Be The First Responder

HIGH Back to the ’70s!

LOW Taking ten minutes to figured out that a traffic light was a ‘clue’.

WTF No one goes to jail for running red lights in Poland?

There’s currently a renaissance in the world of simulator games — it used to be that players could run a farm or engineer a train, but that was about it. However, the past five years have seen a glut of sim content enter the market. Whether players want to fix World War II-era tanks, deal drugs, clean train stations, or repair rovers on Mars, there’s a game for it.

While sims all attempt to mimic realism to one degree or another, they’re generally relegated to the realm of fantasy. Developers understand that players aren’t going to actually do any of these jobs, but Accident stands well apart from this crowd. The experience it replicates? Being the first person to arrive in the aftermath of a car accident. It isn’t wildly fantastical or far-fetched at all — no, it’s the kind of thing that could literally happen to anyone at any time.

More educational tool than traditional videogame, Accident casts players as a magazine writer working on a story about everyday heroes who rescued people from car accidents. To aid them in their research, the player is provided with VR simulations that put them in shoes of the people who actually helped out.

(So for those counting — yes, Accident is two levels removed from reality, and no, I have no idea why the developers structured it this way.)

After choosing a mission and putting on the virtual VR helmet, the player is dropped into a dramatic situation. Interacting from a first-person perspective, the player must navigate the accident site, assess the condition of the victims and update the authorities about what’s going on. To be clear, this isn’t a sim about being a paramedic — players only ever have one goal, and that’s to keep things from getting worse before help arrives.

Once I was a couple of missions in, I noticed a real sameness to the various situations.

While the incidents that caused the crashes varied wildly, the outcomes didn’t. The injuries people get when cars smash are the same whether it runs off the road or collides with unsecured logs that have fallen off a truck. A few missions manage to mix things up in interesting ways, like attempting a rescue in the dark of night, or during a driving snowstorm. By and large, though, there’s a huge amount of repetition in each level. However, that repetition isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Since Accident is more interested in teaching than it is in entertaining, there’s something to be said for having the player do the same tasks over and over again until they become a reflex.

For example, it had never occurred to me that the first thing to do when arriving at a crashed car would be to turn the engine off. The reason is perfectly logical — damaged wiring can start fires if the battery is discharging electricity — but never having been trained for situations like these, I was surprised to discover just how short ‘common sense’ falls in a legitimate crisis.

After the player ensures that everyone is stabilized and the paramedics arrive, the second phase of Accident starts — the reporter scans the scene and looks for the cause of the crash. This is clearly the ‘game-iest’ part of Accident, since there’s no narrative reason to investigate the circumstances that led to the crashes.

Most of the accidents are relatively self-explanatory — when the player sees a log truck fleeing down the highway and then comes across a bunch of cars crushed by loose logs, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces together. Other clues are maddeningly unclear, however, and more than once I spent multiple minutes wandering around while looking for interaction points to analyze.

Is Accident an impressive game? Not particularly. There are just nine accidents, and each one is a puzzle that needs to be solved the same way each time. However, the educational value is off the charts. Accident may not catch on as something to enjoy casually, but it’s the kind of thing that every new driver should spend some time with. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it an ‘important’ game, but I can confidently state that by having played it, I’m more prepared to help at the scene of an accident than I was before, and that’s worth something.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Duality Games and Glob Games and published by Playway S.A.. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 3 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game was not reviewed by the ESRB but it contains Blood and Violence. The aftermaths of these crashes can get pretty bleak at times, and while I wouldn’t suggest that younger children play it, it could be an invaluable resource for parents whose kids are planning on learning to drive in the near future.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: I played the majority of the game without sound and encountered no difficulties. All necessary information is provided via visual cues and subtitles, which cannot be resized. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.

Daniel Weissenberger
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