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Serial Cleaners Overview | TechRaptor

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If the impactful launch of PowerWash Simulator proved something, it’s that the cleansing style of video games has lastly been given the highlight it deserves. It’s not simply the zen of the exercise taking middle stage, however the concept that a lot historical past may be washed away with only a fast clear — historical past and proof. It’s the latter of which that will get a sharper focus, with the discharge of Serial Cleaners.

That is the most recent game from Polish builders Draw Distance, accountable for the unique Serial Cleaner, in addition to the top-down motion title Ritual: Crown of Horns. Serial Cleaners sees the OG cleaner Bob return to the inventive endeavors of cleansing up homicide scenes, his fixer way of life persevering with nicely into the 90s. With the flip of the century quick approaching, Bob celebrates with 3 different cleaners, Lati, Vip3r, and Psycho, with all of them reminiscing over their origins, and what the last decade meant to them.

There’s a give attention to progress that’s at all times readily obvious in Serial Cleaners, not simply narratively, however on a meta-level additionally. The expanded scope of jobs that want doing with the intention to save face of dirty mafia-types compliments splendidly with what the 90s supplied: Techno-bars, brutalism, and yuppies sporting fits whereas spending 1000’s on dangerous dinners — existence that finally go nowhere. It’s some profound stuff, and contrasts with the cleaner’s personalities splendidly, whether or not they’re doing it for the title, the game, the celebrity, or as a result of they’re lame.

It’s a departure from the unique’s extra poppy outlook on pushing up daises, each artistically and visually. The pizazz and sharp coloring of characters and ranges are gone in favor of the 90’s extra grungy affairs. You’ll by no means not appear to be you simply entered a battlefield in X-Com 2, which might suck contemplating the distinctive allure the unique had visually. There are moments right here the place you’ll neglect that it is a sequel to one thing that had you working via blood-soaked streets so you may get dwelling in time to observe Columbo along with your mother.

Fortunately, that essence isn’t misplaced within the gameplay, as Serial Cleaners remains to be an action-stealth affair the place you clear up crime scenes whereas avoiding law enforcement officials who’re patrolling the world. The primary targets will at all times be composed of disposing of the our bodies and proof left behind in grisly encounters, in addition to cleansing up as a lot blood as attainable. The game by no means asks you to totally wipe clear any space, which is reasonably inexplicable contemplating the occupation, however then once more, fixers are supposed to be cleansing the crime scene earlier than the cops present up, so it’s what it’s.

It’s all very bite-sized and methodical, regardless of being extra free-flowing when in comparison with the unique’s 2D top-down format. Now it’s isometric, 3D, and multi-layered with completely different flooring, which might get busy, particularly with each 90s aesthetic identified to man being put via a blender abruptly. With that stated, the methods to navigate have opened up, permitting extra flexibility in what would often have one answer.

A gameplay screenshot of Serial Cleaners, showcasing the character Lati running away from police officers inside a bloody convenience store.

Whereas Bob himself is performed extra straight mechanically, the opposite 3 cleaners possess extra distinctive abilities. Lati is extra acrobatic and is ready to maneuver over crime scenes fairly effectively, Vip3r can hack into close by computer systems to create distractions, and Psycho? Psycho sucks. His massive gimmick is that he can chop up our bodies into limbs, which creates a large number, however the limbs can be utilized as a weapon with an ungainly throwing mechanic hooked up. Whereas it might probably knock cops out, it fails to be helpful as a result of trajectory-based aiming, and the dearth of impression.

The factor is, Serial Cleaners has all of the makings of a video game, however much less of a crafted core expertise, and extra of a pressured ruleset that appears to develop with none eloquence. Vip3r’s hacking proficiency solely goes as far as creating noisy distractions, however you’ll be able to often activate the objects she will be able to hack by strolling as much as them. Bob can solely carry a physique over his shoulder when it’s been bagged and wrapped up, however Lati can carry a physique over her shoulder regardless. Is the distinction right down to the choice of the characters?

It’s arbitrary, to say the least, because the dominant technique takes impact when merely simply carrying our bodies out and in of crime scenes, solely briefly blindsiding you in later levels. One of many final ranges involving Psycho duties you with bringing a physique out of the watchful eyes of two SWAT snipers, and in the event you didn’t need to a distraction available earlier than checking it out? You need to possess impeccable timing to swipe the physique earlier than they discover you.

A cutscene of Serial Cleaners, involving Bob standing inside his mother's house.

It’s uncommon that the extent design can unintentionally screw you over like this, however it’s value mentioning that the one reply Serial Cleaners has by way of evolution, is complexity. Complexity that hardly ever sees its avenues explored, solely blasted via by merely working in a straight line in every single place, with little to no punishment concerned. Regardless of having a guide save mechanic, the game autosaves with every physique disposed of, which removes many fears involving stage development.

Once more, it falls in step with Serial Cleaners‘ need to develop larger, however with none trigger to make a press release with its scale, even when the intent is clear. With the story, you may have 3 new characters, Bob serving to them onto a path they might or might not have wished, whereas additionally being a father determine to them regardless. Whether or not they need devotion, think about him a mentor, or secretly harbor resentment in direction of him, he’s a common McGuffin that might take the plot in so some ways.

With out entering into spoiler territory, Serial Cleaners goes nowhere. Draw Distance wrestle to seek out the best sort of style to convey their story in — doubtlessly a side-effect of the game cramming in as many visible flavors as attainable — the outcome being a gray mass of neo-noir and Tarantino fan-fiction. When your plot twist needs to be revealed with no context on a loading display screen, you get the sensation too many concepts had been put ahead, and everybody was too afraid to say no to any certainly one of them.

A gameplay screenshot of Serial Cleaners, showcasing a suited bob running across the deck of a yacht while cleaning up a crime scene.

The primary downside comes from the plate being too small for everybody to get their share. Bob doesn’t want his, as he has an entire earlier game to like his mom in, however Psycho, Lati, and Vip3r are pressured to battle amongst themselves for the highlight, regardless of none of them having clear aspirations. Lati is the one one with clear-cut motives all through all the game, but she runs in circles repeating herself at every flip. 

Serial Cleaners additionally tries the “crime life isn’t any completely different from the 9-5” trope once more, forgetting that the unique Serial Cleaner additionally did that, with out hammering the message into the bottom. It’s unimaginable how regardless of having little to nothing to work with, the game remains to be scared that its one message can be misinterpret. “The brand new century isn’t something particular, it’s one other day, it’s one other gray hair, it’s yet one more newspaper that dates itself on a pile of steel trays, all when you’re questioning if Sisyphus smiled”? We all know. We don’t should be stuffing lifeless males into station wagons to determine that out.

Serial Cleaners Overview | Closing Ideas

On the finish of all of it, it’s uncommon to seek out one thing that might solely be described as a “Video Game™” fairly like Serial Cleaners. There’s no message right here that isn’t slowed down by blasting you with visuals that inform the identical story, there’s no gameplay right here that isn’t ruminated upon additional by previous experiences. It’s not a journey, nor an odyssey. Not a narrative to learn into, simply a few hours stabbed within the again. Was it value it? I dunno… is something? 


TechRaptor reviewed Serial Cleaners on Xbox One S utilizing a replica supplied by the writer. It is usually out there on Xbox Collection S|X, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Change.

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