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Developed by Ultra Ultra, ECHO was released on PC back in September for £18.99 and is available now on PS4, also for £18.99.

ECHO is a third person, science fiction adventure game where you play as “En” who has been in stasis for the past century has awoken. Now you have arrived at your destination, there is only one thing you have on your mind…  

As always, I will endeavour to avoid anything which may spoil the story throughout my review.

ECHO takes a little while to really get into as the beginning of the game is fairly slow paced as you walk around whilst conversing with the bodiless voice of “London”. It was absolutely crucial that the voice actors made their characters (because there are only two in the entire game!) personable and more importantly, believable. Fortunately, the developers did a brilliant job at casting because Rose Leslie (yes, Ygritte from Game of Thrones) is perfect for the role of En, successfully keeping the player interested in hearing about the story. In times when there is no conversation, you are left with the ambient sounds and your own footsteps and it is worth mentioning that the sound effects are incredible and at one point when the floor shifted slightly I almost jumped out of my skin!

I think that ECHO is a beautiful game with detailed designs as you walk through the multiple levels of the palace. After a while though, it does feel very similar and repetitive which is a little tedious at times when you crave some variety but I do wonder if it is utterly intentional considering En’s past. Frustratingly, the loading screens feel quite long whenever you respawn and there are issues regarding framerate stuttering at various points throughout the entire game which really detracted from my enjoyment of the game.

The controls are easy to pick up and you are given a guide as you go through the beginning phases of the game and you are able to refer to them whenever you need to. Unfortunately, the controls aren’t as responsive as they really could be and at times I have found them to be infuriatingly clunky, especially when aiming or attempting to flee, both things which are equally important in this game and have led to my demise on more times than I care to remember. It also doesn’t help that at one point when trying to vault over a wall I managed to get completely stuck inside the wall until I was eventually killed.

I really do love the ideology behind ECHO, its something that I have never experienced in any other game that I have played. The enemies that you encounter are called “Echoes” and have been made in your image. If you have ever heard the phrase, “You’re your own worst nightmare” then, believe me, it is completely applicable to this game. Between blackouts are periods of time where the enemies (who are clones of you) will learn from you and copy every action you take.

The enemies will only mimic the abilities from the time before the last blackout so if you shoot, run, vault, close doors, etc. then after the blackout, the enemies will be able to do all of those things as well. If you don’t do any of those moves during the following phase then they will forget everything again once there is another blackout. For me, there were too many times when the enemies would be able to overpower me regardless how many times I mashed the “O” button and somehow they always seemed to be able to move a lot faster than I could, even when they hadn’t learned how to sprint! I think it is safe to say that there are definite rage-inducing moments throughout ECHO but then again, it is very satisfying once you finally get through a tricky stage.

The further into the game you progress, the more complex the palace around you gets and you will need to be far more tactical and stealthy in order to succeed. The game is divided up into multiple floors of the palace that you will navigate through. In order to advance there is a puzzle to complete, you must collect blue orbs located around the last area in each floor which will, in turn, open the last door allowing you access to the next level, but it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed the story because I really dislike the ending if I am being honest, I feel a little cheated after investing so much time into the game but on the whole, I can understand how it could end in the way it did. Any game that can provoke a reaction like mine is clearly the sign of a good game, though so I guess it did something right!

Overall, I’ve had mixed feelings about playing through ECHO. On one hand, I think the concept is brilliant however the story ending and the actual gameplay was a let-down for me. If I had to give it a score it would be 7/10. Although I have had my issues with the game, I still think it is a game worth playing.

ECHO has a total of 48 trophies available to unlock. The majority of trophies will be unlocked through natural gameplay but there are also a number of imaginative trophies which will require some planning to unlock as you’re not necessarily going to think to do the actions required. I really do love a creative and well thought out trophy list and ECHO really doesn’t disappoint here!

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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