lets you teleport some distance away from where you are instead of requiring you to walk, I still haven’t figured out how to run so… There are two main teleporters on each floor as well which teleport you to the deck above or below yours. You start on the top I think called the Recovery Deck, and every subsequent deck under it is numbered one to four and have their own visual style.
There are a handful of enemy types in the game. The game starts you off with the simple, shambling, half-rotting corpses who, when they see you, act like “28 Days Later” zombies and rush you to fuck you up. Then you get to the ever so slightly advanced ones that use pistols but their heads are half formed meaning they have a harder time seeing you even though they will see you eventually and they shouldn’t but whatever. Then you get ones that are invisible and when they see you they run up to you and set themselves on fire then go boom and typically kill you in one hit. You get Berserkers who look like Mr. Hyde with their big roided out bodies, their fists set on fire to make their attacks stronger. To the Witch… errr I mean Weepers who don’t walk around instead they sit in place and if they see you they attack you with a super strong beam, once it runs out of energy they become dazed for a one hit kill. Shitty little ambushing ones that hide and even teleport around when you aren’t looking, until you happen to walk around a corner or a wall, and bam they scream and attack you, then scamper off to hide and attack again if you don’t kill the little bastards. Eventually, you come across stronger shamblers who also spit fireballs at you. And lastly, the ever dangerous big daddy douche of them all the Bloodhound, this shit thistle starts to walk towards you after you get within a room or two of the room he’s at, and he’ll keep walking forever after you. He’s covered in electricity, has more defense and health than any other enemy in the game, has the second strongest melee weapon in the entire game, and can teleport to you if you get too close to him. He will wreck your ass like a guy named Bubba in prison.
Now as I stated, you’re a clone, the entire crew has supposedly died, including you. Your mind and Serena’s happened to have been uploaded into the computer recently and weren’t destroyed thanks to meteors hitting the ship as they, and the ship, were all pulled into the black hole’s big black hole. When you obtain the DNA of other crew you can use their bodies. This doesn’t change much about the game honestly but they do give some benefits. For instance, Zimri gets a twenty percent discount at the armory fabricators, meaning she can buy weapons and gear for cheaper, Serena’s body, on the other hand, lets you obtain more money and DNA from enemies. Each of the seven bodies provides some boon but that’s it, otherwise they are the exact same.
There are a few currencies in the game, one is fabricator credits (Fab creds), which are blue, glowing, triangle-ish items and let you buy weapons and gear. There’s also DNA which you can find all over the ship in red cylinders, and you can also harvest this from enemies if you come up behind them and use the harvester on them. DNA is used to level up your character after you’ve died and have been re-cloned at the Recovery deck. The last currency are these yellow triangular hexagons, which are some sort of coin that lets you upgrade weapons and equipment at fabricators. The character and weapon/gear upgrades are permanent, but the weapons/gear you find and buy is tied to that specific run, so when you die they’re gone. You’re going to die A LOT, namely to those goddamn fire-y bastards that explode all over your face like a warm creamy… anyways. Always pick up all of these currencies since they stick with you when you die, and eventually you start to get schematics which let you create special gear at the fabricator in the Recovery deck. This special fabricator is only found here and you still use fabricator credits for it, but they give you permanent gear you equip to give your abilities a boost.
Some of the mentioned boosts are your teleporter that can be given more range and a reduced dark matter cost, your force-field which can be made to recharge faster and take more hits, and your harvester which can be made to give you more DNA per harvest and makes harvesting faster. There are a number of different types of suits that you can choose between, each gives you two different benefits, you just gotta choose which fits your playstyle. There are another one or two items you can upgrade as well, but I forgot what they were. All my Fab credits have gone to these permanent upgrades. On top of that I have a bunch of them, and I haven’t been able to even craft half of them yet. There are common, uncommon, rare, and epic versions and various of each version that have different randomized stats. The epic ones cost fifteen thousand Fab credits to make, whichever it is it’s a lot, like a super lot. It takes some serious time to get that together, when you get higher in level you can make that much every three or four good runs, but you’ll also get a half a dozen or so more schematics. It gets a bit ridiculous. I’d like to be able to see them to get more credits, because once you unlock and equip an epic version of any of these items, you’ll never drop down to a non-epic version, as such, I’d rather them just poof away into the ether and give me more credits so I can make more schematics. There doesn’t seem to be a way to sell or delete them which is annoying, I’ll explain why in the next part of the game I talk about.
