Latest User Reviews

Review of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

Rating by emric posted on May 31, 2012

an absolute beacon of the genre!

Easily one of the best games I've ever played!! The strong character and plot development ensure a highly immersive and engaging experience all the way through. Most of the puzzles are really well designed. And the game even surprised me by taking an unexpected locational turn in the final third. The music and voice acting are fantastic (Tim Curry FTW!) When this was first released in 1993, I was busy devouring fantasy/sci-fi adventures and wasn't into this investigative thriller kinda stuff. But I'm so glad I went back to check it out now. I can see why it is often lauded amoungst the best adventure games ever made. The only minor issue I had with this game was its slightly over-complex interface. Separate tools for "open", "pick up", "operate" & "move" could easily have been combined into one "action" tool. And 1 "talk" tool could replace "chat" & "interrogate". and an "action" tool in inventory could've replaced "read", "look at" & "open". Time Played: Over 20 hours

Review of Emerald City Confidential

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

easy, fun, engaging, noir-inspired adventure in Oz :)

This is a great noir-inspired adventure game set in the land of Oz created by L. Frank Baum. Its presentation is like a tribute to classic adventure games from the 90s—but with a modern logical structure. Stylistically, locations, character designs, soundtrack and particularly the voice acting are all highly effective in achieving both the noir & retro gaming feel. Puzzles are definitely on the easy side, but this serves to place the focus firmly with the engaging story and characters. My main criticism is that the graphics and sound were over-compressed to the point that visual compression artefacts and audible static were both apparent, but these didn't detract greatly from the overall experience. Also, the character animations could've done with a little more refining. But as a cheap download on the BigFish Games website (which is how i acquired it), Emerald City Confidential is excellent value. And for all you Mac owners like me, a native Mac version IS AVAILABLE!! Time Played: 5-10 hours

Review of Dead Reefs

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

i actually feel sick when i remember playing this game. it's that bad!

this is one of the worst adventure games i've had the misfortune of playing. i did finish it, but now wish i'd just followed my instinct and given up on it quarter-way through. one of the biggest problems was the main character. he has no personality, history or anything that might make a gamer even care what becomes of him or what he discovers. most of puzzles feel like they've been forced into your path in a very contrived and artificial manner and they destroy the flow of the uhh "story". what's worse though is the game's inability to give you necessary details about puzzle solving. without the walkthru that i was quickly forced to resort to, i have no idea how i would've even known where some puzzles existed let alone the bizarre ways to solve them. the interface sucks majorly as well. they've attempted to do a no-mouse-control-at-all deal. so it's fully keyboard. but it's pretty complex and takes you awhile to remember which specific keys control document viewing and scene scanning and object combining etc. inventory control is awful! you have to scroll through items one at a time, and the mechanics for combining objects are so tedious. technically this game is rather poor as well. on my system, the very first thing i see after starting the game is a blank white screen and that's all. after taking ages searching thru forums assuming there was some kind of video card issue, i finally found someone who said "oh btw, if it starts up with a white screen, just hit spacebar a few times" so i did, and then i got to see the opening menus. OMG! about 3 times throughout the game i was once again greeted with this dreaded white screen which showed as a substitute for a cutscene i should've been viewing. the full 3D environment was very choppy and mostly unattractive. i also came across a handful of bugs where random objects would appear just floating in the air. it's a 3rd-person perspective game in full 3D environment with the camera mostly following along behind you. but it bounces when you move in such a manner that it actually caused me motion sickness—which i've never experienced in any other similar game before. there are only 3 positive aspects about this game. voice acting was reasonable. a sequence near the beginning where you follow a ghost through secret passages in a scary house was actually sort-of captivating. and the persistent fog affect throughout all outdoor environments was quite a nice visual touch. so i'll give it half a star for each of these three elements and, believe me, overall that's being rather generous. Time Played: 10-20 hours

Review of Daemonica

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

pleasingly dark and atmospheric with unique RPG-ish graphical approach

the 3D isometric presentation makes this game look like an RPG, but it is definitely an adventure game—albeit with the addition of some light combat. i really appreciated, Czech developer, RA Images' decision to go for the unique graphical approach. It provided a fresh feel for adventure gaming. The game itself is a dark mystery set in 14th century England which i found to be highly atmospheric, immersive and enjoyable. Time Played: 10-20 hours

