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Old 03-08-2011, 03:44 PM   #381
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoecastillo View Post
Marvio -

First of all, I am far from a "dude." Second of all I am a trial lawyer who deals with serious real life stories that you could probably not even begin to imagine. Third of all - I haven't watched tv in about 8 years - it's piddly trash. Fourth of all, oooh - let me run and change my opinion because you disagree with me - I'll get right on that.

So, to reiterate for the rest of the world who thinks others are entitled to their own opinions - I LOVED the story of Gray Matter. See ya all when Black Mirror 3 comes out. Peace out.
WOW!

I either call everybody "dude" or "sir", the "dude" I picked up when living in LA, while going to music school, and the "sir" out of respect for people, I ususaly choose "dude" rather then "sir" as to imply some kind of connection/friendliness, as "sir" sounds too distant at times, specially in forums like this....

I think we have disagreed in the past, about much the same thing (story of a game), my post was not acusational, nor did I intend to sound condescending (and I just re-read it, all I said it's that the story was weak at best), but if it sounded that way I'm truly sorry, I rather wanted to open a debate about it.
I must admit having ulterior motives, I think adventure games really don't have half as good stories as we think they do, the fact that we're "living it" makes up for a lot of the fondness we feel about them, which is a good thing, but put in a book, with nothing but words to convey the message, the feeling of involvment with the story, most would fail miserably. I do understand that it is a different medium, and the story has to be crafted to fit said medium, but even a good character driven movie, which most adventure games fall under, could be "translated" into a book and survive it, my fear is that adventure games really can't, there's not enough substance there to make the transition.

I'm yet to have the same intelectual expirience from an adventure as I get from a good book, and I think that's something we should be striving for, not going backwards, as I feel this game did in relation to, say, GK3, which in itself wasan't all that great, but it was a step in the right direction.

-Dude
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Old 03-08-2011, 07:33 PM   #382
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I just finished the game and have to say I loved it!

Although I still have a few "modern classics" to play (such as Still Life) I have no hesitation in calling this one of the better adventure games of the last decade (IMO of course).

The premise was very original and kept me hooked all the way, even though I kind of figured out what was happening about half way through.

I liked both main characters. I had a fear that Sam would be unlikeable but I found her likeable and not over the top. I really enjoyed David's character - gloomy and dry, but a charm and dry wit to him.

I have a few complaints - one is that the game probably could have been drawn out more. It took me 9-10 hours to beat and they could have added a little more location-wise, maybe some of London or

Spoiler:
extending the magic trail Sam follows in the early stages of the game to get the gold coins. This was a fun part of the game!


A couple of minor complaints. One, the hotspots were too slow to appear when I pressed spacebar, making toggling a bit frustrating. And secondly the run animation took a bit long to trigger.

Graphically I loved the game. The character models and animations weren't perfect, and the "mini faces" next to the subtitles were somewhat ghastly, but the backgrounds and locations were beautiful and evocative. Oxford is a lovely place and the art direction added a bit of mystique to it.

Sound-wise, it is among the best adventure games ever. Even though a certain tune is overused a bit early on, the music and voice acting were excellent. Having played some very good games but ones that suffered from dodgy voice acting (Secret Files 2 and Chronicles of Mystery: Tree of Life) due to shoddy localization, I was unsurprised but happy to see that Gray Matter had professional voice acting.

The magic mini-game was easy but unique and fun. Surely people complaining about it would rather have it than more of the same old "combine crowbar with rope" puzzles? Speaking of which, there was very little "inventory brainstorming", the game flowed quite seamlessly which is probably another reason it is quite short as it seldom leaves you confused.

The closing stages?

Spoiler:
The last level in the Daedalus Club seemed a little short and out of nowhere. I loved all the links to Alice in Wonderland though. When I saw all the different rooms under the club and all the hotspots, I was perplexed and expecting hours of problem-solving but it turned out to be quite easy in the end.

