A $5million game that famously flopped on it’s initial release. Mainly due to bad timing and a company going bust.
The game takes place on the Orient Express on the eve of WWI. You jump on the train to meet a friend and find him dead. Taking his place on the train you have to investigate his death.
This game has a unique gameplay feature that is one of the games biggest strenghs and one it it’s weaknesses. The game takes place in an accelerated real time world. Characters move about independantly of your actions, important events happen at certain times whether you are there or not.
So you walk around and evesdrop on conversations, pick up items, talk to people or sneak into their cabins when they are otherwise engaged.
There is a wealth of story and background to be found by being in the right place. The characters are rich and varied, from the overweight letcherous German to the beautiful musician, the lesbian couple or the African royal. They all have secrets to unfold.
It certainly lends a lot of replayability to the game however it also makes the game hard to know what to do next. Do I sit here and listen to Sophie dominate and manipulate poor Rebecca, do I watch Madame B complain about the Dog for the 10th time or do I try and sneak into the young Russians room and find out what he is up to?
It this leads to multiple endings and a branching storyline that makes each play through slightly different. Make a mistake and you will have to rewind time and try again.
Mechanically the game is a 1st person flip style game with some great graphics. The characters are all animated in a rotoscope fashion with the real actors being fillmed and then animated. It make for some decent if choppy as hell animations. Most of the puzzles are situational and require you to be in the right place at the right time and hear the next clue or talk to the right person, but there are occassional inventory puzzles.
There are also some action fights in the game that require you to do some basic QTE type button mashing to win. These are extremly frustrating and could probably have been left out of the game.
Overall, This is a game with a fantastic story and a superb set of realistic characters (the game is not afraid to have them all speak their native language). It is slightly held back by the dodgy fight sequences, the choppy graphics and a weird ending that I never thought fit with the rest of the game.
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Time Played: 5-10 hours