Yesterday Review

Yesterday Review

Dec 18, 2012

Yesterday is a point and click mystery that keeps you on your toes from the opening cutscene through to the conclusion. It takes the requisite worldwide conspiracy and lovingly coats it with interesting characters and plot twists that would make even M. Night Shyamalan swoon.

It is a long-awaited port of a popular PC game, so it did have a bit of a reputation to live up to. I was quite pleasantly surprised.

The game graphics were uniquely utilitarian yet vibrant. Tunnels came alive, and I could almost breathe the decrepit air and whisper of fear from the great use of color alone. The motions were a bit stilted in places, but the overall look and feel mostly made up for the few non-optimal parts.

The gameplay was solid, and started with the plot that kept me guessing. The story centered around the amnesiac protagonist John Yesterday and how he deals with said amnesia and the conspiracy around him. The plot moved effortlessly from spooky to inventive, and back again. Play-wise, collecting items was the expected initial quest, but it was not spoon-fed to me; from the beginning, I had to use my wits to figure out how to retrieve one of the first objects. I could combine collected items to solve problems, and thoroughness was essential. Some items could even be broken down to effect a solution. The gameplay worked well, in my opinion, because the script made sense, and the solutions to the compartmentalized problems were mostly logical.

The dialogue was important too, as it helped me figure stuff out. I liked how the game changed character perspective to move the action along; there were three playable characters, and the switches worked well. Tapping on dialogue bubbles helped to facilitate conversation and the gathering of information.

My biggest fuss is that the game is way too short… which, again, is probably a testament to how consuming it is. I couldn’t put it down, and became easily immersed in the shadowy world the developer created. I have sensitive ears, so the one or two curse words gave me pause, but to be fair, we are dealing with murder, no?

I got dibs on the movie.

Broken Sword: Director’s Cut Review

Broken Sword: Director’s Cut Review

Nov 19, 2012

Before Assassin’s Creed and the Da Vinci Code, there were tales of the Knights Templar, the shadowy but honorable band of noblemen that fought for honor and accumulated wealth and enemies. For many gamers, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars was the first introduction to the group.

I first played the adventure way back when on my trusty Palm T5, and saying I was hooked is an understatement. The game was a PC mainstay, and its port to PalmOS was lauded.

Prepare to stand and clap again, because it has since come to Android.

Broken Sword: Director’s Cut took me back to a time when deduction solved crimes… a time when travel (not Google) got results and the guy could get the girl… if he made it to the end in one piece.

I played the game as George Stobbart, a well-meaning, stereotypically nosy American tourist in France. After narrowly escaping death by chance, I had to figure out what I had stumbled into. One murder becomes multiples, and then I was smack dab in a conspiracy with a professional killer — or is two or three — after me.

The game plays like most hidden object mystery games do. There is dialogue to initiate with other characters, clues to be found and puzzles (literally) to be solved. The developer leaves a few ciphers and locks that need to be logically addressed. In some instances, I had to be deceptive by luring a subject away so that I could procure a guarded item; on at least one occasion, that involved recruiting an accomplice. At one juncture, after being accosted and attacked by a horned adversary, I had to figure a way to restrain said opponent before proceeding. I picked up clues and usable items to store in my inventory.

Dialogue-wise, there were optioned outcomes, but they didn’t deviate very far from the required one. If I was asked a question, I sometimes had the option to lie or tell the truth, but at worst, all that it did was delay the inevitable. When I got stuck, I had to re-trace my steps and/or try the items in my inventory (boy was I happy to finally get rid of the dirty tissue). If that failed, there was the hint feature (here’s a free one: the interwebs are literally chock-full of walkthroughs).

It is still a great game; while I loved the graphics that stayed true to the original, some might wonder why it seemingly does not pop on today’s powerful mobile screens. I thought some of the clues were unnecessarily convoluted, but the additional difficulty might actually lend to the game’s allure.

The Director’s Cut (a prequel featuring George’s love interest) was a fun twist that is just one reason Broken Sword a consuming diversion.