REPLACED Hands-on Preview

In a nutshell:

  • After 3 years since it was first announced, we finally got to play 30 minutes of REPLACED
  • It has fantastic sidescrolling combat that utilizes easy-to-use counters and telegraphed enemy patterns.
  • It has an engaging story with fantastic pixel art capturing its neo-noir cyberpunk themes.

During Summer Game Fest, we played a demo build of REPLACED for the first time since it was announced back in 2021. It was one of our most anticipated Indie titles, and after trying it out, it definitely fit the bill, and we can’t wait for its full release.

Deep Combat Rich In Hits and Counter Hits

The build we played for REPLACED was divided into three modes: combat, prologue, and exploration. Each of them focuses on what exactly you’ll expect to see from that demo part, and given that combat was one of its most intriguing aspects, we tried that out first.

Combat happens in waves, and players can attack, counter, armor break, and dodge in a strangely rhythmic and flow-like fashion. Once you’ve built up enough of a charge by constantly hitting enemies, you can use your firearm with the right trigger for some major damage.

While REPLACED appears quite straightforward, I will say that it’s easy to get lost when the action starts to pick up. You will be fighting a series of enemies, and the variants range from armored enemies, regular enemies, and ranged enemies. Dodging/countering are very responsive, enough to even cancel ongoing actions and make combat a reflex-based affair.

replaced screenshot 3

What I like is how the counter is telegraphed using a screen prompt akin to the Arkham series, but you have to time it right to counter effectively. Spam the button and you’ll miss your window of opportunity, so timing is key, and it helps to keep that flow of pressing buttons to an imaginary beat to keep it going.

Armored enemies need to have their shields or armor broken with the armor break button. That also goes with the boss character in the end, wearing multiple layers of armor that you have to get through. Once stripped off, you can combo away or one-shot them with your gun.

REPLACED takes place in futuristic Phoenix

The prologue of REPLACED is a 10-minute story mode that shows the backstory of your protagonist as he suffers from an influx of emotion, causing him to crash. When he wakes up, he is ambushed by local Phoenix police, and his partner is executed in front of him.

During the prologue, you’re able to move in a side-scrolling fashion. You move from left to right, until you reach an area where you can enter a new room. You enter a new screen where you can access the room in the same perspective, akin to similar indies that follow the same interface.

replaced screenshot 1

As you navigate the areas outside the facility, you’re chased by the police, which would kill you in one shot compared to the combat mode, where you have a health bar that depletes the more you take damage. Unfortunately, during this mode, you are merely human and can easily die.

From here, you can see how the visuals and soundtrack of REPLACED conspire to deliver that neo-noir cyberpunk setting that was sold back in 2021. I’m mostly impressed that the pixel art really fits the themes and the visual style. The synth soundtrack was on point, providing us with a good feel for the game and its setting.

replaced screenshot 2

Finally, the exploration part of REPLACED allows you to explore the city of Phoenix in its entirety, where you can sample the story and pick up some side missions along the way. You have access to your full combat prowess when you get into encounters, and just like the prologue mission, it allows you to explore the city in a 2D side-scrolling fashion.

We’ve only explored the tip of the iceberg of this fantastic game, and we can’t wait until we’re able to play the full version when it releases.

replaced screenshot 4

REPLACED is coming soon for Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Our Summer Game Fest 2024 coverage is powered by Lenovo Philippines and Lenovo Legion.

Leave a comment

Tooltip Text