We played The Works of Mercy Demo back in May 2017, and now the full game released on PC. Polish developer Pentacle offer the game for under £10 which will net you an hour or so playing the first time, and then double that if replaying.
The Works of Mercy is a first-person psychological thriller where it appears the player character interacts with an unknown caller. Conversation with this person via the telephone reveals the kidnapping of your wife and daughter which means you have to comply to his demands. However, as the story progresses you find out more about this person and yourself through the strange dialogue choices.
It’s hard to talk about specifics here due to the spoiler nature of the gameplay. All we can say is there are murders based on your choices and the consequence based on what you choose in the dialogue options.
Interestingly, the choices you make have dire results and it’s these that drives you forwards. One example happens when inviting a working girl (prostitute) into your home. You call the agency, select the type of girl you want and then wait for her to knock at the door. Once inside, you must steer the conversation towards a specific path to set off a chain of events. Some are more obvious than others. The basic premise here is to become a seasoned killer or pacifist at the expense of losing everything you hold dear.
Visually, the game looks nice using Unreal Engine 4 but some areas in the house look better than others. In parts, an almost photo-realistic quality is present especially using 4K resolution with all the details cranked up. Performance obviously is dependent on your PC but enough options allow players to tinker to get the best results.
Audio sits very low in the mix which is disappointing and means having to boost the overall volume. That said, the voice acting is of a good quality and sounds believable. It is quite a bare game in terms of sound effects and music which adds to the chilling atmosphere.
As mentioned, players can net around an hour of playtime and can return again making different choices. The differences can be quite stark especially a certain choice at the start of the experience. Most players will want to experience the game at least twice making for around 2 hours for under £10. The Kickstarter campaign hinted at VR and console support but for now these features do not exist. It is not clear if Pentacle will develop these in the future.
The Works of Mercy is a cool game to play offering some horrific moments and torment of the player character. The game has some neat design choices in its simplicity but acts as a gateway into something more. Sadly the developers don’t expand on their ideas. Whilst the game could have been longer or made into more chapters what is here draws you in. If horror and walking sims appeal to you then The Works of Mercy is worth checking out. If you like a little more meat in your game then the short length might disappoint.