64 people found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
7.3 hrs on record
Posted: April 24, 2016
Wow, looking back my other reviews for the prior installations of the series - Runaway: A Road Adventure and Runaway: Dream of the Turtle - and comparing, my jaw dropped for this one. The last time that I checked, Runaway series were a train wreck consisting of badly scrambled plots, annoying character stereotypes and painfully complicated gameplay. Playing the third and the last game in the series - Runaway: A Twist of Fate - I'd like to ask an obvious question: what is this wondrously intriguing adventure game and what has happened to the Runaway series?
Without further delay, we are back to Brian Basco's life. Our story opens up with a grim situation that we are not quite used to seeing in Runaway series. It all begins when Gina, ex-stripper, full time adventurer and Brian's fateful girlfriend attends Brian's funeral... I have to be honest: that was a twist that none of us would expect at all. Through certain flashbacks, we learn Gina's point of view. During their vacation to Hawaii, Gina insisted that they'd take a trip to Mala Island. Yet, their pilot had a heart attack during the flight and the plane crash landed to the island. Brian made Gina use the only parachute in the plane... and that was the last that Gina was able to see Brian. The next thing she knows, they are in a military camp, Brian's holding a gun in his hand and a military officer lying dead before him! Needless to say, he is apprehended immediately and stood trial for the crime. The peculiar thing is: Brian didn't remember a thing! The last he did remember was taking the trip to Mala Island! Pleading amnesia, Brian was sent to an insane asylum and was attended by a court appointed psychiatrist to decide whether the amnesia was real or not. A couple weeks after, Gina learns that Brian died in a botched escape attempt from the asylum... and that's the exact point where our game begins: in Brian Basco's funeral.
Even only by watching the starting cinematic, and recalling the events of prior games, I was baffled. I started to play the game immediately and finished it in one sitting to fill the blanks in the story. I was both surprised and glad to see that the plot progression, event dynamics, gameplay logic, character depth and the genre of humor were down right brilliant in this game! This last installment manages to tie up all loose ends and bring a lively dynamic to the setting by arranging various storylines into an understandable and exciting resolution - and also tops the quality of the humor a couple notches up.
All our characters - especially Brian and Gina - became incredibly well written and well displayed, easy to emphasize with. Gina now has a sense of humor of her own, alongside a stronger character display. She has become much more than the helpless bimbo that we've seen her to be in previous games. Brian, on the other hand, became way more resourceful, attentive and able - managing dangerous situations by himself without the completely random and somewhat idiotic chance events that we encountered in previous games. His compassion feels sincere this time, and his resolve is actually admirable. The humor baseline in A Twist of Fate became remarkably mature and tasteful too, with witty remarks and eligible references, including an ability to needle the flaws of the setting in previous games. I am pleasantly surprised!
Display options are noticeably improved. Sure, we are still given 2D backgrounds and 3D cell-shaded animations, but the artwork quality is mastered up until this point. Animations are cute, funny and relatable this time. Art works themselves are pleasant to look at. Voice acting is clear and matching with the subtitles too. I'd like to also add that this is the first time that a game in the series has noteworthy soundtrack, fitting for the mood and the tension waiting to be built up!
The game has arching storylines where we control a couple of different characters according to the narrative timeline of events, which is anything but linear to fill all blanks left in the previous games. As expected from a point and click adventure, we are given a limited environment to search through, gather items and talk to people to resolve certain chapters in narration. Good news: there is no pixel hunting at all! + there is a joke about pixel hunting near the end of the game :) Talk about self-criticism. Solutions for puzzles or necessary item combinations are not really hard to figure out. They mostly take some decent observation, basic logic and carefully listening to main characters' comments to get an idea about how their mind works. This way, we solve puzzles and observe their personalities successfully at the same time. If you are stuck, you are given a wondrously funny and almost always useful hint system starred by a familiar yet hellishly annoying character in the series. Sorry, no spoilers but you won't be happy to see that certain someone.
I'd never think of the day that I'd see a Runaway game well done, yet here it is. Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a great adventure game which manages to correct all flaws of the series, rebuild badly written protagonists into likable characters and tidy up the collection of ridiculously random events into a brilliant ending! I still cannot advise you to suffer through previous games, yet it is necessary to grasp all nuances of the storyline; and eventually appreciate the skill and artistry of the team that managed to make a mediocre series into one great story in one game! Thus, I can at least recommend watching a "Let's Play" for previous games. Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a beautiful adventure for you to take a chance on.
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Runaway: A Twist of Fate concludes the Runaway trilogy, giving it a worthy ending. There are already plenty of good reviews, so I'll just leave some short remarks.
