Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Perils of Man Episode 1 Review

The first chapter of The Perils of Man was a fun adventure game that was fun on its own, and showed great promise for things to come.  The first episode of The Perils of Man is now available, adding two more chapters to the impressive start of the story that began in chapter one.  So far, episode one has lived up to expectations, and in some ways, even exceeded them with a new gameplay mechanic that brings something new to the table, while working well with the inventory based puzzles that are staples of the adventure genre, rather than feeling shoe-horned into the game.

This episode begins from the start, so if you already played chapter one, your experience in the first chapter will be largely the same.   There is one slight difference, but only if you played chapter one when it was first released.  One scenario has been changed to have a little bit of added complexity in that it now requires an inventory item to start the puzzle.  If you played chapter one after episode one was released, your experience will be identical, as the puzzle has since been updated in chapter one to cause less confusion by matching the updated puzzle in episode one.  Episode one continues seamlessly after the end of chapter one, and adds two more chapters to the mix.

The puzzles in chapter one are as sharp as ever, and the inventory and dialog puzzles in the other two chapters continue that momentum, but the brilliance in this episode comes from the mechanic introduced in chapter two, and first put to use in chapter three.  The Perils of Man has always been advertised as a game about risk, and although we got a taste of that with Ana's mother, that theme really comes into the picture here.  Ana finally discovers how to use the gift that her father left her, and begins a journey through time to protect people by minimizing risk.  While the rest of the game is presented as a point and click adventure on a traditional side scrolling two dimensional plane, once Ana puts on her Risk Atlas, the game switches to a third person perspective, allowing Ana to analyze the risk of objects around her.  Once she discovers the risks, Ana can minimize the risk through inventory puzzles and discussing the situation with the characters around her.

The new locations are quite interesting, and complement the dollhouse art style already seen in the first chapter at the Eberling estate.  The music once again fits the locations nicely, and all of the characters are interesting as well. Each character, both new, and returning, are quirky, yet believable.  The slightly grating, pretentious tone of Ana's mother is still present, but so far she's regulated to just the first chapter, so it's not too distracting.  The rest of the characters are voiced quite well, especially Ana's new sidekick, the steampunk robot bird, Darwin.  We also get a taste of one of the most intriguing characters, just as Ana completes her first foray into her family's legacy.  Thus, the episode ends on a satisfying note, while leaving a nice cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more.

Episode One of The Perils of Man is a fantastic start to what looks to be a fantastic adventure.  The inventory and dialog puzzles are very well done. The new third person perspective risk atlas mechanic fits the story well, making it feel like it blends well with the rest of the game, rather than feeling like an afterthought.  The music, art style, quirky characters, and voice acting also are well done, and fit the tone of the game well.  There is one part that's a bit confusing, as it requires you to guide a light to a location by holding it down and rotating it, which is a mechanic that hadn't been used in the game at all up to that point and there is nothing in-game that explains it.  Other than that small hiccup however, the game is fantastic, and is one of the better adventures in recent memory.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

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