"Every once in a while there’s a game that’s destined to change things. Perhaps it’s the sort of game that heralds in a new engine, showcases a new standard of graphics, or brings in a unforeseen focus on story and settings. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s game so utterly bad they serve as a large sign to all future developers never, ever to design games in such a way. Often, these failures drown in pre-release hype, chosen to usher in a new age. At worst, a game that symbolizes the re..."
Every once in a while there’s a game that’s destined to change things. Perhaps it’s the sort of game that heralds in a new engine, showcases a new standard of graphics, or brings in a unforeseen focus on story and settings. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s game so utterly bad they serve as a large sign to all future developers never, ever to design games in such a way. Often, these failures drown in pre-release hype, chosen to usher in a new age. At worst, a game that symbolizes the resurrection of a nearly dead and extinct genre and announces new, grand things to come with its coming. All it delivers is soul-crushing disappointment.
Indigo Prophecy is everything on that list.
Enter one Lucas Kane, a man who decided his New Year’s resolution would be to stab a man numerous times in a seemingly random New York diner. Conveniently so, immediately after said stabbing takes place, Lucas seems to come out of some sort of trance, and finds himself without any memories of committing said murder, despite him being covered in blood and the fact that there's a corpse littered with stab wounds and a still dripping steak knife grasped in his hands.
And, somewhere, in the recesses of his memory, he could swear there was a police officer sipping on a coffee at the restaurant’s counter, putting more weight on his already stressed psyche.
So, Lucas does what every single one of us would do, he begins to panic; adrenaline surging through his being, he tries to calm down and find a solution to his most unhappy predicament. And here is where you, the grand puppeteer behind Lucas, enters the scene to decide his fate. As such, you could try and put yourself squarely into Lucas's gore-stained shoes and curl up whimpering in a corner, hoping all of this is a bad dream.
Of course, if you are a CSI connoisseur , you could also consider how you might get yourself out of this mess. Ditch that dagger in a toilet, stash the body in an empty cubicle and clean the blood from your body, then get the hell away from the scene. Hell, if you want to play it ice cold, you can return to the restaurant and finish the dinner you never remembered ordering, because murderin' is hard work. Pay the check, drop a polite nod to the police officer, and stroll casually into the snowy night considering your next moves.
That was only the first choice that Indigo Prophecy gives you on how to deal with your situation, and it’s only the beginning. You can play private investigator, trying to already cover all of your tracks in the diner, and reclaim lost memories of who you are and why you‘re there, be it by tracing your phone calls or talking to the waitress in the diner. You can also take the easy route, panic the hell out and let the police take you in. Sure, it will be Game Over, but at least you have the power to end it the way you want. The choices are yours.
No matter what they are, after you manage to get Lucas out of the diner, two new characters enter the scene the moment the body is found in the bathroom. Police detectives Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, whose shoes you will need to fill, and try to find any clues that Lucas might have left behind. Each of them has his own way of dealing with police work. Carla's more of a person with both her feet firmly on the ground, she approaches the problems analytically and tries to find the solution with logic and by asking witnesses solid, important questions.
Tyler is Chris Rock in «Chris Rock: The police life».
As the game progresses, roles will change, and the game of cat and mouse will be played out more and more. As Lucas you’ll try, as days pass, to find yourself, to remember who you are and what you were doing in the diner on that night and why would you, somehow who never committed a serious crime, kill a person in cold blood like that. As Carla and Tyler, you’ll try to solve the case handed to you, connecting the dots and trying to, each in their own way, find the best venue to explore the routes that lead to success, while dealing with the pressures of their own lives.
All of the characters have their own personalities and personal quirks, and all need to deal both with professional and personal stress of their lives. Carla deals with her own insecurities of having no one aside from Tyler to confide in and her chronic claustrophobia and overall perfectionist nature. Tyler's problems are far more personal in working the job that tires him day in and out, emotionally and physically, which puts a strain on our jolly's cop personal life. Lucas's problems are self explanatory.
And all of this works. It works flawlessly. If you like adventure games and if you like criminal thrillers with a touch of supernatural, you will love every moment of this game, an experience that works like a high budget movie in which you’re the director, producer and star. You control everything that will happen to your characters, if they will be happy or sad. That boxing bag you hit as Lucas? It was a good way to get the frustration out of his system, if for a little while and it will make him happier, more relaxed. That basketball game in which a pasty white nerd kicked the crap out of you will make Tyler a very sad man.
This is clearly a game you must play, and there are no excuses.
I wish it were so, for this works for about half of the game. And then it seems like the developers started to smoke bulk-bought crack. Everything they worked so hard to make it work falls into the crapper at a certain point in the game. It's like they erased everything and just placed a new, shitty storyline over the great one before it. Suddenly from Twin Peaks we go to Matrix meets Hellblazer meets WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!. This is not a gripe about personal feelings that will change from person to person. This is basically the point where you can say with a clean conscience that the developers must have skipped the plot tremendously, or just said “Screw it; let's go with this instead“. All characters change their personalities taking a 180° turn, nothing that you get attached to, or interested to see how it will turn out ever gets resolved, you get to do things you didn't even have the time to consider if you really care about. It’s literally a completely different game with the same looking characters sporting weaker personas.
Indigo Prophecy has a love/hate relationship with me. I love it because it tried and in some segments succeeded to resurrect a dead genre. It brought something new and unique to the table, placed story before everything else, and yet placed it in such a manner that ensured good gameplay as well. I hate it because it had so much more to offer if only the game didn't have such a change of heart. It could have revolutionized the industry of adventure games, with a bestseller title that could have been the end of all that we knew before, not just a gentle nudge in the right direction. It failed.
And the worst part of it all is that it had all that was necessary, and yet they managed to sod it up.
Community review by darketernal (January 03, 2010)
Occasional reviewer of random stuff.
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