The very last sequence could possibly have been drawn out more but largely made sense. I saw it coming a long way off. What is clear to me is that Laura's ghost did haunt the house as there were a few things I doubt Angela could have done. For example, why would Angela have written the word "Imposter" on the machine? That had to be Laura, no one else could get in the private lab except the cook/housemaid who seemed only to have good intentions.


Two other minor things that spring to mind.

Spoiler:
David's old consulting room and the spare room upstairs - were these originally intended to be in the game? I loved Dread Hill House but wanted more of it unlocked as the game progressed and expected these two rooms to be opened considering they had hotspots.

And the mobile phone - what was the point of collecting so many numbers? Hardly any of them were used, I was expecting to be using the phone a lot more


The game has decent closure and doesn't demand a sequel but there is enough left open for one to be possible. The life of a magician like Sam could create many more side-quests and unique possibilities.

I wish there were more adventure games with original premises like this. The game often moves at a slow pace but the mood, ambience, and suspense of what is going on is so engrossing that I didn't care at all. I really hope Jane Jensen makes another new game soon and one that doesn't take so many years to make!
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:27 AM   #383
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I don't think that there are any fundamental differences between all of us concerning the status of Gray matter.
IMHO it is better than very many, even most maybe, games that have been released over the past year or two.
The thing is, that being all agreed about the brilliance of Jane Jensen and our love of her games, we expected near perfection.
However almost everybody who has commented on the game has said that it's excellent or even wonderful, but then followed that with a list of criticisms.
I think that pretty well everybody agrees that her 3 GK games were terrific (a very few vey minor flaws do not change that – for any game!).
But I don't think that too many gamers will claim that GM is an unqualified success.
I believe that many of us would have loved to have proclaimed that it was a block buster and all time classic and to have praised Jane for that – but we have been disappointed that although a very worthwhile game, for various reasons it falls short of our expectations.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:36 AM   #384
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The game was good enough for me to want to play through all of it, but it didn't really live up to the expectations I had for it.

The story kept you interested enough, the puzzles were good, the graphics as well, but none of it were exceptional or groundbreaking.

In other words it's worth playing, but not a classic...
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:12 PM   #385
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Very similar to what I feel, Balderduck .
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:54 PM   #386
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Marvio - no offense but you trashing the story to be weak or horrible is a bit far fetched as you already admitted that you missed big parts of the plot and nothing really made sense to you. In order to criticize a story I would like the one giving the criticism actually have been following it. And just because some people don't like the ending it doesn't make the whole story bad.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:06 PM   #387
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millenia View Post
Marvio - no offense but you trashing the story to be weak or horrible is a bit far fetched as you already admitted that you missed big parts of the plot and nothing really made sense to you. In order to criticize a story I would like the one giving the criticism actually have been following it. And just because some people don't like the ending it doesn't make the whole story bad.
UNDER FIRE!!

Sigh...

I just realized we may be talking about different things... Bear with me...

What I consider "story" is plot+character development.

Yes, I may have missed a couple of points of the plot, but even after you brought it to my attention, in the end, the plot is still lacking.

Spoiler:
Who cares if it was all Angela, a mix of Angela and his ex-wife, or just his ex-wife, in the end, all possibilities are equally as clichéd


Now, I don't mind when the plot itself is lacking, because unless you're talking about a detective story or a really, REALLY, clever plot, it's only there to further other things in the story, mainly, character development.

Let's take, for example, SCI-FI, in any of its forms, the great movie/books have some pretty basic plots, what's important are the interactions between characters, how they feel about it, and the journey they take from beginning to end.

To tell you the truth, as far as pure plot goes, it would be exceedingly hard for one to come up with a clever enough premise to hold the story together solely based on it, see later works from M. Night Shyamalan or even "Inception" as a proof of concept, in the case of Shyamalan, they are absolutely horrible, because he always rely on that last minute big twist and it never works (at least not since Sixth sense), and "Inception" is just meh, entertaining enough, sure, but no big deal ; Almost everything has been done, there are very few ways which an author can excite/surprise you with plot alone.

