Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hector Is Included in The Oktoberfest Bundle

The Indie Royale Oktoberfest Bundle includes the Straandlooper developed and Telltale published adventure game series Hector: Badge of Carnage.

You can pay whatever you want for the bundle as long as you meet the minimum price (currently just over $5.50 USD). The other games in the bundle include Chime, Adventures of Shuggy, Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble!, and The Network. If you pay more than $8.00 USD, you will also get the bonus game The Witch's Yarn and the music albums Calm Your Nerves and Chip unDeath.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Broken Sword Mega Review

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars (known as Circle of Blood in the original US release) is the first game in the Broken Sword series.  It has been released in different versions: the original and the director's cut.  Like my Monkey Island mega reviews, I'll review both versions of the game here.

The game features excellent hand drawn art with fluid 2D animation in the game's cutscenes.  The director's cut adds new character portraits when the characters are talking to each other.  The updated art in high definition is hit and miss, as some of it looks really nice in high definition, whereas other pieces look simply upscaled from their originals.  The director's cut also has a new opening with new art that matches the original, as well as a truncated version of the original game's opening which now features a voice over to fit the tone of the rest of the game, and it occurs after a new scene which features the French reporter Nicole Collard in a playable role, as opposed to the original where American George Stobbart was the only playable character. The removal of the original cold open with a blank screen and a voice over by George in favor of adding Nico as a playable character has been derisive amongst fans, but I personally quite like the change. I wish there had been more playable Nico scenes in the remake, as Nico has always been seen in the original game sitting in her house, yet she tells you that she has done some investigating of her own in conversations. The new scene fills you in more on what Nico has been doing on her part of the game's mystery. The truncated version of the original opening still works well, and the cuts don't make the game lose anything story-wise.

The story is mostly serious, dealing with murder and conspiracies, but there is a lot of humor found throughout the game, mostly through George's antics and observations.  There are also some humorous references to Revolution's previous games that fans should be able to pick out. This is a dramedy rather than a straight drama, and both the dramatic and comedic elements are written well.  The story is one of the most memorable that I have experienced in an adventure game to date.

This game takes place in many different locations, mostly located in France, but there are other countries visited as well.  The locations are very memorable, with nice hand drawn art that represents each real world location very well.  The characters that George meets as he visits each location are memorable as well.  This is thanks is large part to the voice acting, which is outstanding.  The main characters, George and Nico are voiced excellently, and each of the side characters are excellent as well.  All of the voices fit the personalities of the characters, and many of the voices are memorable enough to stick with you after the game is over.  The music in Broken Sword is very nice, and it fits the mood of the game very well.  The style of music changes based on which location in the world you visit, which is a nice touch.  There is nothing that will stick in your head after the game is over, but it does add nicely to the game's atmosphere.

The game's puzzles are well thought out.  They are challenging while still being fun.  The director's cut has extra puzzles in the form pattern matching sequences that are remincent of the casual adventure puzzles in Doctor Who: The Adventure Games (which Charles Cecil of Revolution oversaw).  The new puzzles don't add much to the game, but they don't detract too much as they are few and far between.  The original game had death sequences, which were very rare, and happened at times where danger was hinted towards the player.  The director's cut eliminates the few instances where death is a possibility in the game.  The director's cut also changes a puzzle with a goat that is notorious for giving players of the original game a difficult time.  The puzzle isn't too hard, it just requires thinking outside the box.  However, the new version works just fine, slightly changing the mechanics without changing the intent of the original puzzle.

Broken Sword is considered a classic in the genre for good reason.  It is one of the best adventure games released in the mid-1990's.  The art is beautiful, the characters and the performances of the voice actors are memorable, the music fits the mood of the game, and the story is one of the best of the genre.  You can't go wrong with Broken Sword, no matter which version you choose to play.  The director's cut does have some hiccups, with uneven translation of the art into high definition and new casual adventure puzzles that don't add anything to the game.  However, if your platform only includes the director's cut (or the original), it's still worth playing.  That said, I would suggest staying away from the Game Boy Advance version if possible since it replaces a lot of the animation with still frames and elminates the excellent voice work (the Nintendo DS version also eliminates the voice work. However, it keeps the animation and adds the new close-ups from the director's cut to the dialog on the top screen, which works well).  Ultimately, the best choice for Windows users is to buy the game from, as both the original and the director's cut version are included for the same price. That way you can get the best of both worlds.

Final Verdict:

4½ out of 5

Walking Dead Episode 4 Release Window Announced

Telltale has announced that the fourth episode of The Walking Dead, Around Every Corner, is "coming soon this October", followed by the fifth and final episode of The Walking Dead at an unannounced date. The entire series will be released to retail on disc for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America on December 4, 2012. A release date for the retail versions in Europe has not yet been announced.

Telltale also released a video of their Walking Dead presence at PAX Prime 2012, as well as the Playing Dead Live question and answer session for The Walking Dead which can be accessed from a link at the end of the video embedded below.

Enter The Story: Julius Caesar Is Out Now

Chris Tolworthy's ambitious Enter The Story books as games project continues with Julius Caesar. In William Shakespeare's famous play, a group of senators conspire to overthrow Julius Caesar when rumors surface that Caesar intends to turn republican Rome into a monarchy under his own rule.

The latest Enter The Story games, including Julius Caesar, are choose your own adventure games with some classic adventure elements. The games are partially playable online and can be unlocked by ordering the games in a bundle for $15. The bundle also includes the five original offline adventure games created with Adventure Game Studio.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes Is Out Worldwide

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, the sixth Sherlock Holmes adventure game by Frogwares, is now out worldwide for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

In this game, Sherlock Holmes is the primary suspect in a case involving theft, fraud, and double-crossings.  All evidence points towards Holmes, and London is beginning to lose it's faith in the detective as the news spreads.  Even Watson begins to have his doubts when Holmes flees Scotland Yard.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Out On iPad

The Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Adventure Mysteries Kickstarter failed, but thankfully the games are being made anyway.

The first three mysteries of this full motion video adventure game series with live action actors (originally released in 1991 on computers and consoles, and later re-released on standard DVD players with better quality videos) are out now on iPad 2 and higher. Developer Zojoi says that these three cases will be coming out for PC and Mac in a few weeks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beneath a Steel Sky 2 Is Coming

Develop has posted news that the sequel to the cult classic Beneath a Steel Sky has been greenlit by Revolution Software thanks to the success of the Broken Sword 5 kickstarter.

It was originally stated that Beneath a Steel Sky would only be greenlit if $1,000,000 USD was raised in the kickstarter campaign, but it was decided to greenlight it anyway, despite the campaign earning $800,000.  It was $200,000 short of the original stated goal for BASS 2, but still twice as much as the minimum kickstarter goal for Broken Sword 5.

Development will begin on Beneath a Steel Sky 2 once Broken Sword 5 is released.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Build a Bundle 3 Includes Kaptain Brawe

The Build a Bundle 3 indie bundle includes the adventure game Kaptain Brawe: A Brawe New World. The way this bundle works is you pick the games you want in the bundle and pay a minimum price or more. Currently, the minimum price is only $0.75 USD per game. The other games that you can pick for your bundle include: Secret of the Magic Crystals, Detour, Omegalodon, War in a Box: Paper Tanks, APOX, CreaVures, Chrome + SpecForce, and 99 levels to hell.