I’ve been waiting for quite some time for Tex Murphy Tesla Effect to arrive, long before the Kick Starter campaign and anxiously ever since.
I have a lot of fond memory from my childhood playing Under a Killing Moon, Pandora Directive and Overseer, I also tried playing Mean Street and Martian Memorandum, but those gave an entirely different experience from the FMV games and it did not appeal to me as much.
...and so came the big day, the 8th of may 2014, Tesla Effect was finally released.
I tried pacing myself while playing it, but I couldn’t resist the temptation and ended up finishing it in 3 sessions of about 6 hours each.
Tesla Effect delivers the essential elements of a Tex Murphy game and more, that being said there were a few things that bugged me which i will expand on shortly, but all and all, after finishing the game i felt like i got the experience i was looking and remembered so fondly.
What is a Tex Murphy Game?
Tex Murphy, is a First Person, FMV, Adventure game, that is very story driven and filled with amusing dialogues and challenging puzzles.
So lets break it down to section:
In Telsa Effect there was a big improvement in the controls and navigation through the game’s world, instead of pushing Tex forward and backwards with mouse movements, you control Tex like in most First Person games, with the WSAD keys, which is a great improvement, although i would have given the choice to custom map those keys for a better UX, personally i would have even set the middle mouse button as a move forward trigger, the less i need to use the keyboard the better.
Another thing i missed from previous Tex games was crouching and stretching, simply because it made it easier to search inside drawers and cabinets and i also liked it when items could have been placed on the inside bottom side of a table, so you need to crouch and look up to see it, it adds another dimension to the game.
Full Motion Video, This is a big part of the game, each time you meet a character you will see an introduction movie, then you will have a branching narrative that evolves the story-line and effects the path and outcome of the game.
Then you can interrogate the characters, ask them about other characters and get more information and clues that will help you move forward in the game.
The FMV in Tesla Effect is done very nicely in a stunning 2K resolution and some great acting performances from the old cast and the new, my favorite one besides Tex is and always was rook, look for him in the pawnshop.
Another thing i missed from the previous games in Tesla Effect is seeing the characters inside the playing environment and not just in the fmv, as much as it looked cheesy and did not add one bit to the game-play it made the world feel a little more alive.
Adventure Puzzle Game:
The adventure side of TE is pretty much the same as in the other games, there are 3 things you can do to advance.
1. solve inventory puzzles, most of the time the item you need will be close by to where you need to use it, but others will be located far away or even in a different location, this sometimes requires an insane amount of pixel hunting, but that was always a part of it.
You will also need to combine certain items to advance.
2. The dialogues, ask the right character the right question or basically make sure you talk with everyone about everything, even if it’s not required to advance, the dialogues are the most fun part of the game, so don’t skip any.
Another little thing that bugged me in the game was when i got stuck because a previous unavailable location became available and i had no idea that this location was even a part of the game, it was one of the rooms in the hotel, i would have give the player some indication that this location will be a part of the game later on, even if the character just scream at you through the door “Come back later, i can’t talk right now”, i would know i should try it again every time i get stuck (for those of you who played the game i am talking about Saffyre).
3. the puzzles in TE are not easy by today’s standard, but are easier and somewhat plainer than in the previous installments, I remember getting stuck on the Mayan calendar puzzle in Pandora Directive for over a week, but solving it was 7 times more satisfying and rewarding, i acknowledge that most gamer today do not have the patience for this type of puzzles and i believe that’s why they were dumb down, but this was not a deal breaker for me and i enjoyed the puzzles nevertheless.
There was a small issue that bothered me with some of the puzzle, the camera view was way too far and it was hard to see what’s going on in the puzzle, this happened in about 3-4 puzzles in the game.
4. the graphics, there was and still is a lot of chatter around the graphics and 3D models used in TE, the graphics are 10 time better than the previous games and that is obviously expected, but they are a little dated, which may draw back some of today gamers, i personally enjoyed the art and it didn’t bothered me one bit, so just watch one of the videos online and judge for yourself.
As I said in the beginning of this review, I enjoyed playing TE, i got the experience i was looking for, but I think there is room for improvement on future installments.
I am looking forward to see how the gaming community will react to this game and hopefully i will get the pleasure of playing a new Tex Murphy game in the near future.
For now i’ll settle for a second run through with a different path on Tesla Effect.
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Time Played: 10-20 hours