As for the trilogy, this is by far it's best part. Part 1 had absolutely awful puzzles, while Part 2 although it had better puzzles, lacked pacing and failed in the story (telling) department. A Twist of Fate furthermore increased the puzzle quality and the puzzles became a mostly natural part of the story. Setting, story, dialogue, "acting" and pretty much everything got a more professional touch. Additionaly, stuff like hotspots marker and fast walking got added to the game, making it alot less frustrating.
Overall I enjoyed playing the game. Even though it might not be perfect (e.g. sometimes it's very hard to see the indication to skip scenes), it's a game I would recommend every fan of the genre. Chapter 3 was one of the best parts I've ever played in any adventure/p&c game. I did not like part 1 & 2 of the trilogy and I'd recommend only getting part 3, as in-game dialogue and cut-scene supply you with the needed background information.
Too bad this was the last part of the series. Judging by the progress they made over the trilogy, the next part might've been a masterpiece.
Runaway: A Twist of Fate, is the third and final (as of right now) entry into the Runaway game trilogy. The story, while leaping ahead a bit in time from the cliffhanger ending of Runaway: Dream of the Turtle, can be considered a direct sequel since it wraps up the events from that game.
If you have played either of the other two games, which is recommended if you want to know the full story, then you will be familiar with the control scheme. This is a point and click adventure, with the left and right mouse buttons used to explore and pick up items. In your inventory you can examine and combine items, and select them to use in the environment. The puzzles are on the same level of difficulty as the first two games. There are no ways to fail, so if you are having trouble just keep exploring and combining items until you find the solution. A nice addition is a button to press that will show you all the hotspots in an area. That definitely helps make some of the pixel hunting go a lot faster.
The graphics have seen a nice upgrade from the previous game. My biggest complaint, the character models, have been improved, and while still not the best, are more than serviceable. The backgrounds are as nice as they have been in the Runaway series.
The voice acting and sound continues to be done well. There are some new original songs in Runaway: A Twist of Fate. Plenty of effort has been put into making the sound top quality.
One of my biggest complaints of the series has been the underwhelming involvement of Gina. Although saving her is a main plot point of the first two games, she is never really present for much of the games. You have no chance to form any sort of attachment to her. That is addressed in this game, where you will be able to control Gina for large parts of the game. She almost feels like a new character, because you did not have much interaction with her in the previous games. Brian is clearly a different character than when he began the first game, but it makes sense after the adventures you have been on together.
Runaway: A Twist of Fate felt like the shortest game in the series. However, what is there is very enjoyable, and I would much rather play a shorter game that is filled with quality content than a longer game that wears out its welcome.
I fully recommend Runaway: A Twist of Fate. I felt like the previous game, Dream of the Turtle, was a drop in quality in the series, but the trilogy ends on a high note. An additional adventure in the saga of Brian and Gina would be welcome.
The twist is that they somehow fixed the series, but was it just in time?
Firstly, Runaway: A Twist of Fate is the third and latest entry in the Runaway series, the point-and-click adventure series by Pendulo Studios where you follow Brian Basco - a shy physics nerd turned into a confident adult capable to stand up for himself - and his attractive girlfriend, Gina Timmins, in their Hollywood-like adventures which take some evident inspirations from a couple of known classics, like Broken Sword in particular.
Split into a couple of acts, this time around the story starts off from nowhere with absolutely no connections to Runaway 2’s ending: Brian is dead and he left a cryptic message to Gina who was supposedly still trapped in some sort of water tank in the previous game. For the first time in this series you take control of Gina, which oddly enough feels like breath of fresh air for this series despite this mechanic being nothing new to the genre. Not only that, but the biggest complain I personally had with this series was how useless Gina was as a character in the past by bringing nothing to the story other than an incentive for Brian to save her -- damsel in distress at her finest. It also did not help her being off-screen for at least three quarters of a game each. But the developers have finally listened and addressed this issue with a newly rewritten Gina who can be clever, reliable, and funny whilst still retaining her woman qualities.