As I said, I'm fine with that, and to tell you the truth, at this point, I'm not as attentive to plot as I could be, just because of that.

So, that leaves us with character development, and the discovery journey we take with him/her/it; Not only finding out more about the character itself, but maybe even finding something out about ourselves, our condition as humans.

And there's where I think the "story" failed, the characters in this game are as one dimensional as a Hollywood action blockbuster, there's no depth to them, we know only marginally more about them at the end then we do half an hour in the game, and I'm only talking about Styles and Sam here, as the other characters are so cardboard like they might as well not have names, just give them numbers Which of course ties to the problem I have at the end, I had no connection with any of them therefore I don't care what happens.

Does that make sense?

PS> I'm having a third party weigh in this, my wife!! She's perfect too because this is going to be her first adventure, so she has none of the early, fond memories we have, which sometimes, I think, clouds our objectiveness

PS2> Do you know the quote in my signature? It's from a Brazilian writer, Clarisse Lispector, her style was much like the German neo-romantics, only that she wrote, for most part, in stream of conciousness, needless to say many of her books have no plot at all, they only exist to provoke thoughts in the reader, and never you felt unfufilled by one of her books, they are amazing!

PS3> damnn!! Also, note, I have no problem with mindless fun, I love the "Holywood action blockbusters", well a lot of them, I loved "Dumb and Dumber", I'm loving "Under a killing moon", but when you start goind the other way, for the lack of a better word, serious, you better deliver
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Last edited by marvio; 03-09-2011 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:30 AM   #388
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This is my first post here cause I love this game but couple of things confuse me. I mean what happened with the floor grate in the basement hall, the old dr. Styles office and the Brasenose college in the Queen street? What is their purpose if they didn't used in the game? The only thing that crosses my mind is that this version of Gray Matter is shortened that was intended to be and that some chapters are simply skipped. It's a shame because it could be the best adventure game of all time. I guess dtp couldn't wait anymore.
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:05 PM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.styles View Post
This is my first post here cause I love this game but couple of things confuse me. I mean what happened with the floor grate in the basement hall, the old dr. Styles office and the Brasenose college in the Queen street? What is their purpose if they didn't used in the game?
I said similar in my review above, these places seemed destined to be used or else why bother having hotspots for them? And the floor grate had an "action" symbol when you hovered over it with Sam, if I remember right. A trip into the catacombs under/around Dread Hill would have been cool and creepy, they could have even...

Spoiler:
tied it into just how Angela got into the house as I'm not sure that was explained? Did she climb up the windows to fake her appearances as Laura?
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:38 PM   #390
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i really wish jane would update her blog and give us some post-release thoughts. And maybe she could tell us if there was content that had to be cut or what the thinking was behind those hotspots.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:37 AM   #391
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I played just a couple minutes on friday, so I can't really comment on any substance. I just had to say that I generally like the look of it, but the interface is quite clunky on the XBox and oh my god are those talking heads in the subtitile screen annoying. She doesn't even look like Sam, and lord forbid she have any kind of an expression.

I still don't get why they wouldn't do import the p&c interface from the computer. Their excuse makes absolutely no sense and they even used it in zoomed screens. You'd think it's not that hard to do a parallel, greatly simpler interface that is already used in a different platform. Luckily, it's still liveable with.
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Old 03-13-2011, 03:54 AM   #392
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I enjoyed it...

Pros:
1. You can just feel Jane Jensen's input all through this story.
2. I like the cutscene style once I understood they were meant to be like a graphic novel.
3. The magic tricks is a novel way of making some more complex object interactions I found them to be fun.
4. Characters have some depth to them.
5. I like the fact the girls are pretty

Cons:
1. Game is too short, story could have gone into a bit more depth.
2. The whole bonus points thing is a bit annoying, I replayed certain chapters many times to not miss bonus points only to find that getting all the bonus points reaps no reward, no alternate / extra ending, no additional plot
3. The UI is a bit too simple, look/move/use
4. Eating breakfast, did they forget to implement this properly?

Overall though I felt the cons were rather minor and didnt have to get in the way of enjoying the game. I have no real issues with the quality of the graphics but I've always come from the school of through that a good aventure game is not reliant on graphics at all. Heck I played Police Quest 1 on a greenscreen lcd laptop which could only display CGA graphics poorly and yet I loved that game. Half the time I could barely make out what I was looking at!
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:26 AM   #393
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I finished the game and love it. I really love the cutscenes style, it was different to what I usually see. In this game it was a cool use. I have to say that I also love Sams tricks, it was fun and all the Daedalus Club game was really interesting. For me the story was the best thing of the game, totally love it and the characters. Definitely great characters. I don't know about a sequel but definitely would love to see more about this two characters, maybe seeing them after living together for a while since its obvious at the end they beginning to warm to each other. Definitely love both characters, the two were awesome and different but with so much common background at the same time. At the end I can say is one of my favorite games. I wish it could continue more and of course the bonus things I still don't understand it. But all in all an awesome game.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:59 AM   #394
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I'm afraid that I didn't like the "cutscenes" at all.
I frequently didn't comprehend what was supposed to be happening. Also the xcharacters displayed were so very different from those in the game itself.
The purpose of cut scenes in a game is to carry the plot forward not to add puzzling confusion.

I do not think thast the GM cutscenes were made as a positive innovation or an artistic addition.
I have a strong feeling that they were done that way simply due to budget cuts and IMHO were not successful and a drawback rather than a plus!
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:21 AM   #395
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I see that a lot of people didn't like the cutscenes but I liked them a lot...

It's a matter of taste I guess...
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:29 PM   #396
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Quote:
I see that a lot of people didn't like the cutscenes but I liked them a lot...
It's a matter of taste I guess...
ABSOLUTELY!
Facts are facts and (generally) can be argued about but at the end of the day can be proved right or wrong.
Opinions, however, are personal and to some degree subjective and cannot /should not be argued over. You can eirher feel similarly to somebody else's opinion and hence like it, or the opposite – but you can't PROVE other people's opinions to be right or wrtong – only their facts!
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Old 03-13-2011, 01:48 PM   #397
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I have already outlined some of my criticisms of the purely technical aspects of the game, and won't repeat them again. These are facts and can be argued about – in particular if they are serious or trivial!
IMO that side of the game is very poor!
I am sorry and wish it were otherwise, but it disturbed me considerably during the whole of my gameplay.
Again, I put it down to the prolonged and tortuous 'labour pains' of this game and the budgetary restrictions involved. This is no reflection on JJ, but IMO the end product is fairly badly flawed!
My opinions on the story aside of the game are more mixed and complex!
Overall it is extremely successful. It is like a good novel --- the whole thing is different, interesting, a page turner, and you want to know what happens next , both to Sam and David and no less importantly to the minor characters. Too many Quest-Adventures these days lack these exciting elements and I often feel I'm ploughing through them joylessly simply to overcome the puzzles and prove to myself that I've successfully reached the end. This is NOT the case with Gray Matter!
All the characters are well developed, living breathing human beings, and interesting – including the secondary folk. The voice acting is no less than superb. It is a credit to Jane, being an American, that every one of the very many UK personalities have bona fide British accents, ranging from London Cockney through Scottish and Irish, etc.
Where I'm not so happy is with some of the inconsistencies of character and plot. I know that in a Quest game one is expected to suspend disbelief – but the dramatis personae are so realistic that anomalies grate on the nerves.
Characters:- Dave's undoubted love for his late wife seem OK up to a point -0 but is this not overdone? Nearly all the married men I know seem to overcome their grief VERY rapidly and remarry within about a year !!
Sam apparently has been robbed of a regular upbringing through no fault of her own. I am very well acquainted personally with such case histories. Yet she quotes a chunk of Swinburne ad lib at the drop of a hat – not the best known or popular poet!!!
Plot:- How does a certain character manage to drag a whole number of extremely heavy weights along and onto the middle of a gymnasium and even pile them up there?
And the other incidents don't seem to fit with the person responsible.
(albeit trivial – but) What about litmus paper not needing an acid or alkali to react – just plain water?
With the greatest respect for the virtues of the underground scenes in the Daedelus Club – but it's a bit difficult to swallow such an emporium in the middle of prosaic Tottenham Court Rd. – or wherever!
~~~~ So, Grey Matter, like diamonds being maybe a girl's best friend and most valuable, a flawed diamond is a very debatable treasure.
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:09 PM   #398
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One other thing that puzzled me that just came to mind...

Spoiler:
At the end of the demo and David's first scene, you edit that photo of he and Laura and find the spooky shadow in the background of something that appears to have a form. This is what sold the game for me after playing the demo, that something was amiss after a fairly mundane, if very moody, demo.

Now in the full game, after editing the photo and discovering the abnormality... the photo sits in the scanner for the rest of the game as far as I could tell. A nice scene to lengthen the game a bit and add some more scenery might have been for him to take the photo to a paranormal expert and get some insight.

A few little additions like this would have made the game a bit longer and fleshed out a very good story even more I think. But I'm just clinging to a game I really enjoyed and wish didn't end.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:15 AM   #399
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I just finished the game. I enjoyed it quite a lot and can easily put it into a list of my favorite adventure games. It's not at the top of the list, but it's certainly on it.

I really enjoyed that it felt like a Jane Jenson game in some indefinable way. I like the gothic elements, by which I don't mean Goth subculture, but gothic as in Jane Eyre. I was really mostly satisfied by the gameplay. I really loved the Daedalus puzzles and the magic tricks were nicely original. Yes some of it was perhaps a little easy, but then again I rarely got stuck, which is pleasant.

I agree with others that it seems like the game was shortened and parts never made it to the screen. I wish it was longer and we had the opportunity to explore some of those locations that were teased. And although I appreciate the art style of the cutscenes, I felt doing them that way removed some of the immediacy of key scenes and threw me out of the story.

I have to chalk pretty much all my criticisms up to budget and development limitations. And I'm pretty ok with that. I'm glad the game was produced and what was there is certainly among the top of adventure games in terms of quality. And let's have a moment of deep appreciation for the voice acting. Fantastic all around with appropriate accents!

Finally, I feel really good about the ending, although I wish there was a little more at the very end. I'm satisfied
Spoiler:
that it had both a supernatural and real world explanation and feel that's appropriate for this world. I did figure out that it was both Laura and someone else and that it was Angela part of the way through.
I think that's a feature and not a big, since it's nice to do the detective work and get a fair chance of actually solving it yourself. I think people comparing it to Sixth Sense and such are kinda missing the point, as I don't think you're supposed to be shocked at the end. But I certainly didn't know what was going on for the first half and having two playable characters with drastically different interpretations of events was really fun for me.

I certainly hope there is a sequel, because I think the characters have great potential to carry more games.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:23 AM   #400
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len Green View Post
Dave's undoubted love for his late wife seem OK up to a point -0 but is this not overdone? Nearly all the married men I know seem to overcome their grief VERY rapidly and remarry within about a year !!
Really? Your criticism is that men don't grieve for their wives when they die? If I were a man I'd be really personally offended with that remark. For someone to still be really torn up about losing their spouse three years later is not strange at all. I'm really wondering what kind of men you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Len Green View Post
Plot:- How does a certain character manage to drag a whole number of extremely heavy weights along and onto the middle of a gymnasium and even pile them up there?
And the other incidents don't seem to fit with the person responsible.
I think you've really missed something very important about the plot.
Spoiler:
Angela has supernatural powers including pyrokinesis and telekinesis, the same as her father the magician did, and that's what caused the incidents.
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