Welcome to the slightly dysfunctional blending of New York and Central City. In the not-too-distant future, things are so bad that Central Park has been turned into a self-governing entity. But hey, it’s not all bad; at least there are still drug deals and murders to investigate. Since you are a private eye, that will keep you very busy.
Disjunction comes with a story full of well-used plots and character types. While this isn’t original, it does provide some familiarity. Sometimes, knowing a bit about what’s coming your way isn’t so bad.
When you start the game, you are a private investigator just hanging out in your place. Your first action is to get up and take a call from Sib. Once you have some conversation taken care of, you can start your investigation. Then the sneaking begins (lots of sneaking).
This game is a top-down adventure with melee weapons, guns, healing packs, and lots and lots of skulking about. You’re not a commando, after all, so don’t expect to charge in with all guns blazing. With that approach, you will most likely die very quickly. Disjunction is more about being stealthy and sneaking up behind your opponents (your club is your best friend here).
There are two primary modes of moving about: plain walking about (fast, but noisy) or lurking about in stealth mode (significantly slower, but with some benefits). While in stealth mode, you move very quietly and can sneak up on just about anybody who can’t see you directly. As for being seen, when you are in stealth mode you can visualize the enemy field of vision. If you can be quiet and sneak up on your opponents (human or bot), you can club them, drag the bodies to an inconspicuous spot, and not arouse any attention.
As for the visuals, this one is another retro, pixelated, cyberpunk offering. The cyberpunk tag sounds almost cliché these days, but the visuals and audio (and the fact that your first character is actually cybernetically enhanced) do lend some credence there.
I’m sure you noticed that bit about your first character. In Disjunction, you get to play three different characters, each with a unique set of skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Your first character has enhanced eyes, a pistol, and a nifty stunner charge to immobilize an opponent for a few seconds. The next character has enhanced arms and a shotgun, which is good for clearing a path in a hurry. The third is a nerdy tech type, but she carries a sub-machine gun so she’s not as bad in a firefight as you might expect from a tech-nerd.
All of your characters are working to find out who is supplying Shard, the new designer drug on the scene. Your mission, of course, is to “get to the bottom of this and put a stop to it.” Like I said, not a revolutionary story, but it works, so let’s go with it.
The mechanics of game play are fairly easy. The left Joy-Con moves you around, while the right Joy-Con provides the sightline for your ranged weapons (it shows up as two small “plus” signs). The Right, ZR, Left, and ZL buttons operate your weapons, X toggles stealth, and B activates a healing function. Be careful with healing and certain other functions; they take energy to use, and your energy supply doesn’t replenish itself automatically. You have to find extra energy packs lying around. Some baddies will drop a power pack for you, but they are not very frequent. When you do find one, it only provides a couple points of power.
So, what is our take-away from Disjunction? This is a pretty good game. It is definitely geared to sneaking around, learning patterns of movement/timing, and investigation. Oh, and one cool aspect of the text you read is that the game will highlight some key words. If you hover and click on these highlighted bits of text, the game will provide additional background on the subject. I really like this method of streamlining the action while still allowing the curious a way to dig deeper into the game.