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Nibiru: Age of Secrets (PC) artwork

Nibiru: Age of Secrets (PC) review


"People that enjoy the adventure genre such as myself like to think, fantasize from time to time of being great adventurers themselves. Perhaps to be put in the shoes of Indiana Jones on one of his romps through the Nazi-infested ancient civilizations or to be a young nautical scallywag that dreams of someday becoming a pirate. "



People that enjoy the adventure genre such as myself like to think, fantasize from time to time of being great adventurers themselves. Perhaps to be put in the shoes of Indiana Jones on one of his romps through the Nazi-infested ancient civilizations or to be a young nautical scallywag that dreams of someday becoming a pirate.

Alas, the highest amount of adventure that we see is standing up and going to see if there's anything to eat in the kitchen before one more gaming session.

Precisely because of these reasons, we like to play games like these, and to become other people who have the chance to travel all across the world solving mysteries of global magnitude. Martin Holan, the protagonist of Nibiru: Age of Secrets is one of such person.

The game opens with Martin receiving a phone call from his uncle concerning a startling discovery. A German mine, long abandoned since 1945, has been discovered and he requests Martin meets up with him to discuss the find in more detail. Since Martin (and 30% of all graphic adventure protagonists) is an archaeologist himself, this seems like a very good chance to feed his habit so the man accepts the invitation instantly. Although all the sources point to this being little more to a routine job at the get go, the mine holds close to its chest some rather startling secrets. It won’t take an inquisitive mind long to discover that the mine was said to have served as a base of operations where some mystical experiments were performed. Of course, to add to the charm of it all, aliens are involved as well.

Soon after the game starts and you solve the initial puzzles you will find that there is much more at stake here then a museum-bound dusty statue or two, but rather that there is something sinister guiding each and every single one of your steps and that (like in everything evil and vile in this world – like jellyfish) Nazis are involved and want to wrap their grubby mitts around the mine’s secret and use them to their own nefarious gains. Travelling across Europe, and later through Central America, you will find many enemies, German supremacist or otherwise, with the same twisted goals in mind, as well as a few allies that will help you out in your quest.

However, whatever images of grandeur the aforementioned might summed up should be buried behind a quickly summoned wall of cynicism. Up until now you might have thought Nibiru: Age of Secrets was put together well enough to warrant your time. But, with the way the protagonist acts, and the way puzzles are made, it’s simply is not. Frustrating and annoying, maybe; but epic? Surely not.

The greatest problem you will have to face is the puzzles that you need to solve and people you need to please to forward the game. Simply put, if this was a game that was made in an unorthodox world such as Sam & Max, I would completely understand. But in a game that tries so hard to take itself seriously as a thriller of sorts, a puzzle involving tying dynamite to a rat's back so it would blow up a cave from within IS NOT a good way to go. Just as eyebrow-raising is that, at a critical point of the game, you need to gain access into a bar, but to achieve this, you need to serve as some sort of a messenger between the angry bouncer and his girlfriend who is not allowed outside in the later hours. Fantastic, isn't it? World hangs in the balance, and you need to convince some girl to go and see her lonely boyfriend. If this wasn’t bad enough on its own, both of them sound as if their voice actors were extremely bored while doing their job. As much as I really want to blame them, I can't; it’s perfectly understandable, considering.

Also, allow me to mention Martin himself. He is an educated man, Martin is. Graduated from a highly valued university, speaks several languages and is obviously no stranger to adventuring. So then, one could not but ask Martin how such an intellectual gets in problems more often than a dog in a Korean diner? Here’s a random example: at one point of a game you are hiding from a group of Nazis in a very seedy shipyard at the dead of night. So, when you hear a voice telling you in purely malicious tone “Pssst, come here!” from inside a shadow-strewn warehouse, what would be the logical thing to do? The FPSer in me says «toss a grenade in said warehouse» because it is the right and proper thing to do. The more prominent coward in me says, «run like hell». What does Martin do? He saunters in nonchalantly; all curious about what might happen. Of course, what happens is that he gets knocked out. Again. Martin gets knocked out a lot during his adventure.

This is not to say that the game is unplayable, or bad. The locations are breathtaking, even for today's standards; the photorealistic images provide an impressive ambience that captures the chosen atmospheres in a way few avenues of media have ever done. The problem being that all of that disappears when the characters start to move and shatter the illusion for their animations, unlike those of the background, is amateurish and choppy. Annoyances like these do nothing but move you away from immersing yourself in what could have been an interesting game.

Could have been, should have been, isn't.

Rating: 5/10

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (December 21, 2007)

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