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ROOT Review

ROOT Review

In stealth games, there's a clear chain of command in regards to quality; Snake is the king, Agent 47 is the prince, and Sam Fisher is the court jester. Metal Gear, though, has definitely got the genre locked down, especially after the huge release of V earlier this year. The franchise reigns supreme in the genre, to the extent where it's hard for a new franchise to break out, lest it be dismissed as hackneyed. To that end: enter ROOT, a stealth game that does things differently.

Playing off the omnipresent issue of data and security, ROOT takes a very literal interpretation of the phrase “cyber terrorism”; as you play as a hacker called Edward (classy) who, by a bizarre turn of events, is shrunken down and placed inside the digital world, where he must fight against other humans; the cyber-terrorists. (In the computer! It's so simple!) With a concept like this, one would hope the bare game can compensate.


Silly gimmick aside, ROOT is a first-person stealth-adventure game that can be played however the player desires. First and foremost, it's marketed as an espionage game, which requires stealth strategies, but will also accommodate a more action-oriented run-and-gun style if you don't quite la-li-lu-le-know how to be stealthy. The most problematic part of this approach is the first-person view, which isn't conducive to stealth; it greatly reduces your field of view, making it difficult to navigate. While stealth games shouldn't be quick, this slows down the pace of the game to an unseasonable level, making it hard to be slick, which, as Snake and Raiden will tell you, is key on a stealth mission.

However, that's not to say that the game is unplayable. The first person view, as would be the case in real life, causes you to rely on your sense of hearing and your own wits, and as such, this opens up different ways in which the game can be approached. Let's say there's a guard patrolling a narrow corridor, and time is running out. You could bash his head in from behind with a billy club, slip past when the time is right, or just shoot him to pieces while his back is turned. Choice in videogames is not a fresh idea, but developers will always earn points for letting players go through the game their way; by affording choice, ROOT allows Edward's mission to feel more personal and less linear, even if the end result is the same.


The real success of ROOT is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to adapt to its rules. I never felt particularly comfortable whilst playing the game, but this is for the best; it contributes to the sneaking, creeping atmosphere that espionage should have, and as a result, you're always kept on your toes. As a result, the game never quite feels easy. Maybe I'm just terrible at stealth, but I found myself having to be uber-careful while playing this game. Like juggling Fabergé eggs while wearing boxing gloves, making your way past the guards can be very delicate. This is why ROOT feels good as a game. It makes you a little more tense, makes your blood run a little higher; in short, it makes you feel more alive, which is exactly what a good game should do.

What really steps the game up a level is its sparkling presentation. ROOT doesn't go for hyper-realistic graphics, instead opting for a strange postmodern effect where all the models in the game look like they're lacking textures. Also, they’re all draped in shiny neon colours, which fits the cyber aesthetic perfectly, even if it may lead to accusations of ROOT looking unfinished. Whatever the interpretation, the game looks unique, and sneaking/blasting through its levels is still a treat. This is aided with the soundtrack, which takes a pleasant journey into chilled techno, which, again, fits the theme to a tee. Aesthetically, ROOT may just be one of the most complete games out there today.


ROOT is a bizarre combination like nuts and gum, yet turns out to be completely pleasant in its total left-fieldness, like a Hawaiian pizza. Okay, the game has warts – first person is probably not the best perspective for a stealth game, but the game still works, resulting in a reasonably engaging experience.

7.50/10 7½

ROOT (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

ROOT is an odd fish, but a pleasant surprise. Deep Fried have done well here.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Ben McCurry

Ben McCurry

Mobile Writer

Writes about videogames. Hopelessly incompetent at making his own, he has settled for criticising others people's games instead

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