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Community Playthrough #53 Whispers of a Machine

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Although I’m late to the party I am playing and have just finished Day 1.

In short, I like it a lot. The gameplay is good, the Augs really add to it without feeling too gimmicky. I was particularly impressed by the way that using the Biometric Analyser when talking to people really makes it feel that you have an ‘edge’ over them with the ‘blue’, more subtle then a ‘superpower’ but really effective.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the personality based Augs work out. I haven’t so far consciously chosen any one particular direction, just reacting however I think, but so far I am here:

Visually things are looking good and the character portraits are excellent.

There have been some pretty decent puzzles, I particularly like the cross referencing bits and bobs for passwords and pin codes, not really hard but enough to mean the brain has to be in gear.

The gameworld is interesting and feels familiar (from other sci-fi) without being cliche. At least so far!

     

3.5 time winner of the “Really Annoying Caption Contest Saboteur” Award!

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NickyLarson - 13 June 2019 04:30 PM
Jdawg445 - 12 June 2019 11:16 PM

it took me forever to figure out what to do next. I thought the puzzle that came after that was a little finicky

Yes me too, I spent quite a while just wandering around trying aimless combinations. It’s interesting because I think it is (partial solution spoiler) (so far) the only time in the game you get to use that locking ability, and on my previous playthrough I had come to wonder why it was even here in the first place. Intelligent use of game functionalities, but very hard to figure out indeed.


That was the exact same problem i had. I used that aug but didnt even notice you could lock it, until much later. I also never used that lock in my first play through either.

     
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I mentioned I was going to fall behind from the get-go. I’ve started catching up. Tongue

I started playing on Wednesday and have now finished Day 1.

First impressions: great game so far!

The graphics are really nice, definitely on par with what I expect from an indie game.
The setting’s good. It doesn’t feel alienating and tries to avoid a lot of the genre’s clichés while still hinting at the bigger scope. Let’s chalk that up to good writing.

Speaking of good writing: I really like the dialogue. It starts with the intro where you give a pretty blunt introduction of who you are. The response by the older gentleman isn’t something profound like you’d expect from the movies, but a more realistic “lost for words” resulting in a reacting that’s just “Well… shit.”
And that’s not even going into the very diverse cast of characters that all have their own personalities and quirks, which makes several of them memorable already.

The game hasn’t been very difficult so far, while still containing a fair amount of puzzles (the use of the augs, the finger print, the door lock, the password, etc.).
A lot of things in the game are clued in well. You get an indication when you’ve done all there is to do in a location, and if you missed something, your own notebook comment will point you back to that location.
When going through Maja’s residence, I noticed the fingerprints on the panel but the game didn’t register that properly (my forensics scanner window was probably placed just a tad too high). The result was that I didn’t get to check the panel at first.
This being my last lead at that particular point in my game, I went over the notebook to see what our agent had to say about things, and I was greeted almost immediately with a “I should investigate Maja’s residence”. Let’s just say I immediately knew what had been missed, and I was back on my way.
I appreciate these kinds of anti-frustration measures by the devs.

The augmentations are a really good addition to the game which make the gameplay stand out a bit more over regular point-and-clicks, which is always a plus. Getting new augs as the game progresses is just the type of thing that is needed more in this genre to keep the games interesting from beginning to end. Another great example of a game that did this right was Discworld Noir where halfway through the game you were given an increased sense of smell which added an extra dimension to the gameplay. It feels like the augs will have a similar effect here. I applaud that kind of gameplay design!

The game’s main mystery is intriguing, and I’m curious to see which direction this is going in. So far it seems like we’re given at least some leeway in deciding where we stand on the anti-A.I. vs pro-A.I. scale. In other words (and to quote Leo DiCaprio in Django Unchained): you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention!