So as Gina, it is your job to find out what actually happened to Brian as you deduce that he is not actually dead. From there on, the story starts building up piece by piece into a satisfying adventure worthy of its title with enough thrills and detective work to suck you in; you really want to know what happens next. I do not know what kind of sorcery the folks at Pendulo Studios dealt with, but whatever it was, the narrative in particular is a massive improvement over the previous games. It has a certain cinematic vibe to it which works surprisingly well with what Runaway: A Twist of Fate is going for, but perhaps the best part is how you are given a certain degree of perspective from different characters on how the plot develops (or developed in the past events) over the course of the game. Without any major spoilers though, the ending does feel somewhat unsatisfying considering the events that occur in the game, even despite being a throwback to Runaway 1’s ending. At the end of the day, considering how Runaway 1’s plot took a while to hook you and how Runaway 2’s was a trainwreck after the first two or so acts, Runaway: A Twist of Fate shows that this series is capable of consistently adequate writing. In actual fact, this is perhaps the most serious Runaway game from a plot standpoint due to its evident shift in tone, but at the price of also being the most mundane from the series as it cut down on the supernatural nonsense and the number of cheesy scenarios. Therefore, fans of the original might miss some of that wacky trademark whilst those who despised Runaway 2’s “Indigo Prophecy”-like approach in storytelling might go through sensations of revelations. Cutting it to the chase, the plot is simply a retcon of the entire story of the series.
Where Runaway: A Twist of Fate truly shines is perhaps when it mocks itself. There are plenty of hilarious, tongue-in-cheek, moments and references where it acknowledges how cheesy the previous Runaway games were and even questions the clichés of the point ‘n’ click genre. Realistically, becoming self-aware of itself should have ruined any of the immersion that the game has to offer, but it actually works in its favour to drive some of the humour from this comedy-oriented flick. Still, when it works, it can generate a chunck of laughter.
Visually, the cartoonish hand drawn backgrounds in here still maintain the unique aesthetics of the series, although they do feel subjectively less memorable (than in Runaway 1) and not as vibrant (as in Runaway 2) this time around. Locations and scenes, which in fact are far less than in the previous two games, are more constrained and definitely a lot smaller in size than before. Furthermore, they are also not as exotic as before since most of setting is mainly based in urban locations. One major criticism in regards to the drawings is that some of the rooms or objects were drawn at really odd angles in respect to the camera, so to speak, making them feel out of place sometimes. The character animations are also much better now.
The puzzles follow the tradition in the Runway series of doing plenty of pixel-hunting and every so often nodding at their illogicality when characters have to “improvise” their way. For our sanity, the developers finally listened to the criticisms received from the previous games and implemented a clever hint system which gives clues (not full solutions) to the player at any given time, along with the ability to highlight all the hotspots in the scene. This allows for a smoother experience than the previous entries without hindering much of the story’s pace. As result, this becomes the easiest and shortest Runaway to complete, clocking around 6-8 hours at most. The only noticeable annoyance with some of the puzzles is when acquiring items before any real motive, thus making certain actions not sequentially logical. This, sadly, ruins a bit of the immersion that is being built. Other than that, Runaway: A Twist of Fate has probably the best puzzles compared to the other two with less temptations of looking up a walkthrough.
As with the shift in tone, the soundtrack returns to the vibes accustomed from the original game which is a satisfying feeling for anyone who unashamedly enjoyed it, especially for its cheesily sang theme tune with synth-guitars. Talking about the audio, gone are the days when you were hearing someone talk as if they were doing so through a tin can, so it is, again, relatively better in most parts than in the previous games. But the most notable observation is the change in voice actors. For instance, Brian does sound different this time around. So you may like this change or not, but I did not find any problems with the new voice actors as far as I am concerned.
In conclusion, Runaway: A Twist of Fate is easily the best and most polished entry in this series, but sadly not the ultimate Runaway experience in my eyes. The way I personally see it is that it spends too much time doing a retcon of the entire series rather than bringing something new to the table. Many of the new features and improvements implemented in here were already present in other similar games of its genre many years prior this. It might as well have been called Runaway 3: The Apology Letter To Fans instead. The only thing that Runaway: A Twist of Fate did was to catch up with modern standards. By fixing many of the series glaring issues (which is commendable), it lost a bit of its charm that made it stand out to other adventure games from its genre, whether you liked it or not. Just when it finished cutting all its badly grown weeds, it ended. Still, I am recommending this game to anyone who fancies a point ‘n’ click adventure game with a good narrative and doable puzzles as it is easily the most accessible of the three games. Luckily, it does not require to have played the previous two to understand the story and recurring characters as everything is explained in it, but in lesser detail. For a better understanding, do play the previous two even if you have to endure their respective flaws.
I believe Pendulo Studios learnt a lot from this experience and I strongly believe, based on how this game played out, that Runaway 4 would have been that ultimate Runaway experience I am craving for. Retain the design polish of this game, but bring back some of those wacky charms of the original.
Runaway 3 decided to do a 180° turn and focus on a gritty, realistic story and complex, but solvable puzzles, while leaving the vivid colours behind. If you enjoyed the craziness of the first two games for some reason, you may be appalled how “normal” this one is.
