[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here Came an Echo from Iridium Games is a sci-fi strategy game that’s fully voice-controlled. It’s certainly a unique premise for a game, but is it well-executed?
My initial experiences with There Came an Echo were highly negative ones. When I first launched the game, I quickly discovered it didn’t support my monitor’s resolution. I experienced strange visual errors on the main menu whenever I went back to it from another screen, and the game wouldn’t pick up my mic until I spent a good twenty minutes or so fiddling with the settings. And, worst of all, the game would crash whenever I attempted to launch a new file. While I was eventually able to play the game properly due to some support on the Steam forums, I quickly discovered the visual errors I encountered in the main menu had carried over into the game proper. I was completely ready to write There Came an Echo off as a mess, but then Iridium Studios did something I was strongly hoping for. To put it in the most eloquent way I can think of, they patched the hell out of it. All of the issues I was experiencing were gone, and alongside that they incorporated support for more languages. But, enough about all of that and onto the real meat of this review: is There Came an Echo actually any good?
The answer is yeah, yeah it is. While controlling the game with my voice took some time to get used to, it turned out to be a surprisingly intuitive and responsive system most of the time. Some hiccups aside (there were a few incidents where I had to repeat a command several times for the game to pick it up properly), it was actually a nice way to control the game. If the default voice commands don’t suit you, you can even set up custom ones. And, of course, if voice control doesn’t strike your fancy (or you don’t have a working mic), the game is playable without it. I spent some time messing around in the game just using a mouse, and I didn’t experience any issues.
While the writing in There Came an Echo isn’t really outstanding (though it isn’t bad either), I consider the voice acting to be one of the game’s biggest strengths. The performances in the game are all well done, and Wil Wheaton in particular does an excellent job as Corrin. The soundtrack is also pretty good. However, there is one thing about There Came an Echo that really bugs me: the length. It’s not really a long game (around four or five hours), and there isn’t much replay value to it.
If you’re a fan of the strategy game genre, or you have a working mic and are interested in a unique experience, I recommend you pick up There Came an Echo. It’s available on Steam for $14.99, and it’ll eventually be released for the PS4 and the Xbox One.