Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days by independent video game publisher Big Star Games, in partnership with Lionsgate, is a top-down shooter game that aims to teach the player about the butterfly effect. For those of you who don’t know, the butterfly effect is the idea that if you go back in time and change one thing, it will result in a timeline that is remarkably different. When you start a level, you will have control of one of the characters until that character runs out of health and dies or you press the space bar. Then the level goes back in time and switches control to another character for the same amount of time (or until that character runs out of health).
For example, say you use the first character for 10 seconds and have him walk forward and shoot an enemy charging from the left before switching. The game will then rewind back 10 seconds and give you control of the next character while the one you just used will walk forward the same amount and then shoot to the left. After using every character you have once, if all characters required to be alive are still alive, then you will take control of the first character again and repeat the process. While this might sound powerful, you need to keep in mind that the only thing that will follow the rewind is the actions of the characters you just used.
The first few levels I played, I would have my first character keep shooting enemies until he ran out of health. One thing I forgot to remember was that the other character didn’t just vanish until it was his turn. He just sat in the open and did nothing since he hadn’t been given commands yet. As a result, the second character would draw the fire of enemies coming in from behind as I charged ahead while controlling the first character. These enemies would be kept back until the character they were shooting at died, and then they would move forward.
When I switched control to the second character, the game would have a reminder that the second character had died. As a result, I would try having him follow the first character to avoid being killed. The enemies that stopped to attack my second character the first time will instead keep moving forward since there is no longer a character there for them to shoot. The first time I was in control of the second character, I had him take another path my first character had not taken. The enemies that were charging ahead—the ones that, in the first rewind, hadn’t moved due to shooting a character that was no longer there this time—would follow my first character and start shooting at him. Because those enemies had not been there when I was controlling him the first time, he acted as though they were not there. This resulted in him being killed and me needing to restart from the last checkpoint in the level.
This is a prime example of how the butterfly effect is so prominent. Because I changed the location of one of my two characters the second time around, a group of enemies in the level followed a different set of actions than they had during the first time when I was playing as the first character. The end result of this was his death the second time around by enemies that weren’t even there when I was controlling him the first time around. And this was just one of many mistakes I made.
Multiple times I would kill enemies with my other characters before my first character reached them. Because the character is simply repeating the steps I used while in control, this would result in him firing at empty air where an enemy had been during the first time around. I have also had other characters pick up weapons before my first character was able to use that weapon to reload as I had done when in control—resulting in my first character essentially charging enemies with an empty pistol—and I have had my other characters gain the attention of enemies that my prior characters had ignored. Despite how frustrating repeating a segment of a level multiple times could be, I enjoyed this mechanic (perhaps in part because I would sometimes get a good laugh about my prior characters running about as though they were drunken idiots, firing at empty air or charging with an empty weapon).
One of my main complaints is that you can’t choose the order in which you control the characters. This would be particularly annoying if the first character had lower health than following characters. The reason this annoyed me was because one of my more common strategies was to have my first character draw fire from a group of enemies while my other characters would pick off the enemies from a distance. In this way, my other characters could help my first character without disrupting the order of actions the enemies took the first time. If I tried this strategy with a character with low health, then he would be reduced to having very little health for the remainder of the level. One way the game tries to make up for this is by having characters recover health if you reload a checkpoint in the level too many times, but this will negatively impact the score you receive at the end of the level.
Overall, I enjoyed playing this game. If Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days had the ability to choose the order you played the characters in, then I would give it a 9/10. Since the game lacks this ability, I think a more fair rating would be 8.5/10.
Here is the Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days Official Launch Trailer:
For more information, visit the official Reservoir Dogs: Bloody Days website at http://www.reservoirdogsvideogame.com or visit the game page on Steam. The Xbox One version will be coming later this year.