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Old 10-17-2006, 04:14 AM   #1
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Default Sam & Max: Culture Shock - Impressions

The game is almost out but I didn't see a thread for it yet. Evan posted his review today. It's a great review and I almost entirely agree with it, at least based on the hour or-so I have played it so far. I'll probably end up pre-purchasing the entire season on November 1.

Culture Shock is really quite good. It's not an epic globe-trotting tour-de-force, but it's a fun and funny Sam & Max game. I haven't been this steadily entertained by a PC adventure game in a long time (by which I mean Sam & Max seems to be fun at a consistent rate instead of fun for brief periods of time in between lots of aggravating puzzles and/or boring exposition).

Possibly the best thing about this game is the little details. There's a lot of completely nonessential stuff you can find. You can also tell there's a lot of potential for changing some of those small details in each following episode, which I hope Telltale will do.

Anyway, post links to reviews or your own impressions here.

Last edited by Marek; 10-17-2006 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:38 AM   #2
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I only have an hour (or two) impression as well, from when I visited the TTG office two weeks ago. My opinion, based on this summery experience, is that Evan's review is pretty much how I feel about the game too. (Good to see him back, by the way. He's a great writer!)

I wonder why he brought up the music, though. It wasn't al all intrusive, and adds a lot to the atmosphere. I didn't even notice that it was continuously playing. It just blends in very well.

I also fear that people will have an unforgiving attitude against the voice acting. There was a lot of complaining when some footage was released. Personally I agree with Evan about the lack of depth in Sam's delivery of his lines. I also agree that Max sounds much better. I didn't really notice anything wrong with the supporting characters, so I don't entirely agree with his 'hit-and-miss' assessment.

That's all. I'm looking very, very much forward to the world-wide release date, so I can finally play it.

--Erwin
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:47 AM   #3
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I'll try to keep spoiler talk at a minimum for you people who don't/can't get Gametap, or are waiting for the Telltale release. I've been wanting to talk about this for the past week and a half, but didn't want to get in trouble with Gametap or Telltale (or remove my access to future games!). I pretty much agree with the review here, as well as with Chris Kohler's over at Wired.

http://www.wired.com/news/culture/ga...ulture_games_1

The voice actors can be hit and miss. One of the Soda Poppers was way too high-pitched for me, and the Tattoo artist/Psychoanalyst only seemed to click half the time. Brady Culture needs to actually become a villain. Max is dead on, but Sam is a little softer than the last game and the TV show.

As far as the gameplay, I wasn't too upset with the length. I actually spaced it out over the course of three days, playing about an hour each time (not counting when I had to start from scratch when a patch was applied). I might have gotten upset if I played it through in one sitting, but it felt right at the pace I used.

The puzzles are on the easy side, as you'd expect from the opening game. I was only stumped a bit at the end, and actually accidentally solved the puzzle (though afterwards, it was apparent why I solved it).

Definitely follow all the dialog trees to the end, it's worth it. I loved pulling people over and interrogating them. I hope Telltale expands on that portion of the game in future episodes, and gives Max a chance to be more sadistic.

All in all, I can't wait for next month.
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Old 10-17-2006, 05:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderj View Post
Definitely follow all the dialog trees to the end, it's worth it.
Yeah - and interact with all the objects that are available. If you don't, you're missing half the fun.

You could probably rush through the game in 2 hours, but why would you? I played for two hours at a very relaxed pace, and when I managed to pull myself away from the screen I had finished about a half of the game. (So I was told)

--Erwin
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:16 AM   #5
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Ha! I almost started a thread like this last night, but figured it was cruel and unusual punishment before the game was actually out.

I also quite agree with the review, which leaves not a whole lot more to say. Besides the hilarious driving sequences, if anything left a lasting impression on me, it was the absolutely fantastic repeat use of a particular location (which I won't specify). Small budgets may indeed mean fewer original assets to work with, but that doesn't mean you can't be creative with the ones you have. It was playing through these where it really struck me how well these guys know how to design games.

