Lacuna is one of the best slow sci-fi narrative games I’ve ever played thus far. It is indeed a very slow burn but the delivery and presentation of the narrative is quite excellent and some of the best I’ve seen, especially for fans of science fiction.
The game starts off with a literal bang. You start the game as a young girl named Mirah. She has just arrived at the Sector II colony on Drovia. As she catches up with her friend Noah, things take a sudden and drastic turn for the worse as the colony is rocked by explosions and she barely makes it to the safe room.
The game jumps forty years into the future as you take control of Neil Conrad, a CDI agent in charge of protecting the President of Drovia, Banny. Things once again, take a sudden and drastic turn for the worse as President Banny is assassinated and Neil must get to the bottom of this case before the heightened tensions break out into interplanetary war.
Aside from the intriguing plot, the amount of depth to the lore is incredible. It is well thought out and establishes a very interesting backdrop. Both the planets of Ghara and New Joran have established colonies on Drovia. Now many years later, Drovia has thrived and grown and the desire for independence from Ghara is at an all time high. The tension between the two planets are palpable. As you can see, the assassination of the Drovian President is quite a problem. There are more tidbits of lore presented in news articles, emails, dialogue, and etc. that create a captivating tapestry of information that makes the world feel alive and real.
The delivery of the lore and narrative is quite excellent as well. The game takes its time to present characters and events so you can fully immerse yourself in the story. It truly does feel like watching a very slow sci fi movie or tv show or even reading a fantastic novel. The game does a great job of giving you enough information to slowly unravel the mystery of what is happening and the roots go much deeper than first though. There are implications of Ghara sabotaging the Sector II colony of New Joran and using false evidence to implicate New Joran so that Ghara alone can obtain the rights to colonize Drovia. This is just the tip of the iceberg and you’ll have to get through the game to see what the truth of the situation really is.
The game also gives you actual choices to make that immediately impacts the narrative in small but appreciable ways. For example, in the beginning, you can have Neil choose to visit his daughter or not. If you do, you will get a text from your ex wife later on telling you how much your daughter appreciated it. These small things don’t really impact the game play or narrative in large ways but it makes it feel like your choices matter. In addition to these smaller choices are larger ones that do impact the narrative and ending of the game.
Overall, Lacuna is one of the best narrative sci-fi games I’ve played so far. It’s very slow, heavy on the science fiction, and has some incredibly well thought out and well presented narratives that you can truly immerse yourself in. It’s definitely not for people who want something faster paced and with more action, but as a fan for slow sci-fi (like Blade Runner), this game is one of the best I’ve played in recent memory.