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The Shapeshifting Detective

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New game from D’Avekki Studios (The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker) to be released by the end of 2018.

This is exciting news for me as I thought Dekker was flawed but had a lot of positives to build on for their next game, not least of all being well written and acted. It looks like they will be implementing a lot of changes this time including exploration, randomness and a branching story:

Like the developer’s previous game, The Shapeshifting Detective uses 100% live-action HD video and dialogue mechanics to tell its mysterious story. This time around, however, instead of a single office there will be multiple locations in which you can “have a look around (via FMV cut scenes)” and engage in conversation. The latter represents the core gameplay element, but rather than a text parser, here players will have scripted lines to choose from. Making progress won’t be as simple as choosing the correct responses, though. Not only will it depend on which character you’ve chosen to impersonate to seek out different angles – there are many to meet and select from, or you can just be yourself, as the detective – but you can even delete certain dialogue choices to see what happens. The story branches according to different decisions made, and with three potential culprits randomly selected, the game can be replayed for a much different experience.

Travel though the various city locations will be done by taxi. That in itself is not uncommon, but another unique feature of The Shapeshifting Detective is what happens during transportation. You can get help from the driver who will take you to the recommended destination, or just sit back and listen to the “streaming radio broadcast with a variety of programming,” among which will be “five short atmospheric stories” chosen from public submissions currently being accepted.

I’m not sure I like the idea of dialogue choices instead of parser. On the one hand the parser was fiddly, but I’m not convinced scripted lines won’t be too simplistic. Time will tell, I guess.

Deleting dialogue lines is a very interesting gameplay concept, and I’m eager to find out how it will work.

Thoughts?

     
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So long as it’s the same dev, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they won’t use not having a parser as an excuse to significantly reduce the amount of dialog in the game. Having a lot of possible topics to choose from can be kept manageable with a notebook system, which works especially naturally in a detective story (Contradiction and Discworld Noir come to mind for making this work).
The shapeshifting angle feels like it could open up a crazy amount of ways to approach things and meddle, especially if they actively plan for branching paths. I hope they won’t have to insert too many arbitrary-feeling restrictions to keep things manageable for themselves.
I’m confused by the idea of deleting dialog options, especially with the added “to see what happens”. Are you blocking off a possible path by being categoric about the opposite? Preventing the character you’re impersonating from saying the thing you deleted later on? Or perhaps using some kind of time-travel to take back something you said earlier and make it like you never said it? Guess I’ll have to await the next announcement.

     

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The “deleting"part reminds me of another FMV game, In the 1st Degree, where the player as an attorney interviews witnesses. When you choose a certain option from the dialogue tree, some or all other options become unavailable. Makes sense. For instance you choose to be intimidating if you think that will make the witness cooperate. Of course your strategy may backfire and the witness may clam up. The strategy should be appropriate for the witness.

I liked this novel type of dialogue tree, hope they do something similar in The Shapeshifting Detective.

     

There is only one thing about truth that is certain. Truth… is dead.   Orwell: Ignorance is Strength

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The shape-shifting aspect reminds me of Journeyman Project 3.  You got a different response from a character based on which person you were mimicking at the time.

     

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It’s an FMV game, I’ve gotta get it. Love FMV games!

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I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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These are really cool. Interviews with some of the cast members.

     

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I played this game over the week end, found it to be pretty boring in the first chapter.
it got better once you progressed through the game. tune the radio to vanessa and you will
hear the fantastic voice of none other than Tex Murphy. once the radio is tuned you also get his voice on the car radio.

I would describe this only as a interactive video game only as no puzzels
or investigating except listening to the video files.

     
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plumgas - 11 November 2018 07:08 PM

I would describe this only as a interactive video game only as no puzzels
or investigating except listening to the video files.

It’s hard to disagree with that.

I enjoyed it enough to justify the purchase, although it for me ranks behind both Dekker and Contradiction, to compare it to other recent games of its type.

As I expected there just wasn’t quite enough game there without the challenge of the parser, and I don’t value replayability high enough to consider that a major addition - although the randomness and shapeshifting elements were appreciated.

So it’s very much a case of one step forward, one step back for D’Avekki.  Content

     

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yes at least contradiction you seem to be travelling to other areas in the game and finding a couple of objects.

     

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