BOSTON – Reading a comic book is fun, but the experience is usually very passive. Playing an action game is fun, but the story is usually a little sparse. Liberated, a genre-bending game from Walkabout Games, aims to solve both of these problems by mashing the two together. Liberated requires a little patience, as it’s just as much about dialogue as run-and-gun action. But if you’re looking for a hardboiled cyberpunk mystery with a lot of story and a fair bit of gunplay, the game looks promising.

I went hands-on with Liberated at PAX East 2020, and admired what the game is trying to pull off. Visual novels and side-scrolling action games are both a dime-a-dozen, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game combine the two before. Liberated isn’t just an action game with motion-comic cutscenes; about half of the experience is simply watching the gorgeous animated panels and reading the generous amount of dialogue. The other half is taking down bad guys in side-scrolling action sequences that combine gun combat with light stealth.

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