IFReviewed by James Mitchelhi
on 2006-10-16 05:54
Interesting. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure what to make of this game. Is the author trying to make a point? And if so is that point, uh, interesting. The quotes the author's included seem to lean towards one bias, but the open ended nature of the game seems to say the issue is complex. I don't know whether to call this moral cowardice, or not. Since I can't decide what the game's purpose was, it's difficult to decide whether it succeeded or not. It has left me strangely unsatisfied, though.
I suppose, in a way, the direction in which the author took the story was the easy way out. That way he doesn't have to say anything. I'd have found it much more interesting for the PC to remain as an agent of the state, to be drawn into the rationalisations and to understand him. The player would have to make the same decision once the story was finished, even if there was only one ending.
But that wasn't the game I played.
I have a few problems with that game. Puzzles should serve a purpose. If they are the focus of the game, they can be an end in themselves. In a story-orientated game like this, a puzzle should not exist for the sake of there being a puzzle. It should pace the game, and ideally lead the player into new knowledge or appreciation. Why make the player look for some car keys at a point in the story when all the player wants to do is get on with the story? There was no reason for that delay. Other puzzles in the game reflect the same lack of overall design.
The occasional flashes of dark humour were good, but there weren't enough. When the subject matter is heavy, humour often works well. Terry Gilliam's Brazil, a film this game seems to draw on in more than one scene, is a great example of this. That said, I did particularly like this line:
Moderate physical pressure isn't the answer to this one.