Upon entering the small, dark room, I made myself comfortable on a large couch. I was greeted by a charming PR representative of 1C, Russian game developer and distributor. She had a familiar (dare I say clichéd?) Russian accent, and the only thing that reminded me I had not stepped into a James Bond flick was the absence of any martinis. I was here on important business however, as I was about to see a presentation of the point-and-click adventure Jazz & Faust.
Set in the ancient East, Jazz & Faust follows the individual quests of its two titular characters. You can in fact choose to explore the game’s eighty colorful locations as either Jazz or Faust, which will result in two unique plots. Jazz is a smuggler on a quest for gold, while Faust is a sea captain on a quest for romance. During the course of the game, the two stories will often intertwine, but in the end Jazz and Faust will arrive at the same ending of the story. Playing the game again as the other character is said to be an entirely different experience with new puzzles, dramatically extending the game’s replay value.
The gameplay should be familiar to anyone who has played an adventure game before. You simply walk around, looking for objects or other characters to talk to. I didn’t see any branching dialogues, but this is only a minor point of critique. In fact, Jazz & Faust looked like it could very well be one of the best adventures this year. The backgrounds were very well rendered, with special attention to subtle animations such as the flickering light of torches or glittering reflections in the sea. The developers made use of the 3D engine very well, with special smoke effects and real-time shadows. These small touches add significantly to the game’s atmosphere.
Jazz & Faust was only one of a handful traditional point-and-click adventures at E3. Even though what we saw was very positive, it remains to be seen whether 1C will be able to market this game successfully in the US. Jazz & Faust is the first game that 1C will publish outside the former USSR countries so hopefully 1C will be able to succeed in this challenge. When and where the game will be published in Europe is as yet unknown.
Keep an eye out for a review of Jazz & Faust as soon as it gets released.