The new augmentation I’ve been given is Enhanced Vision. My initial guess of winding up on the analytical path while playing as myself was a bit off. I’m pretty much in the middle between analytical and empathetic, with a slight edge for empathetic:

Having time to think before making decisions is making me play as my idealized version of myself instead of the more realistic version of myself, probably. Tongue



I’m reading about puzzles that have multiple solutions. Well, if that’s the case, they’re pretty well-hidden. In the first rooms, I went for the obvious methods (pulling the coin out with force, breaking the locker with force, using the coin to open the vent) and didn’t even realize there’d be alternatives. Actually, the only puzzle so far where I can conceive of an alternate method of solving is the fingerprint puzzle. I went with the clay mold because a scalpel to cut off the actual finger would be unnecessarily gruesome imo.
But simply having the option adds a certain replayability that’s rare in our genre.

In short: I’m quite fond of the design choices that have been made so far. They’re very much in line with how I think adventure games should be designed. And the story is very intriguing for the time being.

So, off to a great start, and currently well on its way to being a 4-star game in my book. Let’s hope it holds up to the end…



Before I tackle Day 2, allow me to end this post by tipping my hat at Joel and Petter for how the game’s turning out for now:

     

Last played: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5

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TimovieMan - 15 June 2019 11:14 AM

I mentioned I was going to fall behind from the get-go. I’ve started catching up. Tongue

I started playing on Wednesday and have now finished Day 1.

First impressions: great game so far!

The graphics are really nice, definitely on par with what I expect from an indie game.
The setting’s good. It doesn’t feel alienating and tries to avoid a lot of the genre’s clichés while still hinting at the bigger scope. Let’s chalk that up to good writing.

Speaking of good writing: I really like the dialogue. It starts with the intro where you give a pretty blunt introduction of who you are. The response by the older gentleman isn’t something profound like you’d expect from the movies, but a more realistic “lost for words” resulting in a reacting that’s just “Well… shit.”
And that’s not even going into the very diverse cast of characters that all have their own personalities and quirks, which makes several of them memorable already.

The game hasn’t been very difficult so far, while still containing a fair amount of puzzles (the use of the augs, the finger print, the door lock, the password, etc.).
A lot of things in the game are clued in well. You get an indication when you’ve done all there is to do in a location, and if you missed something, your own notebook comment will point you back to that location.
When going through Maja’s residence, I noticed the fingerprints on the panel but the game didn’t register that properly (my forensics scanner window was probably placed just a tad too high). The result was that I didn’t get to check the panel at first.
This being my last lead at that particular point in my game, I went over the notebook to see what our agent had to say about things, and I was greeted almost immediately with a “I should investigate Maja’s residence”. Let’s just say I immediately knew what had been missed, and I was back on my way.
I appreciate these kinds of anti-frustration measures by the devs.

The augmentations are a really good addition to the game which make the gameplay stand out a bit more over regular point-and-clicks, which is always a plus. Getting new augs as the game progresses is just the type of thing that is needed more in this genre to keep the games interesting from beginning to end. Another great example of a game that did this right was Discworld Noir where halfway through the game you were given an increased sense of smell which added an extra dimension to the gameplay. It feels like the augs will have a similar effect here. I applaud that kind of gameplay design!

The game’s main mystery is intriguing, and I’m curious to see which direction this is going in. So far it seems like we’re given at least some leeway in deciding where we stand on the anti-A.I. vs pro-A.I. scale. In other words (and to quote Leo DiCaprio in Django Unchained): you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention!

The new augmentation I’ve been given is Enhanced Vision. My initial guess of winding up on the analytical path while playing as myself was a bit off. I’m pretty much in the middle between analytical and empathetic, with a slight edge for empathetic:

Having time to think before making decisions is making me play as my idealized version of myself instead of the more realistic version of myself, probably. Tongue



I’m reading about puzzles that have multiple solutions. Well, if that’s the case, they’re pretty well-hidden. In the first rooms, I went for the obvious methods (pulling the coin out with force, breaking the locker with force, using the coin to open the vent) and didn’t even realize there’d be alternatives. Actually, the only puzzle so far where I can conceive of an alternate method of solving is the fingerprint puzzle. I went with the clay mold because a scalpel to cut off the actual finger would be unnecessarily gruesome imo.
But simply having the option adds a certain replayability that’s rare in our genre.