Inventory, dear good fucking god, there are so many items in the game: six special gears, three bombs, four guns, four melee weapons. While that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot more than you actually think because of the inventory system, this is also used for the special fabricator mentioned in the prior paragraph. The inventory screen is a hot mess and not in a good way. They wanted unique and it really is, but it’s a pain in the ass to use. It’s not a radial menu, which is one of my favorite times for most first person games. It’s also not a list view like you find in most RPGs. Instead it’s this new radial thing with your harvester in the middle, as you obtain new inventory items they’re placed around the harvester. After you get a handful of items another new ring is created to place more items in, and you have to move around this item by item. Nothing is lined up, and every time you get a handful of new items you have to search for what you’re looking for, I’m not sure if it actually moves, but because the ring changes constantly when you obtain a bunch of new items, and it makes finding things hard to do. Because of this, everything is just a massive pain to find. On top of that, when you pick up new items during a run, it equips them automatically, and there’s no “switch to the last used weapon” button or anything which makes that really annoying too. It’s good for first time players or when you’re coming back to it after weeks or more away, but if you’ve done like ten runs in a day, that shit is tedious and annoying. I rarely use the items, much to my own detriment, however I pick them up for the rare supply room arena fights or the story mission areas because they tend to have a bunch of enemies all at once. Another annoying thing about it is it doesn’t group things by type, it just puts it in the ring as you found it in both the gear and schematics inventories which is absolute hell. As much as I hate their way of running the inventory there is a boon for both types of inventory be it gear or schematic though that makes it slightly less of a clusterfuck, I still don’t like it but it’s not as bad as it could be. The boons are thus: schematics retain their color at all times, so epics are always yellow in the ring; and gear is shown by object so once you start to realize the shapes of the different weapons and grenades and shit you can find them on there just by looking.
Combat in this is enjoyable to me, there’s the ability to play this mostly, but not completely, stealthily which is a shame since I like when you can beat games full stealth mode. It’s even suggested to play most of this game stealthily so that you can get the most DNA possible to level up your character into a semi-squishy, wannabe, God, like my real life self MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHA. If you sneak up on enemies you can harvest the DNA which will kill most enemies at the start in a single hit, as you get deeper though that doesn’t work unless you upgrade your melee attack strength. Also, some enemies can’t be stealth killed and by the nine I’ve fucking tried so so many times, these are the Weeper and the Bloodhound. They can’t be snuck up on because once you get close to them they are alerted to you and turn to face you, you can get away without being seen, but you can’t get behind them. Everyone else you can and you won’t meet either of these enemies until deck two. On every deck from two to four there is a, as in ONE, Bloodhound. As for Weepers, they’re not common, but as you level up and as you go deeper Weepers become more common, but only so much as one every three or so rooms really. There’s also some very basic shooting, it’s… hmmm, remember the old third person shooters of ye olde days of lore, back when you saw over the shoulder and you had a crosshair on the screen but you couldn’t iron sight it or anything, yeah it’s the first person version of that. It’s fine, I’d like the ability to zoom in and such but, whatever it’s serviceable, though nothing to write home about really. The last bit to combat is this semi-darksouls-esque bit. Your shield is something you need to activate and can only be activated for a few seconds at a time, as such you have to parry attacks and if you miss, well… you can die outright for stronger enemies til you level up a lot. If you parry with the shield properly it knocks the enemy back a little and takes off some of the shield HP which, like dark matter, does regen eventually, and while the enemy is knocked back you have the chance to run like a lil bitch or attack them at least once. You can also kite enemies