We Are OFK Episodes 1 and 2 Review (PS5)
Trash piano practice, ug I feel that Itsumi.
Publisher: Team OFK
We Are OFK following a group of four people who all eventually forms the band We Are OFK. They all seem to know each other, or will know each other, and all they need is a little push to form their own band. Though, each of them have their own set of personal issues that they need to work through throughout the course of the game.
Episode 1, Hooks, gives us an introduction to the soon-to-be bandmates as well as how the game will be structured. It turns out we won’t be focusing on one character, but all of them and will often switch between characters (even sometimes mid conversation, but you’re at least told which character you’re controlling when this happens). This episode puts a focus on Itsumi and Luca. They both are friends working at the same place, a video game company that made a mech fighting game. Itsumi gets most of the focus as we learn that she just moved out of her parent’s house, broke up with her ex before moving (and well, there’s still some unresolved issues there), all that comes with being the video game company’s social media person and trying to schedule meetings, and getting back into playing piano. Being rusty at piano is not helping her self-esteem, coupled with her ex trying to talk to her, but she does have a nice friend group.
Luca, meanwhile, is a singer songwriter and as you can guess, his job at the company is to write. He’s particularly dealing with not feeling like he’s good enough to create music, despite being able to come up with melodies and lyrics all the time, and he craves creative freedom that his job at the company is not letting him have. But alas, he needs the money more.
We of course get introduced to the other two soon-to-be bandmates, Carter and Jey. Carter is actually roommates with Luca and is described as a coding and visual effects genius. We don’t get to know Carter just yet, but we know that Carter tries to help their friends whenever possible. Jey is a music producer who seems to know everyone but Itsumi, which they meet during a party. She is someone that can see talent and was the one that saw Luca’s talent when Luca attended her class. While she isn’t happy Luca lost some of his passion, she does help encourage Luca. She also ends up helping Itsumi out after finding her drunk at a different party.
Just like its namesake, the first episode does a good job in introducing you to the characters, even though some don’t get a spotlight, and getting you invested in what is going to happen next (especially considering a certain bombshell that drops for one of them).
Luckily, we don’t have to wait for Episode 2, Loops, which takes place a week later. This focuses on Luca and Jey and I’d say both of them do get equal amounts of focus. Everyone does seem to be woven into everyone else’s story more than the first episode which is nice. Luca is dealing with his sudden job lose with finding love…and procrastination. You don’t get a feeling of his insecurity here, but we do get to see the side of him that puts everything to the side for a new love interest. That is, until he is suddenly dumped by the guy he thought was the one and he realizes he let a job offer pass him by and neglecting his friends. Carter, in particular, seems to be hurt by Luca’s aloofness as we see Carter being more closed off and kind of sick of Luca not really paying attention. Especially when Carter has a show that happens at the end of the episode and Luca does not give a straight answer on whether he’s going or not.
And well, it seems this episode is all about the romance, as Jey’s side focuses on that as well. Her parents have been pressuring her to date someone and she’s not ready. It seems that Itsumi and Jey have gotten closer since we last saw them and Itsumi even goes to Jey’s studio to record some piano (and honestly I want to know how a grand piano was able to 1 get in the booth and 2 fit). And well, you can guess where this goes. I thought I was a bit crazy feeling the sexual tension in their scenes (I’m not that great at sensing that) but they end up…well not together but more of a casual open thing. Itsumi doesn’t seem that into it and conflicted, but Jey hints at her own insecurities and issues revolving around relationships. I’m not really sure how they will end up, as I personally don’t think it’s a great idea since they have the same friend group and going to be in the same band and that can get messy, but we’ll have to see. They do seem to be into each other though, so hopefully they work out.
Loops is a pretty good second episode and may even be better than the first. It did feel like it had more balance between the characters and a bit better at pacing. Although, the week jump, which is subtly brought up in-game but even then can be weird if you don’t know about it going in, can throw you in for a loop sometimes. Like Itsumi doesn’t seem to be that bothered about her break up anymore.
Each episode will also have a new song featured within it, featuring a minigame sequence that also doubles as the music video. “Follow/Unfollow” is Episode 1’s song which pairs with Itsumi’s overwhelming thoughts on her ex and bouncing between texting and not texting them. Here you do a variety of things as Itsumi like bouncing a phone, returning cats, and gathering shards. For Episode 2 it’s “Fool’s Gold” which pairs with Luca’s crumbling love life and has him in space alone and walking alone towards copies of himself. This one isn’t as interactive, having you walk to Luca’s to grab their energy (I’m guessing) and highlight asteroids to destroy. I do wish these sections had more within them as this is the perfect place to be bursting with creativity.
As for the songs, it’s going to depend on your tastes. Personally, some of the lyrics can be cringey when you actually listen, but so far they ended up being the perfect songs to just zone out to. They were pleasant to listen to.
Other than that, most of the gameplay is through text/dialogue choices. These don’t seem to impact much of anything other than what that character will say and what others will respond with, and there is a possibility it’ll be mentioned again in the next episode. For dialogue choices, you have 10 seconds to respond (there is an infinite time option) which I found was enough time. There is also a lot of texting between characters as well which gives you infinite time to respond. I’m guessing this is so you can read back on the history, as sometimes there is a bit of text history you can read before diving into the current conversation.
Talking about dialogue, I can’t leave without talking about the writing (and it’s a bit weird talking about it all the way down here). Again, this is going to depend on the person, but if you didn’t like Life is Strange’s writing you are definitely not going to like We Are OFK’s writing. Personally, it straddled the line of being good and being annoying, but at the same time they were really endearing. They all have established personalities, speech habits, and their insecurities and problems they’re dealing with can be relatable. It also helps that their voice acting is stellar, bringing more personality to these characters (and personally, I love Luca the most so far). The writers also happen to have their texting fit the character as well (though the week jump did throw me for a loop for Jey). Like every time Luca texts I can envision him actually saying it.
So far, We Are OFK is turning out to be a good game. I wasn’t sure what to expect other than it’ll be revolving around the band and so far I’ve been enjoying the game. I got hooked to the story, I really like the characters, voice acting is stellar, I like the art style and visuals (although the character models can be noticeably stiff at points), and the music hits the “I can totally zone out listening to this” zone for me. I do wish there were more gameplay aspects here, but I’m not too upset about it.
Still, your enjoyment of We Are OFK is very much going to depend on your own tastes. The writing is not going to gel well with everyone, if you’re expecting more gameplay you’ll be disappointed, and those that make game choices with game length and price in mind probably will find this too short (even with all the episodes, as we know each episode will be around an hour).
Only two episodes are available right now, with Episode 3 releasing tomorrow, so I will return when all episodes are released. I wanted to talk about how it is for those that might want to get it early as well as my thoughts on the whole game. So I’ll be back with more We Are OFK soon!