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Chinese Game Review: Devotion 还愿 / 還願


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Platform(s): PC 

Where to buy: previously available on Steam, but currently unavailable due to a political controversy Hopefully it will return soon. If you do find, ahem, other ways of playing the game in the meantime, then please buy the game once it becomes available again so as to support the developer. 

UPDATE 17/07/19 - seems like this one is never going to be officially re-released

Release Date: 19th Feb 2019

Languages: English and Chinese (both simplified and traditional characters), maybe other languages (unconfirmed)

Chinese Level Required: HSK5+

Proportion of play time where you'll be using Chinese: -

Specific/specialised Vocab Learned: -


Devotion is a first-person atmospheric horror game depicting the life of a family shadowed by religious belief. Explore a 1980s Taiwan apartment complex lost in time gradually shift into a hellish nightmare. Delve into the vows each member of the family has made, and witness their devotion. 




@Mijin managed to get hold of a copy and was kind enough to furnish this review:



As a game


Thoroughly enjoying it. It's genuinely scary, but not because of any actual threats, just various ways the game screws with you.

The story and setting is enthralling.
Adventure game fans might find it too simplistic though; most of the mechanics so far have simply been 'Take object A and put it in the place where object A is clearly meant to go'


As a learning resource


Although there is speech in the game, it's at fluent speed and doesn't repeat, so it's no better than watching a movie in that regard.
The text OTOH is great though because it is mostly not long passages of text; it's usually just a couple sentences in the context of looking at some object so you can have a stab at guessing some characters and also you get some association between words and their meaning.
And you can view the text as often as you like at your leisure. Since the story is good, it did motivate me to try to understand as much as I could. There are a few words which are taiwan-specific, but so far not too many.


So overall highly-recommended.

Level is HSK5+, simplified or traditional characters.


Update: after playing through a bit I have found several places where there is chinese speech in a loop, so there are in fact some places that could help with chinese listening


There is also this review from IGN, although it looks like it might contain minor spoilers to me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have now completed this game and I need to water down my recommendation a little.


Firstly because the game is quite short; you can go from beginning to end in a few hours, especially if you were just trying to complete the story and not study Chinese 😉
Also, while there are some very nice sequences, like the storybook sub-game, the worst sequence happens to be the longest one: the last 1/4 of the game utilizes a pretty ugly shader effect and isn't very interactive at all.


I will play through again; studying more of the vocabulary I didn't understand the first time. But I'll stop when I get to the end game.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/19/2019 at 12:26 AM, spacecraft5 said:

Do you know any other game, chinese or not like this one ?


If you're still about (or if anyone else is interested in playing a similar game), then there is the Thai developed Home Sweet Home.  (it has a Chinese text option, although the audio is either Thai or English)

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  • 9 months later...

An interesting interview with the development team. Unfortunately, they still don't tell the whole story about exactly why (and who) included the anti-CCP messaging into the game. I don't think they will be able to find any mainland publisher ever again, so they may as well just lean into the whole anti-CCP, anti-Xi theme with their next game, it would probably be very popular in today's political climate.


Regarding Devotion, unfortunately it sounds like there is some legal reason why they can't re-release the game officially.


Here's the interview:


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  • 7 months later...

This game was due to get a re-release on the GOG online PC games store, but they backed out (GOG is owned by the same Polish company that developed Cyberpunk 2077, so they may have been nervous of any Chinese backlash affecting sales of that game).





Hours after announcing it would bring controversial horror game Devotion to its platform, CD Projekt Red’s digital storefront GOG has reneged on its release plans. The company’s social media account claims that “after receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store.”



Devotion has been at the center of a censorship controversy since release last year, after players found in-game content that referred to Xi Jinping, the president of China, as a “Winnie-the-Pooh moron.” The Chinese leader is notoriously sensitive to the cartoon bear, to which memers have continuously compared him; the movie Christopher Robin did not get a Chinese release. Mentions of comedian John Oliver were outright censored on social media after a segment that mentioned the Winnie the Pooh comparisons. Players review-bombed the game, and the developer pulled it from Steam shortly after.


I think the developer has to look into self publishing at this point, since it seems no store will dare to sell it.

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  • 4 months later...

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