Monday, May 17, 2010
The adventure Genre by now has officially risen from the dead, at least in Europe, and as Hardcore Gaming 101 has become adventure central to some degree during the last year or so, here are a few promising titles from my home country. I don't know if there's much coverage of some of those games in the English speaking world, I hope this post isn't all too redundant.
Black Mirror 2
Germany has always been a rather strong market for adventure games, ever since back in the good old Lucasarts/Sierra days, but the lively development activity nowadays only roots back a few years, mostly. Black Mirror was originally developed by the Czech studio Unknown Identity (adventures are also big in Eastern Europe), but was particularly well received in Germany during the big adventure draught in the early 2000's, although it doesn't quite hold up today. While Unknown Identity delivered many mediocre games after Black Mirror, somehow the rights for the IP ended up with German publisher dtp, who assigned Cranberry Studios with the development of the sequel.
The game takes place 12 years after Black Mirror 1, the player takes the role of a student of physics. The story seems at first unrelated, but there many ties become evident later, as the hero visits locations from the first game.
There are some questionable mini games and death scenes (but the game offers instant restart at a point immediately before the fatal mistake), but the puzzles are said to be executed well, and the main characters quite believably written.
Black Mirror has been released in the United Kingdom earlier this month. An US version isn't in the picture, I think.
This has been actually released in Germany in 2008, but there stil l doesn't seem to be an English version around, correct me if I'm wrong. The game takes place in the Orwellian future of 2072. The writing is kinda meh (although that could maybe be corrected by a good localization...), but the game looks awesome. Characters that hold no importance to the player and the story are displayed as mere gray silhouettes, which is an interesting concept, I'd say, symbolizing the grade of anonymity and de-individualization in the dystopic setting.
A New Beginning
Seen in the first image above. Now we're reaching TBA territory, even for domestic releases. The new game by the studio behind The Whispered World (released in the US recently) and Edna & Harvey: The Breakout (I think scheduled for an US release sometime this year) is the one I'm looking forward to the most.
The Whispered World
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout
It is called and "Ecology-Thriller" by the developers. In the year 2500, earth is pretty much messed up by the breakdown of the climate, but a team is sent back through time traveling to prevent the worst. Like the Whispered World (though in a different style), the game features some breathtakingly gorgeous artwork, and is even supposed to support 3D shutter glasses, going with the current trend. The game is supposed to come out in Germany around christmas 2010.
After ripping off Broken Sword with their Secret Files series, Deep Silver go back to the roots, taking their inspiration by Indiana Jones and the early 20th century adventure genre the Spielberg-Lucas movie was based on. The hero looks like a stock 21st century hollywood shitface, but the scenario sounds awesome: Nazis, Triads, Tibetan treasures, is there anything more to wish for?
The biggest weakness of the Secret Files games was their dry, genre-savvy humor, if Deep Silver is able to work that out (the scenario seems a little less inviting for that kind of stuff, so I've got hopes), this can turn out a real hit. As it's done by the Secret Files guys, it can only be a matter of time until this gets translated into English.
There's much more coming up (and recently released), of course, but those are the ones I'd deem most interesting at the moment.