A little over a month ago, when I started re-dedicating myself to cleaning up my to-be-played pile again rather than just collecting more and more games, Analogue: A Hate Story was one of the first games I started on this mission. After getting a story that was totally unexpected and loving it, I was thrilled to find out that I'd played it at exactly the right time since Hate Plus, the sequel was due to be released a little less than two weeks after I played the first game.
Hate Plus is both a sequel and a prequel. You get to find out what has happened with the AI you chose to save and her relationship with the investigator (you) while getting an idea of what her futures plans are with the investigator. Once again, you're tasked with finding more information about the Mugunghwa because there's more curiosity about what happened on that ship to cause them to lapse into a Choson (Joseon) Dynasty style society. If you're as interested in history as I am, you know that was Korea's longest dynasty lasting a little over 500 years.
Originally, the struggle on the ship was keeping the noble class at the top of the food chain while trying to appease the peasants who they feared would riot. They began to siphon away their political liberties slowly while introducing laws that focused on marriage and family. While that may not seem to be inherently evil, the goal was to keep the peasants ignorant and occupied while the nobility continued to rule. *Mute, referred to as Old *Mute to avoid confusion, had a large part in this fiasco. Her manipulating and scheming eventually backfired on her, causing a new era to emerge and leaning to her memories being wiped.
This game is a cautionary tale about what could happen if liberties are slowly taken away until you're a society living under total oppression. Laws are disguised as "good ideas" whose full implications aren't understood until they're actively affecting everyone's lives. Rights are taken away until no one can no longer remember what life was like before falling into their current social mores, and at times, it just seems easier to give in than to fight for those lost liberties.
However, that doesn't seem to be all the game cautions us about. There seems to be an underlying them that even the best of intentions are poisonous if they're rooted in malicious feelings. Sure, many of the players in this thought they were doing the right thing, but their motivations behind it was for all the wrong reasons. Some may have been pleased with the outcome of their actions, but those actions led to the eventual destruction of the whole ship.
Unlike the first game, this one doesn't feature the command prompt puzzles, leaving the players the ability to experience the game without breaking up the immersion by having to hop over to the terminal to input lines of command code, basically, which can kind of ruin the mood. While it was certainly cool that she added this in the last game, it seemed a bit difficult, in my opinion, for your average person to understand. This one you do spend most of your time reading the documents and interacting with the AIs.
While I was overall pleased with the game, I felt there were a few dangling bits of story, but those bits could also be interpreted as being intentionally left open for the player to choose what happened. I was also very pleased that this game explored how other relationships outside of the relationships between the women were affected by the things that were happening around them, even though how the women's lives were altered still factors in much more heavily (and with more angles of looking at things) than the men.
I highly recommend these games for people who like interactive fiction games aimed at making the players think and feel. These are games that I can certainly see myself revisiting in the future.