around which is amusing for lower level enemies and it goes like this: you start an attack as an enemy comes up to you, if you time it right you will hit them before they can attack you, this causes them to stagger giving you time to move backwards a bit and start another attack so that when they get out of stagger and come after you, you hit them again before they can attack you. It could be boring for most people but I get a kick out of it, it’s hilarious to me, and I’ll always default to this if possible. The shield takes a hot minute before it starts to slowly recharge, but if it gets completely broken it takes FOREVER to start recharging and then to charge. As such it’s only advisable to kill enemies in open combat one at a time this way, even just two basic enemies against my epic shield can wear it out pretty quickly, and stronger enemies obviously do more damage to it meaning less hits it can take. I like using a mixture of everything but the gun-work in this, I’ll only use it on Bloodhounds because it’s next to impossible to kill them any other way and for robots at a distance cause they do massive damage. For huge groups I tend to use a couple of the different types of grenades. Otherwise I’d rather stealth, parry, and kite in that order. The melee combat feels a lot more fluid and focused than the shooting aspect of the game. The only times I don’t like the combat are when I’m dealing with Bloodhounds cause it’s just use one of the stronger guns and shoot them in the head constantly until they die, and when I have to deal with arenas because they’re made for grenade combat which just isn’t as enjoyable for me as the melee and I forget I can’t do melee effectively in there so I tend to die in arena areas.
Graphics and atmosphere are fantastic, the ship feels scary even in lit up areas because you don’t know where enemies are, though you can use a super sense ability to see enemies in the area you’re in. The ship creaks, sometimes panels fall off of the ceiling, sometimes doors suddenly slam shut when you’re near them, gas pipes and such suddenly vent, and all of it makes you jump and damn near piss your pants a little. It has a very good scary, paranoia-inducing atmosphere and I love it, which is weird, cause I’m not one for being freaked out in games. The only games I’ve enjoyed that did that to me were the “Dead Space” and “F.E.A.R.” series. Like I’m all for monsters and zombies and shit, that doesn’t scare me that makes me excited, environments being paranoia inducing I don’t like cause… well I get paranoid and I jump at every little thing like a babyback bitch. Jump scares suck cause well they’re not scary. Something suddenly poofing in front of you makes most people react that way because it’s an autonomic function, it’s fright, fright isn’t a cheap scare, it’s not scary. Fright makes you jump and is immediately gone, it’s useless and worthless and cheap to me. Scary, that’s fucking FEAR, that’s I’m terrified, that’s I’m going to have a fucking heart attack, I hate jump scares because I hate fright it’s the cheapest form of dogshit. This game doesn’t have that jump-scare crap that the other two series I mentioned do, which is why they bothered me the first time I played them and I never had a problem after that, they were just action games after the first playthrough. This game has a scary environment this makes you paranoid, this makes you fear, and that’s not usually something I get behind in games cause it makes me freak out too much and I’ll admit I’ve nearly peed myself a couple times playing this because of noises suddenly going off and me freaking out thinking it’s an enemy coming after me or something. Ninety percent of the time if not more, there’s nothing there, it’s fine and I’m safe, but the game is in my HEAD, and that freaks me out. Lots of people like these games I usually don’t but by the nine I love the atmosphere in this even though it’s going to give me a heart attack at some point.
So, let’s go over my overall thoughts here. I kind of seriously hate the inventory system, it’s totally unique but I absolutely hate it. The shooting mechanics are so-so at best, the melee and stealth combat is where the game shines which I heavily appreciate as a stealth game player. The atmosphere is terrifying and both paranoia and panic-inducing as all Hell. It does take a long while to beat as you need to do a lot of leveling to get out, however, it’s a fun romp.
The Persistence was developed by Firesprite Ltd.
A review copy of the game was provided by the devs.
darkmikasonfire gives The Persistence the Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval.