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Old 03-21-2010, 12:40 AM   #1
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Default Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny

The adventure games from City Interactive, namely "Chronicles of Mystery" and "Art of Murder" series, usually come out in the period when I'm eagerly expecting some new adventure titles or sequels of the games I really enjoyed. This "filling-the-gap" attitude that I have about them is certainly bringing to the mediocre grade that I usually give to CI games at the end, but I think that I'm still pretty objective.

The main thing what intrigued me about the AoM and CoM series is probably the graphic and design, which is certainly above average. CoD is no exeption to this; in fact, it's graphic is gorgeus. Definitely one of the best I've seen in an adventure games so far. The cut scenes are even more impressive, though they're a bit action-movie cliched. But graphically and technically, they're pretty impressive.

To me, one of the most important things of a game (adventure or other genre) are locations. Diversity and vibrance is something that can shadow even the other weak aspects of the game. Like other CI games, CoD features some very interesting places which are graphically well-captured, however they're often only a screen of two long. It's difficult to resist the impression that the game designers were trying to buy a couple more of the gameplay hours. If one look at things without the gloves, the most of CoD gameplay is happening at the FBI headquarters.

A propo, in CI tradition, the puzzles are inventory-based. Not that I have someting against that, but they're often inconsistent in the terms of the logic and level of difficulty. Sometimes they're so obvious that a complex puzzle lover will laugh to the tears, and sometimes they're illogical, though still very simple in fact.

The story of CoD is also in the tradition of CI adventures. In the start, it looks catchy and interesting, but it's soon becomes cliched and predictable, and in the end, it becomes so (artificially, I'm afraid) convoluted that you can't tell what was the murderer main motive only a day after finishing the game. The dialogs are pretty decent, though.

Music and sound. IMO one of the most important things of a game. In this case, music is solid and it paints the situations well. I particulary liked the slide guitar + ambient sound used in the New Orleans part of the game. English voice acting is decent, especially when it comes to the main character, though some of the less important people in the game sometimes sound very amateur.

The thing that strikes me the most when it comes to sound, is substandard quality of the voices. Not the voice-acting itself, but the voices sound very weak and muddy comparing to the music and FX; like they are encoded with some very low MP3 bitrate. This was also the case with the latest CoM game. I'm not sure weather CI games are originally meant to be released in english voice, but if they're not, the bad sound could be explained by limited budget and release dates.

The main character of the game, Agent Nicole Bonett, is probably one of the least likable characters of adventure games I've encountered. She is obviously "designed" to be realistic and efficient agent, but as a result, she is often arrogant, self-righteous, patronizing, career-obsessed and stuck-up. At the end, some might say that she is just eagerly trying to save someone's life, but this is often not so obvious. She is also trying to be witty and funny, but she fails horribly short in this respect.

All in all, "Art of Murder: Cards of Destiny" is certainly the best installment of this series and worth playing, especially if you are looking for some easy and rather fun adventure game to play and especially if you're (like me) "filling out the gap".
Recently finished: Yesterday
Currently playing:
Next in line: Not sure yet..
Looking forward to: Hitman: Absolution, Tomb Raider, Max Payne 3, The Last Crown, Bracken Tor, Sherlock Holmes: The Testament, Secret Files III
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:59 AM   #2
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I agree with you completely. Art of Murder Cards of Destiny is the best installment of the series. Nice graphics and cut scenes, very good music and well designed locations (although limited). But the story is weak. In the end, the whole motive of the serial killer is totally stupid and eventually not worth creating a game based on it (and playing it). Also, the story starts very very abrubtly.

City Interactive is so repetitive that we are near to tag future games as "City Interactive ones"
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