Verfasst: 16. April
It's really unfortunate that I can't give this game a good review... it's got some very nice attention to detail at some points, such as when you try to boost Erica, the protagonist, into her cognition mode when she's already there. You get an artfully done flash of red, indicating a rush of blood at the fruitless attempt to boost her preternatural ability. Or take Erica's mobile phone, where you can do anything from choose tags for web searches for entertainment, to have Erica tell you that she doesn't happen to feel like listening to music at the moment, as her brother is currently being tortured. When you break the hand off a statue, in an act of possibly regrettable vandalism, the hand stays behind, instead of disappearing into hammerspace
. Details like these can really make a game experience, providing immersion for some truly diverting story or gameplay.
And this is where the game fails. The gameplay is fairly standard for a point-and-click, with a nice flourish from the cognition ability and the very streamlined interaction system, so that's not the problem... No, the game fails on story.The first puzzle turns out to be very simple, something easy to solve while you're still leaning the interface. The madman who has taken Erica's brother has used a makeshift lock to hide in a masoleum, then buried the key out back. Without waiting for backup, Erica and her partner bust into the graveyard, where the only shovel has been cemented into the hand of the 'weeping angel'-style statue. It's a point-and-click, so instead of being able to dig in the loose dirt with her hands, Erica needs to use the hammer from the toolbox to whack off the statue's hand, in order to obtain the shovel to dig. Fine.
Except Erica can't dig. The shovel is tainted with the psychic unpleasantness of having whacked her brother in the back of the head. She tries, then tearfully informs the player that she can't use the shovel.
An entirely psychic weakness from a psychic isn't very reassuring, and it's conveyed to be on about the same level as a fear of spiders, which is puzzling. It's one of my pet peeves in these sorts of games when the character refuses to do something; not because they couldn't, or it isn't really feasible, but just because they don't want to get their hands dirty. It's a tendency which disproportionately affects female characters. Okay, fine. Maybe I'm being unfair. After all, it's not like psychic abilities don't have downsides too. A blessing and a curse. In any case, Erica goes back to get her male partner and tells him to dig, which he ♥♥♥♥♥es about, but he probably doesn't know about her ability. A secret, double-edged ability, weilded gingerly by a ginger heroine. At this point, I feel like I may have been a bit unfair to label the exchange unreasonably sexist. Erica claims the key from the ground and heads to the front of the masoleum.
Then things get really bad.
First of all, in the upcoming exchange, her partner reveals that he knows about Erica's ability, which ruins my headcanon of Erica's careful management of her secret capability. Then again,
the entire scene ruins Erica's credibility, and calls into question her ability to reasonably manage anything.Erica trys the arcane stone wheel key on the makeshift lock, and tries to turn it. It won't turn, not unless someone is standing on the pressure plate. 'It's a trap!' says her partner, fat white male police guy, 'wait for backup!'. 'No!' snarls Erica, 'I'm doing this'. She turns the wheel... and spikes pop out near her legs. 'Stop!' says fat white police guy 'You see, I was right!' (Actually, I think I jumped the gun on his previous line of dialogue, so he doesn't actually say this, he says that instead, but w/e). And then Erica pulls her gun and points it at her partner's head.
Erica has an FBI badge in her inventory, and my guess is that it isn't forged. Given that, her pulling of a gun loses all its melodramatic teenager-style charm.
Erica should know how to use a gun, and would only pull it in two cases, to incapacitate, aiming at limbs to slow a dangerous target, or to kill, as a last resort. Given how her gun is directed, she's offering to kill her partner for worrying about her safety
. Just wait, it gets worse. Turns out the cryptic message scrawled on the door indicates that the murderer who has her brother wants her to drive the spikes into her shins by continuing to turn the wheel. He's watching them through the camera her installed, so he could probably open the door at any time. Erica's plan is... to do it. Her resolution here is utterly baffling after her refusal to lift a shovel. She turns the wheel to do so, and gives shriek indicating low-pain tolerance, even after being totally prepared (if I was being sexist, I would say the shriek was 'manly', due to some studies which indicate that men have, on average, lower pain tolerances. Not everyone bases their sexism on statistically derived fact, however, so I feel that the majority of people would come to the opposite determination, were they being sexist). The door opens, and... the trap springs! Catching her partner in the chest, which Erica seems not too unhappy about. She slumps down the stairs, having difficulty walking on her wounded yet not overly bloody legs, making attractive poses against the walls of the spiral staircase.
At this point, I could only come to the determination that the developers were of a sadomasochistic bent, who apart from that (in and of itself, not so shameful) likely enjoyed writing a female character due to all the irrational decisions they could justify with one (which is definately a shame). Erica is supposed to be an FBI agent, something which takes no small amount of work and competance. Instead, she's written like a troubled teenager, which utterly kills the story.