An accident is defined as an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury. Some might say I accidentally stumbled upon the chance to review Accident, an accident simulator from Duality Games. It seems like a rather macabre thing to base a game on, but could the investigative aspects and opportunity to potentially save lives make it all worthwhile?
Well, not particularly. Accident is a bit like a car crash, and not the kind that you want to have a sneaky look at as you pass by. Nevertheless, let’s attempt to find some redeeming qualities that may create intrigue for you.
Accident sets the stage by placing you in the role of a journalist who works for Auto Mag, where you’re given a project to work on titled ‘Roadside Heroes’. Essentially it focuses on the people that have encountered road traffic accidents (RTAs) throughout the years, those who have helped out at the scene of the incident. Using futuristic VR tech in-game, you’re going to re-enact their good deeds, before figuring out how the accident occurred in the first place. Now, let’s save lives… right after a mandatory tutorial.
The tutorial goes through what you should expect to find during each case, step by step. Everything plays out in a first-person perspective, with interactive options mainly requiring either a single or prolonged button press to initiate an action. A slight drawback is how tricky it can be when it comes down to interacting with anything. There are two reasons: the hit detection windows are a bit small and the cursor is either too tetchy, or stupidly sluggish, depending on your settings.
Such activities that could arise range from calling emergency services and placing warning triangles in the area, to performing CPR and putting out fires. CPR is perhaps the pinnacle of activities as you’re asked to press the button in a certain rhythm, which is fun to action on crash test dummies. For real situations urgency is paramount though, there’s no time for messing about when people are in dire need of help.
It actually does a great job of explaining how to approach the different aspects of providing aid. The problem is that each of the ten proper cases which follow still include the step by step hand-holding to guide you through everything that must be done. Most of which becomes extremely repetitive as you’re phoning for help, securing the scene and doing first aid until the paramedics arrive. The only real deviations from the usual patterns involve seriously convoluted moments.
One of the most unbelievable instances involves a massive log which prevents access to vehicles involved in a collision; a log which you casually move out of the way like it’s a feather. Another occasion has you scrambling to stop a car falling off a cliff, basically by filling the trunk with rocks without any hesitation. Don’t get me started on finding an alternative to ice for a severed limb. On the face of it, these seem like good ideas to make you think outside the box and adapt to the issue at hand, but in reality I feel they’re just far-fetched and illogical.
Anyway, due to the serious nature of each accident, you’re up against the clock from the moment you begin the case. You see, the victims are withering away with every passing second and even whilst knowing what needs to be done, it’s bloody stressful. Genuinely, the pressure is high when deciding who to treat first and in which order to administer first aid skills – so much so that St John Ambulance would be proud.
The time constraint is a nuisance however, with some sections of a level taking up too much of it as you wander around finding the necessary tools or spend too long fighting fires that just won’t dissipate. If a victim dies on your watch, you must rewind and redo every objective from that segment again. It’s frustrating when time runs out because the fire extinguishers are inaccurate, or you’re tentatively trying to cross a busy road with a full-sized human in your arms – akin to a bizarre version of Frogger.
After the medically trained professionals take over the scene, the more relaxing investigation into what actually happened begins. Searching the area for clues, you must then piece them together in order to create a timeline of events. Vehicle A might swerve to avoid an animal, collides with Vehicle B, and then Vehicle C rear-ends the latter. On top of that, the driver of Vehicle B wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and flew through the windscreen – ALWAYS wear your seatbelt folks. As strange as it sounds, this analysing bit is enjoyable as it is puzzling and requires logic to solve.
Upon completing a scenario, you get treated to a cutscene reconstruction of the accident and a follow-up of what happened in the aftermath. The re-enactments are absolutely awful and look ridiculous, showcasing even worse visuals than are seen throughout the regular gameplay sections. They are laughably bad, but that laughter vanishes swiftly with the morbid ‘where are they now?’ part. Usually they’re either dead, living a limited life, or psychologically damaged. Now, that’s how you send the audience away satisfied.
Each of the scenarios might take a mere twenty minutes a piece, but they’ll feel significantly longer if you are facing failure consistently. That would be alright if Accident possessed any variety other than slight tweaks on the classic RTA, which becomes samey. It does feature different locations and atmospheric conditions though, so at least you can travel to places like the US, Russia and the UK.
It’s fair to say that Accident falls short, stumbling at the opportunity to deliver a fulfilling experience. Following a helpful tutorial, it struggles to find a balance between being stupidly easy and oddly difficult, with the latter mainly due to iffy game mechanics. The investigation portion does pose decent logical problems to solve, but the morbid aftermath is a massive downer.
Let me be the real hero here by suggesting you pass by Accident and look elsewhere for your next niche simulator.
Accident is on the Xbox Store
- Piecing together events
- Great tutorial
- Repetitive gameplay
- Far-fetched goings on
- Terrible visuals
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Duality Games
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, Switch
- Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
- Release date - 9 December 2022
- Launch price from - £12.49