Runaway: A Twist of Fate feels almost like as if it isn’t even the part of the same series ‘The Dream of the Turtle’ was. It even starts by stating almost none of the events of the previous game ever happened, but it doesn’t stop there: the first game’s plot is reduced to a tale the protagonist cooked up in his head to justify stealing 20 million dollars from the mob.
Runaway 3 is, in short, an on-the-run thriller, where Brian and Gina are trying to disappear from the military police of the second game and from the mob they scammed in the first game– packed into a relatively tame but good-looking point ‘n’ click adventure game. No more immature sex jokes, only humour that knows its place and the importance of timing in delivery. No more super spies, only mob enforcers. No more Joshua… thank all deities.
Also, no more bad voice acting. Almost the entire cast was replaced with people who can act, all this to put a larger emphasis on the more serious tone. This realism is also present in the scenery: the jungles and military bases are replaced with more everyday locations like alleyways, an asylum, or a cabin in the woods (where you conduct a rather normal investigation into a murder case).
The puzzles are less Gabriel Knight 3 and more Broken Sword 1. Everything you do follows point ‘n’ click logic, but it does have logic and structure. Essentially, Runaway 3 was changed into an average adventure game that doesn’t really do much to stand out, but it also means it stopped being the colourful, annoying clown that probably hurt the good name of this genre more than it helped.
"Totally brings back the TWIST of fate of the trilogy."
Runaway: A Twist of Fate is a classic point n' click game and the third and final installment of the Runaway Trilogy. After a big disappointment to Runaway - Dream of the Turtle, Twist of Fate brings back the mystery and action that Runaway - A Road Adventure had. The graphics and art have been improved and cinematics are much much better than the first two. Twist of Fate makes up for the fails of Dream of the Turtle.
With Dream of the Turtle leaving the players hanging at the end, Twist of Fate answers the questions that were left in Dream of the Turtle. Giving Twist of Fate two key epilogues: Dream of the Turtle ending and the Twist of Fate finale. Twist of Fate is not entirely dependent on Dream of the Turtle since key events in Dream of the Turtle are well explained in Twist of Fate as a flashback. That's why there isn't much a need to play Dream of the Turtle before playing Twist of Fate but I higly recommend that players should play the first installment, Runaway - A Road Adventure.
Twist of Fate maybe considered as the best among the three since the story plot keeps the player begging for more information on how Brian ended up in that certain situation. WIth a lot of question marks at the beginning, players will be clicking their way to know more. Whenever you get stuck, Twist of Fate has two assisting features: An animated guide and the hotspot displayer. With such features, players won't likely to get frustrated whenever they get stuck on a certain chapter.
Since this one's quite an old game, I recommend it to players that they should buy this when it gets on sale. It's still an Instant Pendulo Studios Classic.
Third part of the Runaway trilogy is a good classic point&click adventure, the best of the series. All irritating flaws of the precedessors have been corrected which makes all the puzzles logical and solvable upon thinking. The game is fairly short (almost 2 of the hours of my gameplay were in fact idle), but fun. Plot is ok, drawings are a bit worse than in the Road Adventure. Humour is the same, which means quite poor jokes based on stereotypes (mentally ill patients, stupid marine and such). For fans of the genre - definitely 'yes'. For others 'if you have free time'.
3 people found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
17.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 31, 2017
Honestly, I'm glad I stuck through to finishing this series, I'm so glad that they made up for what the previous games lacked and then some. They were definitely aware of how badly structured the 2nd one was lmao there were a bunch of jokes about how poor it was here and there. They definitely listened to their consumers. This instantly became my fav of the whole series, it's really well made for me. I'm super happy they fixed where the plot was going and steered it to a better direction.
Pros: > They cleaned up the character models and visual art---now it looks sleek, finished and it could very well contend with more current/modern point and click games >>> I just really love how the environments look now, it's so pleasing to the eyes and they definitely played with panning locations and rooms having more than one angle > Gina and Brian finally get the character writing they both deserve and they have lovelier voices AND dialogue to boot > In-game hint system and hotspot/location viewer! No more getting lost, not knowing where to click or not knowing what to do! > The story definitely has more backbone and adventure into it now, it feels more Broken Sword than Sam & Max now (I loved Sam & Max and silliness worked tons better for them than for Runaway) > Love the silly meta jokes when you hover over things
Cons: > The save system is still pretty adamant about having a slot for every save you make instead of opting to replace an older save > I still do kinda prefer first game's nerdy I-just-wanna-go-to-Berkley Brian