Contradiction (iOS)

Contradiction (iOS)

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I never owned a full motion video (FMV) game until Contradiction. I played a few including Cyberia and Microcosm when I was younger but I don’t recall much of it. Giant Bomb’s Quick Look of the PC version brought this game to my attention but it was the investigation angle that convinced me to to buy it. It reminded me of a British take on Ace Attorney with live actors instead of Japanese sprites.

Just like Ace Attorney, the game is filled with exaggerated characters. Inspector Jenks pushes the limit on exaggerated gestures and emotes to ensure the audience doesn’t misinterpret his thoughts. Paul Rand (played by Paul Darrow) plays the sinister father and puppet master that rivals the likes of Charles Dance’s Game of Thrones performance. Then there’s the disinterested James who Inspector Jenks catches numerous times with various drugs and is unusually fixated on his fireplace.

It was up to Inspector Jenks and I to uncover the truth behind Kate Vine’s death. Everyone in town is guilty of something and they would often lie about things. I had to point out those contradictions to move the story forward and in half a dozen hours or so Kate Vine’s murder was solved. Unfortunately, that was just the tip of the iceberg and many loose threads will require a sequel to tie up.

I enjoyed stitching together the facts and evidence to unravel lies but the inventory and user interface was a chore to navigate. I missed obvious clues due a combination of impatience and cumbersome U.I design. I resorted to a walkthrough and discovered answers were right under my nose but were buried behind scroll bars. It was frustrating but I didn’t let it deter me.

The most glaring issue with Contradiction (outside of the obvious typos) is with the contradictions themselves. There are numerous contradictions that should be acknowledged as such but they overlooked it and I’m stuck exclaiming “C’mon! That’s totally one!”. I hope they handle it better in the sequel because that’s a bummer to think you have one over the characters only to have it yield nothing.

Contradiction is exactly what I wanted from a full motion video game. It has exaggerated acting, a wide array of little scenes that transitions from scene to scene without becoming annoying. My only gripe against is are logistical and the lack of polish in the user interface. With those issues in mind, I still enjoyed my time with Jenks and gang and hope to see them return in a sequel. I just hope the recent GiantBomb exposure doesn’t ruin the magic.

Verdict:
I like it

 

Broken Age PC Review

Broken Age PC Review

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I don’t have nostalgic reverence for old adventure games. I never played Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle or Grim Fandango. I’ve only played the first two Monkey Island games when they resurfaced as remasters and appreciated what they offered. Their quirky sense of humor and charming characters amused me but at the same time, there was an air of obtusity that rubbed me the wrong way. Still, when Tim Schafer and DoubleFine Productions wanted to make a new adventure game in the vein of those classics, I didn’t hesitate to give them money.

Broken Age was DoubleFine delivered after three years of waiting. I was patient. I didn’t mind that they broke the game in two and delivered Act 1 last year. I didn’t mind waiting but was it worth the wait? I thought so.

Broken Age was very much like the Monkey Island games. They managed to recreate that charming quirk and even managed to annoy me in the same manner as those decades old games. If that’s what the aim of game then I would say Broken Age was a resounding success.

I absolutely love the look and sound of Broken Age. It’s a very pleasing aesthetic despite the freakish looking characters with their elongated limbs and exaggerated facial features. Everything was very expressive as if it was made to communicate to a younger audience. It reminded me of a children’s storybook but the game was anything but.

Broken Age required pen and paper to figure out some of the puzzles. It also required a lot of trial and error as I used every item with every character in hopes of stumbling across the solution. Even then, I had to resort to Google for nudges towards the right direction — especially for second half of the game where they seemingly escalated the absurdity of the puzzle solutions.

I wasn’t frustrated by any of it though. I knew what I was getting into and ultimately that’s the correct approach to any game that’s trying to relive the past. I realized that I was going to get the good and the bad. I wished there was a built-in hint system of some kind but when a game presents itself in 4:3 aspect ratio, I can’t help but see an inclusion like that would sully the original vision of the project.

I got what I wanted out of Broken Age. It didn’t surprise me but it successfully charmed me and reminded me of the past. I gave DoubleFine Productions $15 and they gave me what was promised and that’s all that I could ask for.

Verdict:
I like it

Ratings Guide

 

Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

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Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney

Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright were finally coming together after years of success on Nintendo portables. The two popular Japanese adventure game franchises were supposed to form the formidable duo to tackle a mystery that required both their skillsets. The Professor and his investigative skills would gather evidence while the Ace Attorney would utilize said evidence in courtroom. I was hoping for seamless collaboration but instead there was a clash of styles that hurt the overall experience.

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LTTP: Gone Home

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Gone Home Logo

LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

Time machines aren’t real but everyday people like you and I have managed to find our way back to the past through entertainment mediums such as movies, TV shows and even games. Of all the mediums available to us though, I believe games can be the most effective time machines.

The Fullbright Company’s Gone Home was an adventure game that brought me back to 1995. The 1990s was brought to life through CRT TVs, VHS tapes, Super Nintendo carts and posters featuring the cast of 90210. Hand written notes, post cards and A/V equipment review magazines reminded me of slower times. It was a convincing and nostalgic trip back in time and I loved every minute of it.

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