by Anthony Maynard
reviewed on PC
Attack of the clones
The Persistence is a sci-Fi horror, roguelike experience, which initially released exclusively for Playstation VR in 2018. In The Persistence, players take the role of Zimri Eder - well a clone of Zimri Eder - a security officer on board a deep space colony starship. The ship has been overrun by former crew members who have mutated into horrific monstrosities. These are constantly replenished by a malfunctioning clone printer. Saving the ship falls into the hands of you and the only other survivor Serena, who you meet early on. She introduces you to your very first weapon - the stem cell harvester, which can be used to steal the stem cells (one of the many currencies in-game) from enemies while sneaking behind them.
The harvester, also used to take DNA from dead crew members to create clones of their bodies, which ties into the game's death mechanic. In typical Roguelike fashion, upon death, you return to a HUB room of sorts. On respawn, players can choose from an array of clones to be - each of them has bonuses to gameplay. Some of these bonuses include increased loot or armor percentages. Also important to note, upon death, the map layouts change every time. So every run through the ship is not the same as the ones previously.
Give me the loot
As one might expect from a Roguelike game, there is quite a selection of weaponry at your disposal. Scattered throughout each deck of the ship you explore are different armory terminals for each weapon type. These weapons are crucial to survival and progression in The Persistence – which is something I learned that the hard way. For a good portion of my playtime, I would collect all the materials to fabricate weapons but never purchased any. Eventually, I ran into a berserker who can kill you in a few hits and struggled to progress past them.
Later, I decided to start spending some of my materials on weapons, which not only helped me move forward in the game, but also made the game feel more enjoyable. Also important to note, each weapon has a limited amount of uses before breaking, so experimenting with various weapons and items is encouraged.
As gamers progress from deck to deck, enemies get tougher, so it is vital to spend time upgrading your gear. Each floor is littered with currencies to collect, so running out isn't something to be worried about later on. During your journey, there will be schematics available to loot that increase the stats of your arsenal like shield regeneration or increasing the distance you can teleport forward. Returning to your HUB allows you to upgrade your health, shields, melee damage, and dark matter, which also helps you survive longer.
Sci-Fi Horror/Roguelike Genre
When I was installing The Persistence, I was apprehensive about how the sci-fi horror and roguelike genres would combine. Apparent from the start, this mix of genres is uncommon but a unique blend of sci-fi Horror and roguelike into one game. Simply put - it works. The spooky sounds of enemies lurking, or the clunking noises coming from the ventilation all add to the horror experience. For instance, there is a specific enemy that crouches in corners waiting for you to walk by. Admittedly, my first encounter had me jumping out of my chair. Stealth also adds a layer to the horror element of the game, sneaking behind enemies is a viable option for escaping, and stealth kills.
As pointed out earlier, the roguelike elements are plentiful as well. Multiple weapon fabricators scatter the map, each one linked to a specific type of item. These terminals are color-coded, so for example, a yellow terminal will always be for grenades. The currency needed to upgrade and fabricate new gear is also in abundance. As you progress to higher decks of the ship, the amount obtained will also increase. There are plenty of weapons to test out and find which ones you prefer the most. Eventually, I can see a point where players get to an overpowered state, easily defeating anything in their path.
There is a little bit of a story that unfolds as gamers progress through the game. Through each run, there are about four objectives to complete, all geared toward saving the ship and escaping. Serena guides you through these missions while you make your way through numerous enemies, room after room. Some places have the body of a dead crew member, which Serena will provide a little backstory on them while you take their DNA for a clone.
The Persistence has turned out to be an excellent blend of genres that I haven't experienced before. There are some terrifying moments and the monsters themselves can be somewhat creepy, but you are given enough weapon choice to get the job done. With the map layout changing after every death, and the number of upgrades to chase after there is tons of replay value as well. While the game may be rough at the start, The Persistence is a terrifyingly fun time that's worth playing through at least once.
Replay value, weapon selection, enemy type, horror aspects hit home.
Clunky Animations, rough at the start.