Monday, February 05, 2007

2K7 Game-a-Week Week #5: Hotel Dusk: Room 215

I rarely get around to playing a game right after I buy it. Gone are the old days when getting a new game was an isolated event that required almost immediate playtime. With huge platform libraries, discount used game prices and other demands on my time, I often just get a game to add it to "The Collection" figuring I'll get around to playing it...someday...soon...I hope. So, it felt a bit odd to be playing a game that the podcasts were still talking about, hearing what they thought about it. And what do I think? Well,...

Visually, HDR215 is stunning in it's style. It's unlike any other game for the DS (or any other platform) that I know of. It's like a moving sketch book or comic and the vertical orientation of the device further enhances that feeling. The developers and publisher need to be congratulated for trying something so different in an era of game clones and media license crapware. But is it a good game? That depends.

I just finished "Chapter 1" at lunch which is supposed to cover 30 minutes of time in the game. That section probably took about 3 to 4 hours to play. Some of this time was spent just reading the interaction text between characters which could have really benefited from some editorial cutting or voice work. Hey, even GBA's Max Payne had speech! When you have to click to continue on everyone's piece of dialogue, a simple exchange takes way longer than it would in, say, a movie. (A couple of people on the podcasts complained about the speed of the text, but I found it fast enough to read, just more to read than I would have liked. Might be an age thing.) The rest of the time I played was spent trying to do things to the environment which usually I couldn't (a sandbox game this isn't). This is (at least so far) a very rigid point-and-click adventure to the point that I had to go back and ask questions of one character before I could get any farther. Insisting that you have additional conversations with an NPC should not be a prereq for continuing the game. Just work it into the script already! At this point, I've only had a few touch screen interactions (solving a jigsaw puzzle, picking things up, bending a paperclip, etc) so the action has been slow. If this were a movie, I would have been snoring a long time ago. I hope it doesn't turn into Hotel Myst. Oh, and a quick note, I don't really think plot quizzes should be used as level bosses.

But, all is not lost. I do find the story interesting, even if I have a bad feeling it will end up in some sort of Twilight Zone-esque twist and there are 9 more chapters to get through. Maybe it will pick up. I had originally planned to do the SMT:N thing again (go for another week) but I think I will pick a new game instead (in this case Timesplitters Future Perfect for the Cube) and keep working on Hotel Dusk when I can't be at a console (ie, lunch, appointments).

Other bits: FFVI for GBA comes out this week. A must buy for Wednesday....The new linkshell we joined has helped some (got two Assault locations and one promy), but we've taken a few casualties. Jury is still out.

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