Receiver 2

Receiver 2

released on Apr 14, 2020

Receiver 2

released on Apr 14, 2020

Receiver 2 simulates every internal part of each firearm based on manufacturer schematics and gunsmithing resources. Learn exactly how each sidearm works, including how to load and unload them, clear malfunctions, and operate their safety features.


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Receiver
Receiver

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This review contains spoilers

What is the game actually like?

You wake up in a dream world, an endless maze of buildings, with a gun and some bullets. You have to find these little tapes that make a strange singing noise. Each tape you listen to progresses you towards the next level. Each new level brings a different random gun from a set. The Threat sends horrible little robots after you, initially just static sentries but later, worse. Your best shot is to spot them first and disable them from a distance. If they kill you, you'll 'rank down' and start from the previous level. It's pretty tough once you get to the 3rd rank, but if you're careful you can get higher. There is a huge amount of fun to be had here, if you like stealth without vision cones and you like careful shooting with as much of the operating burden on the player as I've seen in any game (I learned a lot from these games about how guns actually work). I have never finished it but I've reached the final rank, and played a ton of it in any case. It's not for everyone but it's really really something.

Theme chat

(CW self harm, mental illness)

I enjoyed the first game a lot, and when this came out it was a big moment for me. More of the gun simulation that is very neatly done, more terrifying beeps to make you freeze and then run, more hunting for tapes. And importantly, still no shooting at people or even people-shaped things. The tapes and talking about the Threat more explicitly made it feel clear that the Threat is a metaphor for depression or other mental illnesses that can cause self harm. Much time in the tapes is spent on stories of people with clear depression spiralling or recovering, as well as gun safety/clearing malfunctions to prevent accidents. The tapes even talk about the stuff the US Army did to desensitise their soldiers to killing other people (human-shaped targets, distancing themselves mentally from their actions, etc.). I don't think the game is trying to tell you to keep a gun close and be ready for a physical threat. I think it's trying to tell you to take care of yourself and watch your brain for signs of an internal threat, and also if you have a gun, take it Very Seriously and don't assume anything is safe about it. All messages I support, really.

Interesting until tedious. I don't regret playing, but I also don't see myself ever returning.

Edit: I still have the game backlogged because I have been told the information below may not be accurate. But until I play the game to completion, just know this is an incomplete review of the game and that the story may be dismantling this ideology, though for right now I can't verify

CW: Mass shootings and right-wing ideology

Alright I've got one major problem with this game, the narrative is a little more prevalent in this one and they made it play exactly like alt right-wing propaganda. The whole narrative revolves around an unknown threat that is both all-powerful and weak, that you cannot actively fight but must permanently train and prepare for, and that you must be paranoid of those around you (especially those who disregard the threat as nonsense or not a problem) keeping your weapons on hand at all time for a supposed war you may suddenly need to fight. Ideologies like this especially do not need to be repeated at a time with mass public horrors such as when these scared armed teenagers decided to 'fight' their supposed 'threat' at schools. This alone tanks the score, like mate cultural context heavily applies in situations like this. Couldn't keep playing when the game mentioned keeping your weapons ready to turn on those around you, scared me for the fate of our warring world with just that piece of dialogue.

Outside of this, basically the same game but with graphical upgrades, enemies aren't as stupidly strong and actually easier to deal with, and the buildings feel less repetitive to traverse.

The best and most realistic weapons simulation in any game EVER. The voice actor does an amazing job with the script he's been given. This game is challenging to the MAX, and it is a very fun kind of challenge don't get me wrong. The lore is amazing and is absolutely limitless, The Compound is fun to dick around in and complete challenges and puzzles.

I hadn't expected Receiver of all things to get a sequel, but honestly, I'm glad it did. Everything from the first game was polished, iterated and expanded upon to where I'd argue it's reached full potential.

As a firearm simulator, it's deeply engaging to learn how every gun operates and commit its intricacies to muscle memory. As a stealth game, it's unbelievably tense and immersive, but I'm also extremely jumpy by nature so your mileage may vary.

As a narrative about mental illness and mindfulness, I understand it's quite divisive. I've been diagnosed with clinical depression and autism for almost 20 years, with signs that I might also have ADHD. I've struggled and suffered and continue to do so. How Receiver 2 handles this topic, how it uses its narrative and gameplay to explicitly and implicitly talk about mental illness was very poignant to me for reasons I could talk on and on and on about for an hour or two. Rather than spend half an hour writing an absurd wall of text, I'll simply put it like this: For a game about guns, Receiver 2 is deeply empathetic and encourages coping mechanisms, safety, and social awareness in ways not a lot of media dealing with these topics does.

I'm gonna be thinking about and revisiting Receiver 2 for a while.