Friday, May 22, 2015

Technobabylon Review

Technobabylon is an adventure that tells a tale of murder and corruption, set in a dystopian futuristic world, where linking the human brain with computers has become the norm. Technocrat Games has managed to make a game that manages to live up to it's lofty premise, with a few minor hiccups.

The game follows three different protaganists who live in a futuristic city that is run by a computer program, which alerts the local police force whenever it perceives a threat.  Two of the main characters are police officers, one who is supportive of the computer controlled government, and another, older officer, who is not.  The third protaganist is an addict to her world's version of the internet, in which the human brain is directly connected, and projects an avatar of her conciousness to those online.  The trio soon find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation linked to a mindjacker, who feeds off of minds of those who have the computer connections in their brains.

The game is published by Wadjet Eye games, and employs a low resolution art style that is similar to most of their games.  The characters are pixellated, as expected with the low resolution, but they are presented in greater detail through still character portraits when the characters are speaking.  Despite the higher detail, the character portraits manage to blend in well with the art style of the rest of the game.  The backgrounds are also in low resolution, but are quite detailed.  This dystopia is rather bleak in most areas of the city, except for the more wealthy areas, and the artwork showcases this discrepency quite well.

The music is understated, but fits the tone of the game excellently.  The writing in this game is top notch, and for the most part, the voice cast manages to bring out all of the nuances of the script quite well.  There are, however, a few exceptions.  The cheerful voice of the autochef, the synthetic droid salesman, and the Chinese businessman can be a bit grating at times, but as their parts aren't particularly large, it's not too distracting.  The main cast, including the three playable characters, are all voiced excellently.

The interface is a standard point and click control scheme, which is introduced in detail at the start of the game.  There are some deviations from the usual method of play, in the few sections of stealth in some parts of the game.  This doesn't work quite well, due to the limitations of the interface.  The guards seem quite blind, as the player character will often be hiding, but seem to be right in front of their view.  Beyond that, there is also one stealth section that is frustrating, as you need to hide behind a moving container, which isn't easy to do when you need to point the crosshair pointer at the area you wish to walk.  This is the only area where the control method was a real issue however, as the rest of the problems with the stealth sections were merely cosmetic.  In any case, stealth sections happen rarely, so it's not a major problem.

Overall, Technobabylon is a fun adventure game.  It has an interesting setting, multi-faceted playable and secondary characters, and a fantastic mystery story.  The music fits the game well, and most of the voice work is well done as well.  There are a few grating voices, and the stealth sections leave a bit to be desired.  However, the few short comings of the game are well outweighed by its many positive attributes.  It's an adventure that's well worth playing.

Final Verdict:

4 out of 5

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