Anyone played this yet? I just got to chapter 5 (out of 10, I think), and I’m probably gonna plow through one more before I call it a night. I was just wondering if anyone had any impressions of the game yet.
Some things I like:
Dialogue is VERY well-written. More games should be written/localized with this kind of care. A translation usually won’t make or break a game for me (unless it’s like, REALLY bad); but, if there’s one thing I’m certain of now, it’s that a GREAT localization can really help catch my interest.
Music is great. Say what you will, but this falls under the same category as dialogue: Bad music doesn’t make a bad game, but great music DEFINITELY enriches the entire experience. Very good music - well-written, stylistically appropriate, and in context.
Some things I DON’T like:
Clunky interface: If you haven’t played this game, you basically play it by holding it sideways; you hold it a different way depending on whether you tell the game if you’re right or left-handed. Well, if you say you’re left-handed, the screens are weird (the screens which display things do not switch if you say you’re left-handed), and you’ll also be holding the DS with your non-dominant hand, which is also weird. So, I picked right-handed, which is weird…because I’m left-handed. Also, if you own an old DS, your thumb is always very close to the power button…not cool. Also, was it really necesary? The main reason for doing this was because the game is displayed in a 3:4 aspect ratio (as opposed to 4:3 - for example, those 1942 shooter games are in 3:4)…but, I would have personally been much happier if they had just displayed 3:4 photos without having to turn the screen sideways, at the price of just having smaller pictures. Would have been much less of a hassle.
Mystery side is a bit slow. They throw you a SHITLOAD of intriguing things very quickly; however, you really take your time getting to the bottom of them. I’m almost halfway through the game, and I’ve only solved one mystery concerning a main character so far. I have confidence that I’ll be satisfied by the end, but at the moment, it feels like having such an absurd amount of main characters is entirely superfluous.
Can be unclear on what do to next. The one thing that sticks out in my mind was in chapter 3: what to do after you find the pen? You can very easily say “well, that’s easy, you figure out a way to read what’s written on it.” However, you are very constantly thrown various leads, and then are forced to focus your attention on something else. I don’t think that looking for other shit I might have needed to do was a decision that wasn’t founded in the logic the game throws at you: ‘Here’s a mystery, now solve THIS mystery.’ Not even gonna lie - I used a walkthrough.
Why exactly is this a game? There is hardly any gameplay to this game - You do about one or two ‘puzzles’ a chapter, which amount to moving the stylus around like a dope half the time. That’s pretty much IT for gameplay.
Now, sure, you can say, “THATS CUZ IT A INNERACTIV NOVL LOL!!!” but, really…for starters, how is it all that interactive? It’s incredibly linear. You have to do things in a certain order to progress. You can stray off the beaten path, but you know what happens when you do that?
- You get the same reaction as you would have by picking the other choice
- You simply have to redo that line of questioning, or
- You get a ‘Game Over’, potentially causing you to have to redo even more than just one part of an interrogation.
Also, having poked around at a FAQ, there ARE some extra scenes you can see by giving optional items to different people, and there ARE some extra scenes you can get in the ending sequences…but for the most part, all of THAT stuff is pretty cut-out, too. There’s not a lot of interactivity, because you’re basically playing a movie. It’s not any more exciting than a book where you skip the narration…oh, but wait, that’s what MOVIE is. This is just a long-ass movie.
Personally, I think that the idea behind this game is great, but if it’s so linear, there’s no reason they couldn’t just make it a movie (or, in this case, since it’s long, a novel). I’d be willing to bet that it would do so-so as a novel, though…not because the story is bad, but because it’s slow-paced, and there are likely better mystery novels out there.
Game reviews are heralding this game as having an AMAZING story. It’s GOOD, no doubt…and I’m glad that there are games out like this that are SHOWING that video games are capable of being a valid form of literature; however, just because this is the best that gamers can fathom from a game does not make it good. Because so much literature exists in different mediums already, we KNOW that we’re capable of doing better. And, perhaps I should hold my tongue, having not finished the game, but I’d dare say that we’ve ALREADY DONE better in the realm of video games.
Of course, the other strategy would be to make this game a little more puzzle-based…It’s not out of their element, either - the same dev team made the DS launch title, Trace Memory, which has had some of the coolest, most clever puzzles I’ve seen to date from the DS. I guess that would be a lot better.
I suppose what I’m saying is that, without gameplay, there’s not much reason for it to be a game, and I am not convinced that it’s good enough on its story alone to justify a 30 dollar purchase; but, I’m sure that - as always - I’m alone on that line of thinking…
So far, my verdict: Really nice game, really nice concept, and everything they got right, they got EXACTLY RIGHT. However, interactive novels need interactivity, and there isn’t any. If the novel isn’t interactive, then there should be some sort of other present gameplay effect - also something notably absent from the game. Without these, I can’t say that I’d go back in time and spend 30 dollars on this game again - I would have just borrowed it. Don’t get me wrong - I like the game, for as much as I wrote in the negatives…I just wouldn’t reccomend BUYING it, if you can help it.