‘Eliza’ – A Beautiful Thought Experiment

What would you do if the machine you invented was being used for something you never intended? ‘Eliza’ is a short choice-based story that tests your moral code.

‘Eliza’ is a visual novel in which you can decide the fate of the protagonist, Evelyn. It’s set in a not-too-distant future where an enormous tech company, Skandha, have built an artificial intelligence to act as a counsellor for people who can’t afford professional counselling.

The premise itself drew me in immediately. What made me stay was the great acting, beautiful illustrations and amazing soundtrack.

Copyright Zachtronics.

The Story

I won’t be giving away any plot here, because I highly recommend that you go into this game knowing as little as possible. However, I will talk briefly about why it’s so good.

I love the way this story is told. It follows the life of Evelyn, an engineer who has recently resurfaced in the big city scene after a three year period of self-imposed isolation. She returns, under-cover, to Skandha, the company that she used to work for, to see how her invention, an artificial intelligence named Eliza, is being used.

You meet several meaningful and interesting characters along the way, all of which pull Evelyn in different directions. You have the choice of what to say to them and how you want the relationships to go. The supporting characters are the driving force behind the plot, as they each provide Evelyn with a different path.

Copyright Zachtronics.

The Gameplay

This game is very simple, in terms of its gameplay. It’s more like a short graphic-novel with voice acting and music that you get to interact with. It requires no skill, which is why I enjoyed relaxing with it so much. You can just fire up the game and play through the story, learning more about the world in which it is set.

The great thing about this game is that you can revisit any chapter of the story and choose to take a different path. The game isn’t particularly long, but each path has been well thought out and is, most importantly, just as interesting as the other paths.

You also have a smartphone throughout the story, which you can pull up at any point. It provides great exposition through emails, text messages and games. There’s also an integrated version of Solitaire, but I have yet to complete it.

Copyright Zachtronics.

Should I Buy?

Yes. This is a beautiful game. The visuals, sounds and story are so beautiful that I would recommend this game to anyone who is even mildly interested from the above description. I’d love to hear your opinions on the characters and pathways, too!

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