Saturday, May 17, 2014

Game Reviews: May

Broken Sword 5

Summary: An entertaining and well crafted adventure game with nostalgic appeal.

The Broken Sword franchise are not genre classics. They are however solidly entertaining games whose chief appeal lies in their variety of locations. When you  play a Broken Sword game you expect to be transported from the cafes of Paris to the drinking holes of rural Ireland and the plains of Africa. Broken Sword 5 continues this tradition.

The plot revolves around unraveling the secrets of a gnostic painting called the La Maledicció which hides clues to the location of the Tabula Veritatis, a powerful religious item said to be able to raise Lucifer. The game has several interesting philosophical discussions; I particularly enjoyed hanging from a cable car in Montserrat while persuading a henchman undergoing an existential crises to save me because free will did indeed exist.

An adventure game must live or die by the quality of it's puzzles. The first half, released separately as Episode 1, was straightforward and would not seriously challenge any experienced gamer. Find an item, use it to overcome an obstacle, piece together a turn apart letter and so on. The second half is more challenging and therefore more rewarding. The puzzles are mostly logical and reasonable. There was however one puzzle that drove me crazy where the game demanded I bang out the cords to ave maria on a variety of workman tools.

The graphics are high definition 3D models rendered onto 2D classically drawn backgrounds and are near perfect for a point&click game. The nostalgic cartoony feel should appeal to older gamers while not appearing dated to newcomers.

Rating: 7/10. Recommended.

Moebius: Empire Rising

Summary: Enjoyable but highly flawed. 

Moebius: Empire Rising is a high profile kick starter written by Jane Jensen and promoted as the 'spiritual successor to Gabriel Knight', one of my favorite adventure games. Moebius was slammed by most reviewers and it's not hard to see why. 

The graphics are from a game ten years older with awkward animation and a terrible user interface. The game play is flawed by preventing the players from collecting objects until a specific puzzle is found. At one stage I noticed a pair of earrings had appeared in my shop, sparkling to grab my attention. But I couldn't pick them up. About ten minutes later I met a lady who stated "it's polite for guests to bring gifts" and I had to travel back to collect the earrings. This doesn't add much to the game and only increases player frustration. 

The so-called 'Sherlock Holmes' moments where players are expected to examine points of interest and deduce a characters personality were initially interesting but quickly become tedious and suffer from ambiguous clues.  

But despite these flaws, I still enjoyed playing and I will be buying the sequel.

Rating: 6/10. Only for fans.
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