There is something fundamentally creepy about Event, which is an adventure game with a first person perspective. It is very narrative-driven and also quite short, which may have some people scratching their heads at what the fuss is all about. The thing is, it offers you a connection to a character and the way you own the relationship that is built is both unique and deserves the time to properly explore it.
Event kicks off in somewhat odd fashion. It reminded me of those old text-based games like Zork or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You are setting the stage with your responses, crafting your character and building a foundation for your interactions with the real star of the show, Kaizen.
Asking 'who is Kaizen' is a strange question, because in reality it is simply a character in a game. In fact, Kaizen is not a person at all, but an Artificial Intelligence construct on a station that your character finds himself on after after a catastrophic event. The thing is, even though Kaizen is an AI video game character, he is the framework for something far more interesting. You see, you interact with Kaizen throughout the admittedly short adventure, and the story dynamically adjusts along the way.
There is a somewhat creepy, GLADOS-like quality to Kaizen who you have to rely on more than you realize initially. You want to open a door? Ask Kaizen to do so. Suddenly trapped outside with no oxygen? You had better hope Kaizen still wants you around. The technology behind Kaizen is pretty incredible, frankly. If you are looking for a true Turing Test, this is not that - but it is impressive all the same. The focus of the game is building a relationship with what amounts to a lonely AI who seems interested in you and your well-being, but to a point.
Because the game has so much dynamic content built in, and because Event is crafted by a small indie team, I had expectations that this would prove to be a relatively short gameplay experience, and that is how things played out. A few hours, a single session at the PC, and you can get through what the game has to offer. Or at least a slice of what Event has to offer, as there is some pretty solid replay value here for those who like to see how games can play out differently based on what decisions are made. For me personally, that has always been a large chunk of the appeal from titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and though the game size is significantly smaller here, those motivations still hold up quite nicely in Event.
That is not to say everything is perfect. The environments are impressive but clearly constructed on an indie budget. The audio design is sufficiently creepy with loads of ambient science-fiction sound effects but for better or for worse a dearth of music. Your eerie and persistent companion along with the abandoned station your character occupies sets a pretty creepy stage that is fun to explore, and part of me cannot help but hope that the technology used to bring Kaizen to virtual life finds a way into other, larger games in the future.
Event is a very cool experience. Obviously being an adventure game, the pacing and story-focused approach is not going to be for everyone, but even those with just a mild curiosity in what Event will likely come away impressed. Kaizen makes for one of the most compelling and unique gaming interactions I have experienced in some time.
Article by Chris H