Ark of Time (PC) review
"Ark of Time is a game you’ve never hard of, which makes you reading this review an oddity. Perhaps you jus liked the name, perhaps you were drawn in somehow by the shiny coverart or perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps you found this lying in a local bargain bin and decided to take a risk on the unknown. "
Ark of Time is a game you’ve never hard of, which makes you reading this review an oddity. Perhaps you jus liked the name, perhaps you were drawn in somehow by the shiny coverart or perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps you found this lying in a local bargain bin and decided to take a risk on the unknown.
You'll probably be better off leaving it where you found it.
Ever notice something about point 'n' clicks? How the games 'hero' is nothing more then a an everyday person who gets wrapped up in mystery and suspense and then dragged kicking and screaming all the way through a ever twisting storyline? Well, the stereotype is alive and well within Ark of Time.
Meet Richard Kendall, who, despite the strangely American accent, is a small time sports reporter for an English Newspaper. Although happy in his life of covering how Farnborough preformed against Dagenham & Redbridge over the weekend, the ever-sinister editor has bigger things in mind, and Richard is sent off on the trail of four adventurers who have been reported missing whilst searching for the lost city of Atlantis. As luck would have it, Richard is properly equipped for such a hazardous mission -- or at least will be, as in true point 'n' click fashion, he makes use of every piece of discarded garbage he can lay his hands on and fits it inside the internal vortex which is his bottomless pockets. Yup, it's a point 'n; click all right; you get the standard twist and turns, but it's an interesting story nonetheless.
That aside, it's hard to score things like music, seeing as there is none really to speak of, but, to be honest, you really fail to miss it. This is because of the voice acting. Every character has a voice and do they like to talk! Hats off to Project 2, they seem to have hit every stereotype they could think off. You will meet each and every one of these along your travels, but this is not a bad thing. For the most part, the voice acting is average, and okay voice acting in a computer game is a good thing. The main problem being that Richard's whiney voice will get on your nerves after a while, but overall, a good effort in that department. Some of the sound effects are quite noticeable too, such as hearing the odd stone falling, or a gust of wind blow past. It could have been better, no doubt. But it could have been worse. So very much worse....
The graphics are not that great either. Instead of the cartoon-like look that most other console point 'n' clicks correctly employ, Ark of Time has gone for a 3D look. It isn't that it fails miserably, it just doesn't look right, always looking slightly of out of place. Even the cut scenes, while not overly hideous, look wrong. Richard moves in a jerky fashion, as does anything else which has to move, and they have not even tried to lip sync, so talking characters look a little silly, to put it nicely. The background looks stunning at points though; little details like working TV's and the odd object blowing in the wind are also nice touches. You feel it could have worked, and worked well, with just a little more work and attention to detail.
Simple graphics, simple interface. The controls are not going to be the most complex thing in the world, considering the genre of the game. It's easy to use with mouse. Not really anything else to be said.
But be pre-warned; this game will annoy you. Points will come when you will hate this game. In fact, I only managed to completed it because I felt it was mocking me somehow. First off, Richard is slow. We are talking a car loaded down with really big guys, all carrying lead weights, travelling up a steep hill slow. Did I mention that the car had no tires? This, however, can be counteracted by double clicking on the location, which will send Richard there instantly, which will probably save you weeks or watching Richard stalk about the screen.
The puzzles come in two stages. The 'My pet hamster could solve this puzzle, despite the fact he is colour blind and lacks opposable thumbs' and the 'Good lord, call Oxford Uni. Get them all here now! How the hell do I gets past this bit?'
Nearing the end, the puzzles are damn hard, and they will drive you insane. The up point being how good you will feel after deposing of that last troublesome task. It will not last long though. There will be another round the corner.
If you enjoyed Broken Sword and its ilk, then maybe Ark of Time is worth getting. It's a challenge, to say the least, but a gratifying one. The story is good enough to drive you through the game, but nothing special. If you manage to complete it though, you will feel like telling random people in the streets of your success. A flawed, imperfect but enjoyably logical game, more for those how would try and think their way out, rather then unload a clip into a problem.
Community review by Cornwell (October 21, 2008)
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