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Old 12-26-2005, 04:08 AM   #15
Not like them!
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The creators of this game were apparently trying to emulate comicbooks. It's a complete failure in that regard, mimicking the superficial aspects of comics while completely missing all the opportunities the Form presents.

Let's start with the CAPITALIZED stuff. The emphases on particular words in comics helps give the dialogue a more natural feel. Those emphases are subtle and effective. Simply capitalizing a word is neither- all it does is distract from what is being said. If the developers had been serious about this, they would have brought in a professional letterer to modify the font system. Without the nuances of proper lettering, it doesn't work. If a comic added emphasis not by bolding or italicizing or enlarging but by capitalizing, it would look silly too.

It is interesting to learn that there was an actual comicbook released with the game- doubtless that would have made sense. This opening does not. When the reader is dragged along between frames, it's not a comicbook- it's a slideshow. In this format, it loses the good pacing, immediacy, etc. that make comicbooks worth reading.

I'm surprised to hear that the scene where Reich is killed is held in such high regard- I couldn't help but feel indifferent about it. A short freeze of the moment in which Reich is shot could have gone a long way. Or maybe a machine's-eye view on the side, or maybe a slow-motion series of frames. There are many good ways of approaching this, you see. As for the content, it didn't surprise me to see him shot because frankly, I was more surprised that the PC (What's his name, anyway? I didn't catch that.) wasn't. Learning that you're being watched even though no action is being carried out tips you off that something like that will happen.

The hybrid comic-adventure is worth pursuing, so it's a shame this game doesn't. Imagine the game used a text parser, with new comicbook panels popping up to indicate the outcome of actions. Now that could be a great game.

But since BoSS so completely ignores the possibilities, I won't hold it to my comicbook standards any longer. So as an adventure, how is it? Eh.

First of all, a word about the voice acting. It's not "quirky"- it's just bad. I could point out that it completely ignores the emphases in the text, but why bother when it manages to be so silly in its own right? After starting the game with it, I switched to all-text to preserve my ears. Okay, so they're not that bad, but they're bad.

The art style is uninspired- the sort of designs you forget about as soon as your eyes pass them by.

The game has yet to introduce a character I can care about, so the story so far feels tedious. The first thought I had at the end of the section was "He must be this Undermann guy's clone.", but then, "Nah- he's just as likely Undermann himself.". It says a lot about the story so far that I don't particularly care how it turns out. I have so little attachment to the PC that if the game were to now reveal that he is an evil zombie cyborg from Mars, I wouldn't care too much. Honestly, what kind of story gives the character a mysterious background before it even bothers to develop him as a character? (Answer: A bad one.)

Oh, and this Joey fellow is just an R2D2 rip-off. Maybe he'll develop a more interesting relationship with the PC later on, but right now I don't see it.

Then there's the pacing. Just ridiculous. The intro goes so fast that it squeezes in a flashback! The intro goes so fast that it inserts the death of everyone he knows as "just another slide"! The intro goes so fast that the player isn't given any time at all to care, or to even form an opinion other than "This is so clichéd."!

And then, suddenly, it stops. It doesn't screech to a halt so much as just suddenly stops right in the middle of the highway. No deceleration, no nothing. Straight from chaos to- a pixel hunt. Riiiight....
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