Hello, Bishop 6! You’re a man on a plane in the semi-distant future, working as part of an advanced government agency. Actually wait, that’s ridiculous. In reality, you’re merely controlling this man via the IDGi satellite, using a human from an alternate universe as your remote-controlled futuristic sci-fi meat puppet.
Before starting the game you’re asked to agree to a detailed T&Cs document that explains that your choices will affect real people. It’s a brilliantly strange premise that’s carefully woven throughout the experience: the lo-fi visuals merely act as rough representation of what Bishop 6 can currently see, while restarting or reloading an earlier save is explained as creating an alternate timeline.
Those who played the original Mass Effect will feel at home with branching dialogue and incredibly poor combat, but thankfully the latter is entirely optional. The meat of this pie is conversation, and seeing the subtle choices you make drastically changing the way things occur.
Aside from the piss-poor Foreign Baddies™, the characters are largely believable enough for you to want to feel invested in Consortium's insane premise. Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep these sentiments warm.
Following on from a veritable plane crash of a launch, substantial patches have since made Consortium playable. Despite the improvements immersion-breaking bugs are still impossible to ignore, an issue exacerbated by the decision to use purposeful glitches as a narrative tool.
Ambitious ideas define its best qualities, but also visibly leave Consortium crippled, crushed under the weight of a creative vision that – as a player – I desperately wanted to see it achieve. Unfortunately, the result is mess: a spider-web of variables that can’t reliably hold itself together, despite restricting itself to telling a very short story.
As a fan of narrative-driven games there’s a lot here to love, but until we have confirmation that part 2 and 3 of Consortium are actually being made, it’s an expensive investment to make in an unfinished story.
Finished in 4 hours.