The Game carries out its task with dignity: to propose a tie-in of a certainly not exciting series, of which it succeeds in properly capturing the characters of the protagonists and the overall atmosphere. Although the narrative is far from unforgettable and the phases in which to beat the hands seem too approximate, the script consistent with the original serial and the shooter phases support the playful structure of a game suitable, as a pleasant pastime, for those who do not want to know to greet Lele, Spadino and Aureliano. Waiting for the third season, as a hit-and-run experience, Suburra: The Game could therefore have its raison d’être.
The Suburra was a place of perdition, a district of Ancient Rome where politics and crime met and proliferated in symbiosis. Nowadays, this name has become a sort of synonym to indicate a metaphorical point of union between legality and illegality, a zone of moral border in which ethics, law and religion lose importance and assume shaded contours. A marriage of good and evil aimed at the frantic search for power. It is from this union that the film Suburra by the talented Stefano Sollima and the TV series of the same name produced by Netflix were born: a screen representation of a Rome that is unhappy up to its foundations and in every single social stratum, from the high political and Vatican spheres, to the most infamous suburbs, where toxic and outrageous acts.
After having spread through all the streets of the Eternal City, now corruption is spreading on our smartphones with Suburra: The Game, the video game transposition of the serial available in streaming. The tie-in, created by Cattleya in collaboration with Monogrid, tells an original story set during the first season, with the aim of adequately reproducing the tones, atmospheres and characters of the protagonists. The result is a strange hybrid between graphic adventure and horizontal scrolling action game, that net of its obvious shortcomings on the side of gameplay has at least the advantage of maintaining a certain fidelity – in terms of writing – with the original work.
That the narrative plot is the main element of Suburra: The Game is evident from the beginning, as well as from its playful framework: the interaction, in fact, moves in symbiosis with the story, assuming the characteristics of an openly story-driven production, centered on the trio protagonist of the TV series. And so we’ll find Spadino, Lele and Aureliano Adami (still strictly blond here) entangled in a sketchy ride under Sara Monaschi’s imbeccata: the adventure revolves around a murder and the disappearance of a briefcase, which the three aspiring Kings of Rome will be called upon to recover.
To do so, they will have to put together a series of clues visiting some places in the Eternal City, talking with the various NPCs they meet and, if necessary, solve the problems to the sound of lead. As you can easily guess, the primary resource in the hands of the protagonists will be the dialectic: the conversations before and during a mission will have a certain importance, aimed at defining not only the context but also the relationships that bind the group of criminals.
On the basis of the multiple answers selected during the course of the dialogues, on the other hand, the relations between the members of the trio could undergo changes. Moreover, at the beginning of each assignment, we will be able to choose which protagonist to interpret, with slight consequences on the level of progress. For example, if we opt for Lele, the character’s speech could reduce the need to beat up our hands or take on “the iron”, while as Aurelian we will hardly be able to get out of the nosedive without resorting to intimidation. Playing Spadino, on the other hand, we will start immediately with a knife supplied to eliminate threats as quickly as possible. These differences are perceptible but not really significant, because overall the progress of a mission will follow more or less the same routines. Alongside the dialogic-narrative dimension of Suburra: The Game, which will accompany us for just under two hours of play divided into seven short chapters, there is a more “action” soul, connected by a double thread to the management aspect of the work.
In practice, during the progression, we will have the opportunity to explore small environments in which to collect some materials such as spinels and money, to be deposited in a common chest (to share the loot with other members) or to hide in a safe place to keep the stolen goods just for us. According to our choices we will have a greater or lesser amount of currency to buy weapons on the black market: before starting each chapter, after all, we will be able to select the point of Rome to reach, quickly crossing a map of the city.
In doing so, we will arm ourselves sufficiently to deal with the dangers of the more advanced chapters, where acting only with our fists will certainly not be enough. The mechanism works, and it requires a slight management of resources so as not to arrive unprepared at the more elaborate stages of the storyline. Trying out an assignment if you’re well armed allows Suburra: The Game to gain some extra points even in the gameplay: if in fact the fights – related to the obligation to press with your fingers on the icon of the enemy – are inaccurate and uncomfortable, the shootings are slightly more effective.
A single shot, usually, will be enough to send the Creator us or our targets, thus enticing us to act with more circumspection and to use the covers of the scenario with the appropriate timing. It is only regrettable that the adventure is over in a short time, but for the price at which it is sold (2.99 euros) is still fairly commensurate with the disbursement. The audiovisual sector is pleasant to the reader: the low-poly graphics may seem like a choice devoted to saving money, but in the absence of photorealism, to represent the features of the protagonists seemed to us a fairly apt technical solution.