Five Dates review: Vikings’ Georgia Hirst stars in perfect dating sim for second LockdownNovember 17, 2020
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Vikings star Georgia Hirst and Doctor Who’s Mandip Gill are just two of a roster of video dates waiting to be impressed in the new interactive rom-com, Five Dates. Shot during the coronavirus lockdown, the innovative experience features over 700 unique scenes and is available on PS4, Xbox One, Steam and Nintendo Switch from Tuesday, November 17. Here is our Reach Review of Five Dates.
Romantic-comedy dating simulation Five Dates is the perfect practice for those stranded in the single life as the second lockdown and new social restrictions descend on the UK.
Dating has come to a standstill for many young singletons thanks to this year’s restrictive coronavirus lockdowns.
As potential courtships are stamped out by social distancing, support bubbles and self-isolation, the pandemic has been hell for the recently single and long-term bachelors alike.
Thankfully, entertainment has been a vital lifeline for those stuck in single households, and the strict measures of the pandemic has birthed a wealth of creative new projects.
Five Dates is the latest experimental diversion, arriving right in the midst of England’s second lockdown of 2020.
Directed by promising new filmmaker Paul Raschid (White Chamber), the interactive experience puts players in control of Vinny (Taheen Modak), a lovable everyman who has just signed up to a unique video dating app.
Emerging star Modak potentially has the trickiest job as both the audience cipher and the driver of Five Dates’ romantic encounters.
With the players’ ability to shape Vinny’s career, lifestyle choices and occasionally disastrous dating blunders, Modak’s performance is just endearing enough to make even his worst flirting faux pas somewhat likeable.
Marisa Abela, Georgia Hirst, Mandip Gill, Georgia Small and Sinéad Harnett step into the roles of Vinny’s five potential matches.
Filmed during the height of the UK’s first lockdown, the actresses all manage to exude their unique charisma despite Five Dates’ limited shooting conditions.
Hirst is especially authentic as Grace, a studious and somewhat intimidating lawyer whom players may find the toughest to impress.
Marisa Abela’s Maya also excels in her scenes with Modak, their chemistry somehow putting most romantic-comedies of the last few years to shame.
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Doctor Who star Mandip Gill is effortlessly winning as NHS nurse Shaina and, while Vinny’s tributes to frontline workers occasionally come across a little clunky, her presence effectively grounds Five Dates in the complex realities of COVID living.
Of course, with so many paths to go down, the beauty of Five Dates is that each player could have a completely different experience with every new play-through.
Video dates range from magical fairy tale endings to absolute horror stories; it all depends on whether the player is feeling adventurous or sadistic when they press ‘start’.
Although nothing can beat the real thing, Raschid’s extensive coverage of over 700 unique dating situations will no doubt prove a vital artefact for hopeless romantics and minglers alike who have been missing the modern dating scene this year.
The project will no doubt go down a storm in shared households – most likely as a frisky drinking game for students and young millennials – but solo players will also reap the benefits.
Much like podcasts and long-running sitcoms have crafted the illusion of friends for lonesome isolators, Five Dates is just authentic enough to provide several hours of much-needed company when things are at their bleakest.
While its tangential format prevents Five Dates from reaching the swooning heights of classic cinematic romances, it’s still some of the most inventive and rewarding work produced during the pandemic so far.
FIVE DATES is released worldwide for digital download on Windows & Mac via Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on 17 November and IOS/Android 2021.
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