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What is it? It's an interactive series that explores the challenges of being twenty-something in LA and the making of the virtual band OFK. Expect to pay $20/PS18 Developer : Team OFK Publisher : Team OFK Windows 10, Intel i5-10500H 16GB, Multiplayer? No link: ofk.cool (opens new tab).
We Are OFK's biggest flaws are in its hook. The game exists to promote OFK as a music production. It is the fictional origin story for a virtual band (think Riot's K/DA). Songs must be commercially successful, which means that compromises have to be made. The plot, however, is quick to point out the inauthenticity of such compromises. The game wants me to love the characters and support them.
We Are OFK focuses on the formation of the band in LA's pastel-heavy LA. It features very little interaction. Occasional dialogue options provide insight into characters' thoughts and feelings but do not affect the story. You can call someone a "jerk", or hype boba in three different ways, but the main thing is "jerk" or "yayboba". Each episode is approximately an hour long and will be released weekly with a single song and music video.
The music video for Follow/Unfollow wraps up the first episode. The song was first performed at the Game Awards last year over a video of the virtual crew. Here it is set over abstract minigames which make it a messy breakup song. This includes playing phone breakout, drunk texting an ex and herding cats to a return box. These sections add visual excitement, but they don't affect anything.
It is so obvious that We Are OFK wants to make me like its characters, and feel close to them. Anything that goes wrong tends not to go well.
OFK is a band that is trying to be relatable to all its viewers. This means that some songs fit the episode's short better than others. Fool's Gold is a satire on the human experience with insecurity and imposter syndrome. It can also be mapped to a particular character. Footsteps on the other hand wants you to get lost in its beat and more technical music video. However, it is all style and little substance when added to an episode about grief or alienation.
The band is a group of 20-somethings who are quirky and chaotic. Itsumi is the anime-loving keyboardist who has a tendency to get drunk and send keyboard smashes into the group chat. Luca, who is passionate as he can be, is the space singer and general space case. Carter is a soft-spoken tech genius who uses audiovisual effects. His thoughts are sometimes a bit off the beaten path. Jey, their producer who appears to have it all together, but is still trying to live up to impossible standards.
We are OFK is all about the bandmates and their needs. It also focuses on how they interact and clash with one another. The majority of the series is spent watching their conversations on phones or in person. They communicate with each other via coded emoticons at bars, text when bored at work, check their group chats while on a date, and sext using coded emojis. I feel more connected to characters when I have this insight into their private lives, including how they think about the things they say. However, it can also cause me to feel distant from them.
It's embarrassing when you are being hyped up by someone about a funny thing they did in a group chat. Then, the screenshot is shared and, without the chemistry of the group members, it's all just embarrassing. I was talking about the goth cowboy #aesthetic in one of mine this morning, so I'm in no way immune to the asinine, but I also know that I can't explain bat-emoji-cowboy-emoji being funny to someone else. We Are OFK attempts to recreate this dynamic but it often comes across as a bit cringey.
We Are OFK is both too real and too fake.
It is so obvious that We Are OFK wants to make me like its characters. Anything that goes wrong will often land hard. Luca makes a comparison between a trivial song choice and the Holocaust film Sophie's Choice in episode 1. He only knows this movie through cultural osmosis. Although it's intended to be a joke between two characters, I found it unbearable and disgusting.
We Are OFK's efforts to connect me to its cast have failed. It's no surprise that my favorite episode is one that takes me away from the group and slows down things. There's also very little texting. It is almost unplugged with the exception of some drunken-on-yoghurt text messages from Itsumi. It focuses quietly on grief. The series' themes--vulnerability, conflicting needs--are best expressed in the one episode that departs most from format. It is the episode where the music video feels least integrated. Worst promotion of OFK.
We Are OFK has many cleverly crafted scenes. Many episodes have cleverly crafted scenes. It breaks the format with great playfulness and heart. The band holds the experience back.
We Are OFK is both too real and too fake. It makes you feel like you are being sold something. There are details that can be used for the benefit of someone else, such as Itsumi and Luca's ranting about their day jobs in the games industry. Luca speaks about his desire to create meaningful art that helps others and is repeatedly reassured of that. It's difficult to reconcile that with the catchy, but not very original, dance music the band is producing in-universe. This is a pitch for an independent underdog in a plot that textually revolves around industry connections.
The hook is the novelty. It's not just an online game. It's a fictional biopic about a virtual band that streams three times per week on Twitch and hopes to tour. There are many interesting stories about 20-somethings discovering themselves, even if you forget the novelty. Interactive fiction uses text in a more engaging way, and games that don't try to sell you a product.
The Verdict55Read our Review Policy We Are OFK>An incontinent blend of vulnerability, brand consumption.