A few years back, when Black Mirror was published, I thought in my little mind that the computer game graphics would not be able to get any better. Bless me, I was so wrong. Cranberry productions provides us with a game, including so high graphics quality, that it makes dizzy. I would be yet again willing to say, that this is absolute best where we can get, but I think it’s time to learn from my mistakes, and remain silent. It sure is easy, because I’m so out of words in front of these graphics.
Mata Hari takes place in the beginning of the 19th century europe, Paris, Berlin, Monaco and Madrid. Music supports these locations excellently, although it will repeat itself after some while, because there is not too much of compositions. But powerful, classical tunes fit in this game like that famous hand into a glove.
In these days, I have often critisized - especially new and newish - games about the poor quality of voice acting. Mata Hari manages to be best acted game - best in a long while. From the present-day games, maybe only Still Life reaces the same line of quality at this matter. Actors have been carefully chosen for each character. All intonations are belivable and just right. Also the sound effects are pleasant and they actually sound really natrual. Therefore it’s easy to give full score from this point.
Mata Hari’s interface is quite similar to Black Mirror, but in this game, you will drag icons over the desired item or character. It’s quite confusing, though, that the conversation icons, and inventory objects are really similar, and you cannot always tell them apart. On top of that, they are plain icons, and the shape and size of the object doesn’t come clear from them. What’s more, there isn’t voice acted description from them. But aside from that, everything works fine with the interface and after getting used to it, one will eventually have a liking to it.
The fact, that the game takes place in last century’s europe, gives it a certain charm and Mata Hari is really interesting as a character. Also game’s theme is interesting, even though the story tends to be interupted by too many frustrating minigames. One could have thought to get more out from the atmoshpere, but the fact, that the script holds together very well and is easy to follow, just about saves the day.
It’s clear from the start, that Cranberry productions has put a lot of effort to quality animation. Not a single move of the chracacter is broken, but fluent and bendy. The trees are swinging in the wind so belivably, that at times, the game felt more like a movie, than an actual game. Clouds move gently in the sky, flags wave in the wind. Animation is therefore extremely well done in all respects. There is absolutely no complaints here.
Concerning the technical side, Mata Hari is trustworthy product. During the play, there were no bugs, and I could spot only one miss-spelled sentence in comparsion to dialogue, all worked really well. When the test plays are made thoroughly and the final touches are made carefully, there is a possibility to make fine quality products like this.
Mata Hari is disapointingly short game. Four cities plus few another places. I believe I needn’t to highlight this more than to say, that there sould have been really much more to explore. They have tried to make it longer with all kinds of minigames and puzzles, but failed, because they are way too easy in comparsion to other games of the genre. And there is no inventory-based puzzles at all. Straightly speaking: Mata Hari screams at least a half more to its length, because now big part of it just consists of running around and backtracking to places with train and taxi. It was frustrating.
Dialoque is extremely interesting, thanks to brilliant voice acting, but also to entertaining script. The only thing, that has to be critisized is - yet again - the asynchronization with text and voices during the intro and cutscenes. It isn’t something that should offend too much, just a mainor annoyance as the cutscenes do not really play a big part in this game.
Intro is actually the first part of the cutscenes, it’s short, gets to the point and is generously quite well done, but fails to get you jumping from exitement. Cutscenes are presented with similar style, there are no characters visible, only the narrator who makes an interview with another person. It works quite well, I must admit.
Mata hari will be endangered many times during the adventure, but dying in the game is not possible.
Cranberry productions is new developer, and everything looks bright for their future concerning the product development and quality of the game. Mata Hari is really interesting and - in a way - highly charming aquintance. The biggest stumbling-block is the lack of length, which overshadows another qualities of the game. However, 3 and half stars indicate, that this wasn’t miserable attempt at all. Quite the contrary.
+ Best graphics to the day. Speeclessly beautiful
+ Best voice acting in years. Definitely at TOP-10
+ Brilliant animations, especially the little details in the background
+ Quality game, no bugs
+ Good story, good script, fine completion
+ Music fits the game well
+ Interface is clean and easy, regardless the new innovations
- Way too short. Where’s the another half?
- Asynchronous text and voices during the cutscenes
- Intro could have been longer
- Quite bland and melancholic atmoshpere at points.
- Lack of inventory puzzles
- Backtracking with train and taxi
- Too much little minigames
The magic barrier of 90 points was just about out of reach, but that was primarly due to lack of length. Every detail of this game reflects the high quality. Technically, voice actingly, graphically, musically, trough animations and in every other respect. In some other review I remember to have said that nowadays, there is this syndrome of really good, but short games. I think I will repeat myself and once again, full of sadness, I must admit, that yes - unfortunately that was exactly the case. And is still. Mata Hari is, however, game worth testing out. Let’s hope that the developer will do something more lengthy and challencing in the future. This was good first work!
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Time Played: 2-5 hours