"Indigo Prophecy is a game that I have had a good feeling about for a long time. A similiar anticipation would have been Killer 7, in that both games promised to be highly original and new play experiences. Another thing that Killer 7 and Indigo Prophecy have in common is that both titles were given less than spectacular reviews from the popular gaming press. Most reviews didn't tear the games apart, but neither of them were received as warmly as anticipated. In the case of Killer 7, I ignored so..."
Indigo Prophecy is a game that I have had a good feeling about for a long time. A similiar anticipation would have been Killer 7, in that both games promised to be highly original and new play experiences. Another thing that Killer 7 and Indigo Prophecy have in common is that both titles were given less than spectacular reviews from the popular gaming press. Most reviews didn't tear the games apart, but neither of them were received as warmly as anticipated. In the case of Killer 7, I ignored some negative anti-recommendations and gave the game a solid chance, and I was amazingly rewarded by an out-of-this-world gaming experience. I fully believed that the pattern would repeat with Indigo Prophecy. The general complaints about the game have seemed petty and unwarranted, and I was sure that I would have the experience of a lifetime. However, the masses weren't being quite so unfair this time around.
Don't misunderstand me. Indigo Prophecy is no slouch. There are many flaws, but any self-respecting gamer owes it to him or herself to play it through at least once. The problem is that there is so much failed potential for replayability here. This game flaunts the power of choice, but ultimately puts you on tigher rails than most games. The meager three endings and lack of true branching paths is very disapointing. There could simply be so much more substance here.
I am on my second playthrough right now, and I am noticing a lot of detracting elements, such as problems with the dialogue selecting. During a conversation you can choose your responses on the fly and kind of direct the dialogue. This is cool and all, but here is an illustration of my problem:
Carla: What about the blood in the booth?
Cop: You won't believe this. It isn't the victims blood! The killer must have hurt himself.
Carla: What about the blood in the stall?
Cop: By god, you won't believe this, Carla, but the blood in the stall does not even belong to the victim!
Carla: Hmm.... The killer must have wounded himself.
Point proven. Times like this don't pop up very frequently, but they definitely serve to remind you that you are playing a game.
Character movement itself is atrocious. Camera angles try to be cinematic but usually just get in the way and contribute to your drunken control. There are even a couple of stealth parts in the game, that coupled with the sloppy control, can do a very smooth job of making you look like a chump.
Actions scenes are handled in unconventional ways that involve pressing buttons in accordance to on-screen prompts. This can involve a Simon Says type interface, simple button mashing, or manipulation of the right analog stick. Decent hand-eye coordination is surely a requirement, and there will probably be a few instances of sweaty palms and aching fingers. I have not personally seen control just like this in any other game, and it works rather well, so it is definitely a positive point for the game.
The storyline in Indigo Prophecy is, well, a pretty big mess of good and bad ideas. It starts off intriguing and stays that way for several hours. It slowly gets cheesier and cheesier and you'll notice a lot of "homages" to popular films like The Matrix. Look, I am not the type to bitch about bullet time. If a game or movie maker wants to integrate bullet time, then they can go ahead and do that and I will not condemn them for ripping off The Matrix. However, Indigo Prophecy really pushes it. Some of the final sequences in the game probably would have made me shit my pants with glee if it was not such a blatant copy of the Neo/Smith antics at the end of Matrix: Revolutions. Yes, men flying around beating the crap out of eachother is cool times. I just have some slight issues with the execution here. I would almost call it a form of plagurism in a few cases.
The characters themselves are OK. People like to bitch and moan about the detective Tyler being a black fellow that plays basketball and has a Shaft theme, but I thought his compliance with certain stereotypes was funny and appropriate. Carla is his partner, and she is basically just there to provide some nice breasts. Her character seems strong at first, but she ends up pretty one dimensional. Lucas Kane is the real main character here though, and he is, well Neo with some adjustments. He is quiet and awkward, overly serious and difficult to determine the true ethnicity of. He does his job well as protagonist and his developments are quite nutty, but somehow interesting.
By the end of the game, you will surely be trying to figure out how you really feel about it. I think that ultimately, I am the type of person that can easily handle extremely weird and quirky storylines. After all, Metal Gear Solid 2 has my favorite storyline in any form of entertainment ever. So, yeah, I enjoy turns for the strange. However, the difference between MGS2-style strange and Indigo Prophecy-strange is that the former is written with highly unexplored ideas in mind while the latter is trying to put new spins on just about every strange idea that has been done before. It feels like a big buffet of cliches, all thrown together into a highly edible package of foods that just make eachother taste weird. You can eat it, and it'll sustain you, but... Well, Reeses Pieces and Cherry Coke, right? I love 'em both to death. By this logic, I used to get that combination of items when I'd go to a movie. However, I found that the Pieces would make the Cherry Coke taste bland, which would in turn eventually cancel out the appeal of the Reeses. That didn't stop me from devouring both the Cherry Coke and the Reeses Pieces though.
How's that for a contrived analogy?
All in all, I like the game. I will probably pull it out on some future rainy days. If there was any way for me to be the only one to praise this game as an amazing gem, I would. I wanted so desperately to find the gold in this lump of coal. Unfortunately, this is quite an average game. With better controls and improvements in the progression, I think I would have spent less time noticing how wanky the plot gets. With a better storyline with improved writing, I probably could have been easier to forgive the controls from Hell and the problems with linearity. Here's to hoping for a better realization of potential for the sequel !
Community review by atra_vortex (January 12, 2006)
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