In short: I’m quite fond of the design choices that have been made so far. They’re very much in line with how I think adventure games should be designed. And the story is very intriguing for the time being.

So, off to a great start, and currently well on its way to being a 4-star game in my book. Let’s hope it holds up to the end…



Before I tackle Day 2, allow me to end this post by tipping my hat at Joel and Petter for how the game’s turning out for now:

What a great post, this is my favorite adventure game since technobabylon, and i agree with what you think. I also got enhanced vision on my first play through but on my second I got something different. Indeed in the first room you can get a screwdriver from the witness if you were nice to him, to open the vent instead of using the coin. Also if you are on steam there are a lot of great hidden trophies.

The one puzzle I did not like from day one wasregulating the baby tank, I first just kept turning the nozzle and checking the computer to see when it was right, not even realizing that I needed to use the heartbeat monitor, I think both ways should work to solve that puzzle.

     
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It’s time for chapter 3. You have one week to complete it. I am looking to reading your posts.

FYI - one of the best cyberpunk adventure games EVER released. A true classic. I simply LOVE this game.

Developers, please comment on why U did a cyberpunk game.

Oh, I rate it 4.5 stars.

Heart

     

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

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Fell a bit behind so I’ve only just finished day 2.

Felt a bit lost at the start of this day since you kinda hit a dead end with the new murder right away since the doctors away all day, took me a bit to realise that the objective for that day was to hunt down the teacher

Since I’m doing the empathy path I got Amnesia for my first augment, it seems a bit dickish for someone who’s supposed to be empathetic with people Grin, I’m curious about a puzzle involving it though since after I done it I realised I could have tried something else instead asking valter for help with the electric gate results in him saying he has an important customer coming in and cant leave and he directs you to Lisa who is also busy trying to fix the power box. My solution was using Anmesia on Lisa to make her forget about the power box but now I’m wondering if I could have used it on Valter to make him forget about his customer

I wasn’t fond of the museum puzzle there wasn’t really much to go on other than the kids saying maja freaked out about the buttons and that the exhibit shared the name with the prayer, for a while I thought you had to push every button once in a certain order since there was 7 buttons and 7 lines. It didn’t help that some of the lines fit more than one exhibit, I’m just glad my first attempt I made after I had a hunch about needing to rotate the globe fully worked cause otherwise I probably would have though I was just over complicating things and got stuck trying other combinations.

My thoughts on the story so far Surprised the Conduit thread seems to have resulted in it just being one lunatic rather than an actual terrorist cell still being active, I think theres more to the baby than Katarina realises though since Maja was probably just taking advantage of her conditon in order to get a test subject for her grander scheme.
I decided to name the baby Munchkin, looking forward to the deep connotations my decision will have on the story Grin
I’m curious if the visions of Alex are just a hallucination made up of memories or if he’s somehow an AI, I’ve heard that the protagonist being haunted by the ghost of a loved one is a common Nordic Noir trope so it could go either way I guess

I’ll probably just jump straight into day 3 now, the New aug seemed really interesting at first but it seems like you can only copy someone if you have a good enough reason to which is a bummer, I was looking forwardnto just copying people and seeing their reactions

     
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Finished. I liked the game. It’s no Technobabylon but I’d give it a solid 3/5, a step up from Kathy Rain, but like that game it suffered from a much weaker second half.

The strongest part of the game was the investigating, detective work. The sci-fi was pretty standard fare. The stuff involving Alex never really took off for me and much of the AI and Conduit stuff just seemed to lead to dead ends. The idea of creating a God through AI was interesting at first but ended up barely even mentioned.

I also thought the character motivations were unconvincing, and as a result the drama with Katarina and my choices surrounding the baby had little impact for me. I think the reason for this probably had something to do with the need for branching created by player choice, which there wasn’t even that much of. Vera needed to be generic enough to be a cold-hearted b**** or a compassionate softy and as a result was a blank slate for the rest of the game. But this is my problem in most choice-based games I’ve played.

     
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Finished day 3 the mimicry aug doesn’t really let you have any fun with it sadly, only one person is seemed to work with in this day and you can only activate it in the one room more or less

Was surprised with Katarina being part of the conduit after all, I thought i had used the biometric scanner when talking to her but either I forgot to or she was somehow able to lie without setting it off. Stina being the killer wasn’t much of a surprise though since Perssons comment about the killer most likely being a guy seemed like a misdirect and the only other Augmented person we’ve met is a girl and the door magically opening by itself hinted at there being someone with an invisible aug but since she reveals herself like a minute later it probably wasn’t meant to be a surprise at that point Grin
Whether she was killing cause she was against the conduit or because she was part of the conduit and was cleaning up shop due to the others being blown by the Epos investigation is still up for debate.

On the puzzle side of things seemed weird you couldnt try the key on the lockers until you knew about the Epos connection, there was only a few lockers and the key working there would have given you the connection. I liked the tape puzzle but it was also odd that you only had to correct the one tape when both of them were recorded under similar conditions
Also not sure how the conduit book avoided getting waterlogged while you floated down the river.


Looking forward to the next day! curious how the regen aug will be used, not had a chance to use the gun yet either so I guess theres possibly some combat sections coming up?

     
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I started a bit later, but have caught up until the start of day 3 now. I like the game so far. Puzzles are fair, and I did have to do some thinking but was never stuck for long. I felt rather clever when I figured out how to interpret the Path of the Pilgrim.

It took me a while to realize that I had to combine the bloody photo with the portraits in the school - I was kind of expecting to recognize something in one of the photos without having to use the inventory item. Before I found that, I was wandering around aimlessly looking for something I missed.

That is perhaps something that’s bothering me a bit about the game. Nordsund seems rather desolate when you go looking around as there is hardly anybody present in the streets. Kathy Rain didn’t have that problem as it used mainly indoor locations and places like a cemetary and forest which you expect to be devoid of people, but Nordsund is surprisingly lifeless. That may be intentional, but in that case it is weird that in a place where only few people live nobody really seems to recognize or know anything about the only school teacher in town.

The augs are a clever addition to the game. Creating different puzzle solutions based on what augs an individual player may have unlocked must have been tricky during development.

Storywise it starts off as a classical murder mystery. Almost immediately there’s a hint of something more sinister going on with the whole Conduit thing, but at the end of day 2 that looks like it could be just one nutty lady. Let’s see in the coming days how that is going to pan out.  Laughing

     
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kabouter - 17 June 2019 02:44 PM

That is perhaps something that’s bothering me a bit about the game. Nordsund seems rather desolate when you go looking around as there is hardly anybody present in the streets. Kathy Rain didn’t have that problem as it used mainly indoor locations and places like a cemetary and forest which you expect to be devoid of people, but Nordsund is surprisingly lifeless. That may be intentional, but in that case it is weird that in a place where only few people live nobody really seems to recognize or know anything about the only school teacher in town.

Yeah it seems to be really inconsistent with who knows who, it was mentioned that she is one of the teachers rather than the only teacher but still someone teaching for 5 years next door in a small town should surely be recognisable to you even if rhey aren’t a patient or youre “not good with faces”

The town being desolate is probably intentional, seems like it was built “pre colapse” so the towns population is probably a fraction of what it was built for, mostnof the buildings seem to be unused and even the ones that are used seem to only have parts used since none of the elevators work.

     
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Finished Day 2.

Some fun puzzles and keeping the not too easy not too hard difficulty level which I think is just right for this game, so as not to distract from the story too much.

I got the vision Aug, it’s interesting to read about others people have got.

Story-wise I sort of feel a little at sea. It’s quite a bit of murdering that’s been going on so far and I don’t feel I know that much about the characters of the victims or care too much they are dead. Still with my mostly analytical choices of Day 1 that’s probably fair enough!

Sub plots or potential story lines seem to be coming faster today with dead boyfriend The Conduit and now EPOS on the radar. We seem to have picked a little at a few things but not got too much meat yet. Hopefully more on Day 3.

Day 2 choices seem to have pushed me towards the empathy sector, wonder which Aug i’ll get tomorrow? I always like it when games that take place in ‘Days’ have something new at the beginning of each day. Reminds me of GK1, coming into Grace every morning for some new messages/locations/research which I think is excellent.

I’m enjoying the writing and VA is OK, mostly good but not quite doing justice to the lines here and there.

     

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Finished Day 2.

And my new aug for Day 3 is… Cloak!
Invisibility should come in handy in a day where I’m supposed to sneak around the Church of EPOS. Cool

Found 3 uses for my Enhanced Vision:
- Seeing in the dark parts of the machine at the recycling center
- Seeing from afar to find the secret passageway in the junkyard
- Seeing in the dark in the secret passageway

I’m actually curious to know what the other augmentations are, and how they’re used in this section.

The only part where I noticeably missed one (or more) alternative solutions is the shootout. I went for the straightforward solution by grabbing my gun and shooting first. I kinda regret that now, but alas, the save system is designed to not be able to backtrack this way.
It’s really odd that my usual approach of “talk first, shoot only when there’s no alternative” in other games had me doing the reverse here.
I didn’t think of trying to talk or even use the biometrics scanner until after. Oh well…

It made my psychological progress seem all over the place in this day, though, so it hardly changed since Day 1:


The entire day seemed to go by a tad faster than the first day. The only puzzle in this section that could’ve been clued in a bit better is the hidden door in the museum. But most of my problem with it was the fact that it took me a tad too long to check the prayer book despite noticing the exhibit title. So I’ve pretty much myself to blame here. Grin


I like how the backstory of what happened to cause the technological collapse is sprinkled here and there without detail. Hints at the bigger universe without reaching for it because it’s beyond the scope of the game. Plus that allows for a sequel within the same universe.

I also like our main character’s history and backstory. Called it right after seeing the intro:

TimovieMan - 27 May 2019 01:45 PM

Main character looks sad. I’m hoping for hidden depths. Smile

The hidden depths have arrived. Smile

Good build-up, imo. On to Day 3!

     

Last played: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5

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I think I hit a bug… At the start of Day 3 I went to the morgue. I enter and the doctor greets me with “Well, if it isn’t the fantastic finger-snatcher” after which the doctor and Vera stay locked into place and all I can do is move the mouse cursor while listening to the game music. I cannot click anywhere anymore. And because of the autosave function, everytime I restart Vera just walks into the morgue and freezes…

Has anyone else encountered this problem? Do the devs have a solution (which doesn’t involve replaying the game from the start)?

I’ve attached a screenshot of the situation.

     

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kabouter - 18 June 2019 09:17 AM

I think I hit a bug… At the start of Day 3 I went to the morgue. I enter and the doctor greets me with “Well, if it isn’t the fantastic finger-snatcher” after which the doctor and Vera stay locked into place and all I can do is move the mouse cursor while listening to the game music. I cannot click anywhere anymore. And because of the autosave function, everytime I restart Vera just walks into the morgue and freezes…

Has anyone else encountered this problem? Do the devs have a solution (which doesn’t involve replaying the game from the start)?

I’ve attached a screenshot of the situation.

Have you tried hitting whatever the skip dialogue key is? Could just be the games stuck trying to call on a line of dialogue it can’t find for whatever reason.

     
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kabouter - 18 June 2019 09:17 AM

I think I hit a bug… At the start of Day 3 I went to the morgue. I enter and the doctor greets me with “Well, if it isn’t the fantastic finger-snatcher” after which the doctor and Vera stay locked into place and all I can do is move the mouse cursor while listening to the game music. I cannot click anywhere anymore. And because of the autosave function, everytime I restart Vera just walks into the morgue and freezes…

Has anyone else encountered this problem? Do the devs have a solution (which doesn’t involve replaying the game from the start)?

I’ve attached a screenshot of the situation.

Sorry to hear that! If you send me your saves I might be able to do something about this. You can find your saves at C:\Users\<User>\Saved Games\Whispers of a Machine\

If you .zip up all the files containing “agssave” and upload it somewhere and I’ll have a look asap!

*edit Thanks! I’ve PM:ed a workaround for the bug while we prepare a patch!
*edit2 This issue is now patched!

     

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