Review of Culpa Innata

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

frustrating & monotonous—yet highly immersive & addictive non-linear experience

Playing Culpa Innata was frustrating & monotonous, but highly immersive & addictive at the same time. i haven't played a game before where i felt these positive and negative effects at the same time so consistently. The game is set in a Utopian future (2047 AD) where most of the world has joined the 'world union' (kinda like a one-world order thing) and the few areas that haven't (like russia) are called rogue states. you play a world union global peace officer named phoenix wallis who is assigned a case involving the murder of a world union citizen in odessa, russia. the entire game takes place in the world union border city of adrianopolis, where the victim resided. It's the kind of adventure game which attempts to be as non-linear as possible. there's a time system, so it goes from day to night and your activities take up time. some things can only be done at night and others only in the day, but generally you're able to choose how you fill each day. if you like, you could kill time during the day by going to the gym and submitting meaningless work reports and then sleep early each night—and the story would never progress. but when you do decide to visit people associated with the victim and your case, your questioning will often cause a trigger to take place which may open up new locations or characters for questioning and the game progresses in this fashion. This is a very different experience to playing a more linear adventure game where your actions are basically pre-scripted and you just have to solve puzzles and explore in order to progress the game story. The game developers of Culpa Innata have much less control over flow and pacing of the story/experience, but the gamer is meant to feel more immersed in the game world. It's reasonably successful in achieving this, but it also gave me a sense of persistent discomfort because I felt like in this system it was also possible that i would miss out on (possibly minor) aspects of the game that would've enhanced the experience. The game is not always good at prompting for what should be investigated next and is even somewhat ambiguous at times. Especially early on, this led to me not even knowing how to progress the game. Also, I reckon about 80% of the game involves Phoenix interviewing people. The rules in the World Union state that a Peace Officer cannot take up too much time of any one citizen in a given day. So your questioning is often cut short and then you have to remember to visit this character again the next day to continue. This produces quite a monotonous gaming experience—but it never annoyed me because I found the depth of the characters and world that was being revealed through all this dialogue to be highly fascinating. It's a highly developed and intriguing world which poses some pertinent questions about the direction of our own society. However, the game mechanics are awful. I found it difficult to just move Phoenix around because of the changing camera angles and the stop-start motion whenever you click a new location for her to move to. A hotspot scanning feature would've been much appreciated, but is strangely absent in this game. The inventory system is a little troublesome, but not the worst around. The character 3D modeling is very low quality for such a recent game. all the characters look quite ugly. Hair textures are particularly poor. This game has the worst implementation of antialiasing that I've seen of any recent adventure. I turned antialiasing on and still all of the edges of characters looked extremely jagged. Otherwise the art direction is somewhat pleasing with all background art being treated with a unique and effective constant shimmery filter. Music is passable, without being a standout. Voice acting is good quality. They also include a nice feature whereby at night you can choose which outfit (from about 10) Phoenix wears. The logic programming for this game would've been extremely complex, but I'm glad to say I only came across a small amount of inconsequential bugs. Culpa Innata is certainly in the longer category of adventure games -- but then the ending seemed to come very suddenly and was poorly implemented. Still, the overall experience was surprisingly captivating and I will certainly play the sequel (if it ever gets released) to see how the story progresses, but also to see how (or if) they adjust the game system. Time Played: Over 20 hours

Review of Martin Mystère: Operation Dorian Gray

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

i have trouble even thinking of this as a 'game'. avoid it!

this is undoubtedly one of the worst "games" i've ever played. the most fun i had with 'crime stories' was when i could finally click on "uninstall" so that it would no longer be a blight on my hard drive. it seemed like the developers, Artematica, had gone out of their way to make their game frustrating and un-fun to play. I mean you'd actually have to 'try' to put this many faults in an adventure game: it has severe pixel hunting issues, it forces your character to walk slowly across screens, the double-click to change screen instantly feature only works in some instances, the inventory only comes up when you click on the 'I' icon twice (?!), the main character is boorish and unlikable, there's no volume control at all, there are so many hotspots in some locations you'd be searching forever to work out what you're meant to be doing, save games are only represented by small screen thumbnails which you can hardly tell apart... but my favourite is this: the dialogue is presented line by line and the ill-placed breaks are actually present in the vocal delivery (!?) the entire game reads like a feature-length teleprompter delay gag. i don't know how this game was ever released. but i feel i've significantly contributed to society if this review discourages even one person from playing 'crime stories' in the future. Time Played: 10-20 hours

Review of Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual

Rating by emric posted on May 30, 2012

decent production values and enjoyable enough, but not overly original or memorable

Polish developer, City Interactive, have done 2 games in their 'Art of Murder' series and now this is the first of 'Chronicles of Mystery'. They seem to churn out their titles pretty fast... which is kinda good and kinda bad. Their games are enjoyable and engaging and flow well and are great visually and the soundtrack and voice acting are also pleasing, but the plots—though well implemented—cover the same ground that's already saturated adventure gaming. So while they are fun as you play them, they won't become memorable additions to the genre overall. The team certainly have some strong development skills, so it'd be nice to see them be a bit more creative in their choice of subject matter in the future. Until then, their games will continue to feel like they've just been churned out of pre-existing formulas. Having said that, this their third adventure, shows slight improvements over its predecessors. The puzzles here never dwell into illogical or annoying territory which was a minor concern i had with "Art of Murder: Hunt for the Puppeteer". However, like their earlier attempts, "Chronicles of Mystery: The Scorpio Ritual" is still plagued by subtitles occasionally not matching spoken dialogue, a few phrases which don't seem to have been translated well, and an embarrassingly awful translation of the English User Manual. Nevertheless, I still have some hope remaining for City and will probably continue to play the next additions to their adventure series'. Time Played: 10-20 hours

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