Adventure Gaming Catch-All

I've been curious to check out Detroit's feedback and branching stuff, but haven't yet, in part because of stories like those Harpo linked. As for the bluntness of its allegory, this video, unfortunately spoiler-ridden, is pretty detailed regarding how it's less the one-the-noseness than the flippant mishandling and misunderstanding.

Not I l’y is it a toxic place to work in, but the director of the studio, David Cage, has been accused of harassment by multiple women and people of color. The French press is rife with horror stories on the subject matter.
Not going near that game, not with a ten foot pole. Not a fifty foot pole.

Yikes, recent posts have not been flattering of Quantic Dream (which I was last aware of back during Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit). Also, didn't realize they were French -- presumably Eleima is spot on with her awareness of their reputation then. Seems the $10 off would be better spent on a different title/preorder with EGS. Perhaps it's time to finally get my adventure games fix with The Blackwell[..] titles; apparently a few of them are in my Steam account already.

Recreational Villain wrote:

Perhaps it's time to finally get my adventure games fix with The Blackwell[..] titles; apparently a few of them are in my Steam account already.

Defintely consider getting those games, because they're amazing. We played the first game, Blackwell Legacy in April, and the second, Blackwell Unbound, in May. The third game, Blackwell Convergence is on the list of games up for the vote for the June game.

There's a pretty big sale on Humble Bundle on "detective and point & click" games, with up to 90% discounts. There's still six days left, so be sure to check it out!

Telltale Games Revived, but in, like, "The Monkey's Paw" sense, or like how Mirri Maz Duur revived Drogo..

Yeah...... I have very, very mixed feelings about that.

the fact that they are employing old staff as "Freelancers" rather than full employees sets off ALL kinds of alarm bells.

Hello, thread!

I just finished the third and final episode of Tell Me Why, DONTNOD's latest adventure game. (I considered posting this in the Life Is Strange thread, because there is no reason other than intellectual property rights that this game couldn't just be Life Is Strange Season 3, but I decided this was a better place for my thoughts)

Tell Me Why fits with the formula of Life is Strange in that the protagonists are young adults, just a bit older than the LiS characters--early 20s rather than high school age. You play as twins, Alyson and Tyler (Tyler is a trans man, which was a big focus of their initial announcement of this game). The twins have been separated for a long time following the death of their mother, but the story begins as the two are being reunited with plans to clear out and sell their mom's house and figure out their path forward in life. The twins had a lot of questions both about the circumstances of their mother's death and about many aspects of their upbringing, and they dig into those mysteries as you play.

Mechanically, it plays a lot like an LiS game. Each scene takes place in a small-to-medium sized location, you look through shelves and bookcases and desk drawers in search of items that may fill you in on the backstory of the world and its characters, may locate one of a handful of collectibles in the environment, or may be the item you need to progress the scene. You participate in conversations and make occasional choices that steer the story. And of course the twins have a supernatural ability, as they can telepathically communicate with each other, and, at certain spots, can focus to reveal a sort of holographic replay of something that happened in the past. Overall, the game is about figuring out what happened in the twins' past and about each twin making choices about either bonding more closely with the other or pushing the other away.

After finishing the game in about 8-10 hours, I'd give it a solid B, an unremarkable but competent example of one of these types of games. For the most part the story was fairly predictable, and I think it's particularly difficult to set up some of these mysteries when there is ultimately a total of maybe 6 or 7 characters overall--when there is a question of who is responsible for something, it's hard not to narrow things down to at most 2 possible suspects, which reduces some of the tension. And the choices all felt pretty minor...sure, you could make choices with the intention of driving the twins apart, but I don't know why anyone would do that (other than to get the 100 achievement points I have sitting unearned, which does irritate me a bit!). Overall, though, it is a solid story with well-realized characters, good voice performances, and just enough challenge in the puzzles (there is a sequence near the end of Chapter 3 that was especially good) to make this a positive experience. And I love the way it looks--it's not a graphics showpiece, of course, but I think DONTNOD is great at designing spaces that look like real people live in them, second only to Naughty Dog (obviously at a significantly lower fidelity, of course). Art pieces designed by the twins and/or their mother are spread throughout the game, and they are often really charming and beautiful.

As a cishet white dude, I hesitate to render much judgment about the portrayal of Tyler as a trans man, other than to say it seemed like they did a good job. Vice had a review from a trans and indigenous author (as the game is set in Alaska there are also depictions of indigenous people), and the gist of her review was that the game played things too safe, portraying everything so sensitively as to have sanded off all any rough edges that might make anything interesting. It is interesting to compare TMW with LiS in that sense--I think both seasons of LiS touched on some big issues and had mixed results, as some people found their depictions moving while others found them clumsy or even offensive, while in TMW they seem to have taken precautions to avoid getting into any problematic territory. For my part, I like that LiS tries to speak to big issues even if they put their foot in their mouth at times when doing so, but I can see the wisdom in being much more cautious in approaching one of the first depictions of a trans protagonist in a game of this scope. I can't fault the developer for wanting to be extra careful to avoid offense, but I can understand feeling like that caution results in a less interesting work.

The last thing I would note about this game is the difference in release format. The game is separated into 3 chapters, about 2-3 hours each, and each chapter was released in successive weeks. This is a much better format than the LiS games, which were 5 2-4 hour episodes released over the course of more than a year. I don't need the releases to be weekly--I played the first chapter within a week or so of its release, but it took me long enough to get to the rest of it that it was all out by the time I was done. But I think the shorter overall length is a better approach, and having the game either completely finished or very close to it before releasing the first episode definitely seems like a good idea. I'd love for DONTNOD to release shorter overall experiences like this more frequently.