Not For Broadcast Review | In a time of major political upheaval in a fictionalized version of the United Kingdom where the far liberal advance party have won the latest election created by a lawyer called Julia Salisbury, hellbent on changing the established order of the nation and a popular actor, Peter Clement. You play as Alex, a studio director for a very popular TV news show aptly named the National Nightly News trying to keep the show on the air despite the potential interference to the broadcast (whereby you change the frequencies of the broadcast to the signal so the show doesn’t show static), bleeping out the profanities of the guests, live broadcasts and featurettes, playing advertisements and keeping the people whom are taking on the screen that goes out to the audience watching. Is Not For Broadcast a rating hit or will it be taken off the air prematurely? Let’s tune in and find out.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox One | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- The humour | Not For Broadcast is extremely funny and had me actually laughing hard which is rare for a video game to achieve. Bringing out laughs like a sitcom on television would usually do, to the point whereby it started distracting me from the main objectives of the game and caused me to fail once or twice. In particular, the added extra mode of the Telethon was hilarious and the slapstick comedy on show was a major success. The main game brings a level of hilarity from the start with a live press conference whereby the man giving the conference is drunk and unable to control his swearing in some scenes to which I could scarcely believe they had filmed it.
- Acting was brilliant | The game hinges on the characters feeling grounded in reality as the live broadcast sections are real actors in an FMV style so as not to take you out of the story. I think the actors are exceptional at being grounded in reality even if some sections are cranked up to 11 for comedy purposes (like the telethon section which borderlines farcical but doesn’t breach that line of absurdity). Special mention to the actors who play Julia Salisbury, whom is the villain of the piece, as you can tell she had a lot of fun in the role and made the most of hamming it up as the dictator in charge. Also to Jeremy Donaldson, the anchor of the news programme, for trying to keep it together despite every part of the production falling apart around him and the fourth wall breaks to your character was a very nice touch.
- Watching old broadcasts | Not For Broadcast has a very cool feature whereby you can watch back any of your old broadcasts to see how poorly you actually did as a studio director which is especially funny when you think you have done well in the broadcast, get an average grade for that broadcast and wonder why the grade was so low so you then look back at the broadcast in full as you realise that you didn’t perform as well as you think. I did this and I laughed at my own shortcomings. Also in Not For Broadcast is a feature where you can watch individual screens of the broadcasts and parts of the broadcast that aren’t meant to be on the screen that the public watch like backstage and make-up bits for the news anchors. Because you are so busy keeping the show on the air you are bound to miss a few jokes and/or miss parts of the segments and this adds to the hilarity.
- Challenge Mode | The challenge mode adds an extra layer of difficulty to a game which is difficult enough as it is in my opinion but it is there for those people who think Dark Souls or Cuphead was a piece of cake. Whether the challenge includes increasing the speed and difficulty of the interference, whether some screens cut out on you, or even if you experience electric shocks during the broadcast which disable you for a few seconds; perhaps even a mixture of the above for a special level of hell and sadism. I was absolutely fine with the normal difficulty but I tried them all on max for balance and I lasted seconds before the show ended and I failed.
- Music and sound effects are fantastic | The theme song to the game which plays on the menu screens is exceptionally catchy and you will find yourself bobbing and humming away to it, even after it has gone. My only caveat to this is I wish there were more songs to this effect on the loading screen. Also, the song played doesn’t sound like it should be part of this game; it sounds very world war style when most of the themes of the game are very modern. The sound quality, however, is excellent and is needed in a game where the sound dictates the gameplay and you have to keep the screen on the person talking or singing. To that effect, the game has in-broadcast song performances in which you have to switch the screens to the music. These sections would have been awful had the quality not been present in both the performances and the sound quality. Also, the game tells you by sound if you are performing well by a ding that you would associate with success and a gameshow style cross sound when you perform poorly meaning the distinction is clear as you have little time to see for yourself as you work your way through the broadcast.
- Gameplay is very busy | In Not For Broadcast, you will be kept extremely busy throughout the broadcast sections by the editing of the screens that go out to the audience, the interference frequencies, any swearing that is broadcast that needs to be censored (which is often), and any situational types of problems such as electric shocks or even Five Night’s at Freddy’s style dolls that will cause mayhem. Any lapses of concentration and dips in the quality of broadcast are ruthlessly punished by your drop in grade, even at the lightest of difficulty settings. Just a pre-warning any distractions could be fatal to your progress in this title so this needs to be played when children are away or, in my case, pets are asleep.
- Visuals are great | The visuals in the non-broadcast sections are basic and full of text for you to read and make your choices with but the broadcast sections are where the game’s visuals spring to life with the FMV video action being very bright and vivid. The monitors where you have to change frequencies are clear and as you turn the screen, you are greeted with action outside the window where sometimes you have to zap power lines. Where it’s dark outside, it is reflected inside the mixing room where you are so you feel isolated and insular but when it’s bright the sun shines back onto the console where you are based. It’s the little things that stand out.
- Not for under 18s | I stress this markedly – it’s not a game you should buy for anyone under 18. One of the main themes of Not For Broadcast is your ability to censor any foul language in the broadcast and in order for this to work, there have to be profanities in broadcasts. There are also scenes of a sexual nature (mainly for comedic purposes) and there is also non-swearing vocabulary used in this title that younger viewers may not understand. This writer and player didn’t mind this at all but anyone with children will need to know this before playing as I wouldn’t want to subject any of my younger family members to some of the stuff in the broadcasts.
- Broadcasts are long | The broadcast sections of the game do take a long time each time, about 45 mins to an hour at a time to complete each broadcast day so Not For Broadcast is not a game that you can pick up and play for a few minutes before you do something else or go anywhere. It demands your attention for a long time so keep that in mind when you play it. For me, some of the time, I was entertained by its humour enough to not mind the length and other times it does feel like a bit of a slog. Each broadcast has 2 full sections with 3 adverts that you select and play, the run time of the sections appears at the top of the screen and can run up to 15-20 minutes at a time. There is a pause button so you do not need to play it constantly in case duty calls.
What we Disliked
- Non-broadcast sections | Sadly to say, the non-broadcast sections of Not For Broadcast were not as successful as their counterpart. The non-broadcast sections which do take up a lot of the story are written in a text-based adventure-style format with decisions you have to make in regards to how your family deals with the new government and the situation they now have to face. Whilst the broadcasts are very entertaining, these sections are not as much. They can get a bit boring, especially with there being a few non-broadcast days at a time, so you get an extended period of making these choices. Also, there seem to be a lot of dates in the story in this style in comparison to the FMV broadcasts. I would have rather it the opposite way around and have the broadcasts dominate.
- The story is confusing at times | Whilst the acting in the videos is funny yet believable, the story doesn’t succeed as planned. It may be for comedic purposes but Not For Broadcast’s story is confusing, difficult to follow, and is very much over the top. From tampering with the food and causing millions to become sterile to all-out nuclear war with Europe, it feels like they needed to rethink certain aspects. Maybe the writer of the story got carried away.
How long to beat the story | 20 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 50 Hours (2 Playthroughs) + Extra Content
You’ll love this game if you like these | Five Nights at Freddy’s, Papers Please or Late Shift
Not For Broadcast is an enthralling game which has a concept which feels like it’s been inspired by several games but wrapped up in its own way to create something unique in its own right. The game is devilishly difficult and all-consuming whilst you are playing but it is also very funny with some points outrageous and even R-rated at times. I was very entertained and I do recommend playing provided you do not have young children as the content is made for the eyes and ears of an adult audience in regard to its sexual humour, nudity and profanity.
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