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Attentat 1942 (PC) artwork

Attentat 1942 (PC) review

"Historically Correct Adventuring "

Attentat 1942 isnít a particularly easy game to talk about. Some of this is because itís a patchwork of sorts, being part graphical adventure, part mini game collection and part schoolwork revision. It talks about the tragic period of time that Czechoslovakia was placed under Nazi rule, focusing in on the impact of its citizenship. There was a kind on uneasy stability for a while until a major German figure was assassinated on Czech soil, followed swiftly by brutal retaliation. Entire villages were razed to the ground, thousands were arrested only to be murdered or worked to death in camps. Commendably, while Attentat certainly has no issues talking plainly and bluntly about the atrocities the everyday folk faced, it never devolves into a lecture but instead focuses in on one particular personís life and following it through the period from the assassination to the end of the war.

That person happens to be your grandfather. You, as the curious grandchild protagonist, visit your grandmother one day and she starts talking about what the couple went through while under occupation. This chat concludes with a lot of unanswered questions; you learn your grandfather was arrested by the Gestapo but no one seems to know why. You canít ask your grandfather, as heís recovering in hospital, so you pick names from the stories youíre told and track them down to obtain more details. Friends he made before the war, or people he met in detainment.

Rather strikingly, these tales are told through a mixture of interactive comics to replay scenes from the past, and live action actors who you can gently interrogate about what was probably the lowest ebb of their existence. Attentat handles these interviews very well; your grandmother mentions her suspicions that her neighbour had something to do with your grandfatherís arrest as he was a reporter often accused of sucking up to the Nazi regime. If you so choose, you can march right next door where he still lives, hammer on the door and demand to know why he sold out to the invading Germans. Take this approach and you shouldnít be too surprised you get no further than having a door slammed in your face.

Rather, if you speak to him as a person, you might find the explanations of his actions during that time make sense. Attentatís biggest strength is talking about moments of panic during occupied Czechoslovakia and then using its interactive comic cutaways to thrust you into the situation, giving you little time to ponder on the situation. The Gestapo are hammering on your door, and you have to stall them. What do you say? Pausing for too long is as good as a confession that you have something to hide. Where do you hide that something to hide while the investigators are being stalled? Shoving incriminating evidence in a drawer in plain sight is a one way ticket to the labour camps. You need to be more creative than that, but thereís no time to carefully scan the room for that perfect hiding spot.

Getting things wrong means the storyteller corrects you and moves on with their tale, so itís forgiving in that respect. However, successfully passing an instance banks you up to two coins per memory which you can spend to reply interviews and try different conversation branches in an attempt to obtain more details. Sometimes, this is vital. Youíve just made an instant enemy of the man next door by calling him a Nazi sympathiser who collaborated in the arrest of your grandfather, and thatís not endeared you to him. Maybe rewind that conversation, try a more socially accepted opener. ďHelloĒ, perhaps might wield better results.

Itís important, because the people you speak to are not portrayed as arbitrary checklists but actual individuals remembering often tragic events. Your grandmother is bitter and angry that her husband was taken away and tortured, and itís reflected in the accusations she makes towards her neighbour. The neighbour is resentful of being labelled a traitor to his people when he was trying to hold up his principals as best he can at a time when a single unguarded sentence in an article he published could have seen him interrogated and shot.

Thereís a wealth of historical information provided, not only in the context of the game, but provided as unlockable extras. Progressing interview paths and weaseling out new snippets of information unlock encyclopedia entries you can open and read at any time. Itís a solid way to provide the curious player with more subject matter, but it never becomes a part of the gameís main narrative; youíre never really bogged down in info dumps because the game invests more in the people than the situation. In that regard, itís brilliant, taking a tragedy and then humonising the suffering beyond a list of arbitrary stats and instead highlighting the little acts of heroism or determination that got people through their darkest days.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (January 14, 2018)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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