TL: DR- A Game about handling various aspects of a firearm.
Until I played Receiver I had no idea that you could make a game out of clumsy controls and a terrible UI but hey, I guess this is the world we live in now. For real tho, Receiver is really something special, in a medium where guns are ubiquitously found, they never seem to be trully replicated in the way they actually work. For the sake of simplicity, the act of reloading a gun is nothing more than the pressing of a key. Not in here, no. Press R to reload is way too simple for Receiver.
This very simple game, in fact, it has one very straight forward idea. You can operate nearly every single mechanism of a hand gun (the game contains 3 up do this date. A colt, a glock and a revolver). It asks of you nothing more than that, pick up, reload and fire a gun. The trick is that you must do all that with all the complexity and stewardship the real deal comes with.
Handling a real-life fire arm is a deadly art in its own right. It is the simplification and hard-wired memory of those who do that in the real-life battlefields that maketh a man into the deadliest amongst peers. Videogames have, for the most part, making YOU the deadliest man in the battlefield, Receiver asks the player: Are you REALLY THAT guy?
The of loading the Glock goes like this (try to read it really fast! and see it below!): You remove the magazine and cock the gun backwards to extract any bullets left there. You then pick up said bullet. After this, if you don’t have a pre-loaded magazine you must first store your handgun in your inventory, take out an empty magazine and insert each bullet individually. Got that? Now you must take the gun out again, insert the magazine back in and cock the gun again to load a bullet into the chamber. I see how you might be confused at it first, having a lot of keys is usually a bad idea in game design, but here, after a few tries it all ends up coming naturally to you.
Rather soon you will find yourself pre-loading the magazines imediately after the game starts so you can be prepared for any enemy(ies) you might find soon(ish) because, if you’re on a firefight and you don’t have those mags ready to lock and unload on your foe you’re dead. No bullets means zero lead raining down on those annoying pesky robots that slash and shock your face.
What brings the game to life are indeed the plethora of gun mechanics and all the depth and variety you can find within each gun and how it stands on its own two legs as a piece of experimental game design and it to show us the way videogames not only simplify reality but that in fact, reality can also be way more interactive and way more interesting in the virtual world when done right.
To finish with a thought: Receiver left me thinking on how awkardly impersonal all this videogaming gun toting trully is. Either you’re moving counters on a map or jumping towards the thick of action you never see these kind of minute, personal, yet abhorrent and baneful preparations.
A man at war, away from family and friends alike, all alone, a thousand thoughts of home run across his mind, while, one by one, death-dealing, impersonal, inanimate, non-caring and grim pieces of lead are being chambered to maim and kill.
It’s a stark vision, yes, but one we see so rarely that it makes playing Receiver all the more worthy.
Never have I ever handled a real firearm in my life.