Erwin, the music did bother me after a while (which I didn't force Evan to say, but probably prompted it. ) The tunes themselves are great, but over time I found them too repetitive and too noticeable at the default volume. Easily solved with the volume control, but personally I'd give people a break from it once in a while anyway. If you use music all the time, then where's its effect when you really need it?

Anyway, should be a no-brainer at $9.
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:26 AM   #6
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I'm starting to believe that I'm the only person among the damn staff who hasn't played the game yet (and won't get to for another two weeks).
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:27 AM   #7
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I don't think the janitor has.
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:28 AM   #8
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My own review was slightly more positive, if not quite a rave:
http://www.got-next.com/reviews_read.php?id=476

I really think that they should be commended for creating something genuinely worthy of Sam and Max. It's only 3 hours long and it was probably responsible for more good hardy bursts of laughter than any game I've played in years.
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurufinwe View Post
I'm starting to believe that I'm the only person among the damn staff who hasn't played the game yet (and won't get to for another two weeks).
Nah, I share your frustration. Roll on November 1st!
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal View Post
Erwin, the music did bother me after a while (which I didn't force Evan to say, but probably prompted it. ) The tunes themselves are great, but over time I found them too repetitive and too noticeable at the default volume. Easily solved with the volume control, but personally I'd give people a break from it once in a while anyway. If you use music all the time, then where's its effect when you really need it?
Well, the first thing I always do is adjusting the settings. I don't remember, but I might as well have adjusted the volume settings in Sam and Max to match my preference.

Another point is, didn't adventure games (especially the LucasArts ones) always have looping music back in the day?

--Erwin
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Old 10-17-2006, 06:57 AM   #11
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I'll just clarify this, but I don't want to keep harping on a tiny little niggle when there are so many other things (most of them positive) to discuss instead.

Thing is, I left the sound at the default levels because it's good. No reason to turn something down you're enjoying. Only later did I realize it was starting to grate on my nerves to hear it over and over. As I said, easily solved, so anything but a biggie.
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:34 AM   #12
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I don't think the janitor has.
*picks up the broom and gets back to sweeping the floor*
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal View Post
I'll just clarify this, but I don't want to keep harping on a tiny little niggle when there are so many other things (most of them positive) to discuss instead.

Thing is, I left the sound at the default levels because it's good. No reason to turn something down you're enjoying. Only later did I realize it was starting to grate on my nerves to hear it over and over. As I said, easily solved, so anything but a biggie.
I know, I know

Speaking of details, the details in character animation are awesome! Little things like Sybil tilting her glasses during a conversation, and the expressions on the faces of the characters. It grants a polished look and feel that I miss in many of todays games.

--Erwin
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Old 10-17-2006, 07:43 AM   #14
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How did you beat the system and get a GameTap subscription outside the US/Canada, Marek?
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:14 AM   #15
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The game exists in not-yet-public standalone form (available for press purposes). Marek obviously knows people in high places.
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:53 AM   #16
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Just saw that Eurogamer give Sam and max a whopping 9/10

(http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=68766)
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:36 AM   #17
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I love the humor in the game. Very well done.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:39 AM   #18
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Not much to say here, except...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurogamer
Sam & Max: Episode One: Culture Shock is a wonderful piece of entertainment, and easily the best adventure game since the days of Grim Fandango.


And so on...
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:44 AM   #19
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I have seen only one bad review for the game today and I have seen many, many positive reviews today.

Bring on 1st November indeed!
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:18 AM   #20
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I played it last week (but there was a review embargo so I didn't want to break any rules by discussing it in public forums), and it was very enjoyable. It felt very much like a LucasArts production, and it's definitely the most fun adventure I've played in years.

I loved the humour, the visual presentation (very, very professional), and I thought the voices were mostly spot-on. The puzzles were pretty logical (in a surreal kind of way), and I never got stuck for very long. I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of interactivity, and had a great time just clicking on things to hear the comments.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a must-buy for every fan of point & click adventures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Besides the hilarious driving sequences, if anything left a lasting impression on me, it was the absolutely fantastic repeat use of a particular location (which I won't specify).
Yeah, that was one of the highlights of the game. At first I didn't know what I was supposed to do, so I just messed around with things (with hilarious results). Definitely something I'll remember for years.
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