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Switcheroo ergo Alter Ego?
on 8 July 2012
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this game, many other reviewers here have stated that the game's pacing is rather slow and the story convaluted but I didn't see it this way. I felt that the pacing was spot on for me, I've been an adventure games enthusiast for more years than I care to remember and herein lies the potential problem for many of today's gamers, this is old school adventuring ethos at its best. The game has an absorbing dark storyline with many twists and turns along the way. Yes, it can be a little predictable in places particularly towards the end of the game where there is a feeling that the writer's perhaps struggled to tie up all the loose ends into a cohesive spectacle but the unsettling ending more than makes up for that.
If I had to choose one thing about this game that elevates it above most other modern third person Adventure titles it would undoubtedly be the character development. Ok the Poirot-esque nuances of Detective Sergeant Briscoll are nothing new but his so called 'Alter Ego' character Timothy Moor is nothing less than a revelation. Timothy or 'Tim' is very much an anti-hero he's been a petty criminal for the majority of his life, he's lazy, vindictive and manipulative. He will do pretty much anything to save his own skin but he is compassionate. I guess what I'm trying to say here is he's a very believable character and you will sympathise with the guy's torment.
The gameplay itself is solid. At no time did the puzzles seem illogical as it can do with some of the more contemporary Adventure titles we've seen recently (see Runaway trilogy) and it is very rare you will be stuck for very long. Where you might struggle is with some of the dreaded pixel hunting occasions which can be frustrating at times e.g. there is a scene where you have to ring a bell to get the attention of a household. Unfortunately the bell is miniscule and tenuous at best. The gameplay mechanics do in fact look a bit jaded and the introduction of a 'hot-spot indicator' would have done wonders here as would a 'hints' icon. Many newer adventurers may find the fact that the gameplay system which is almost the same as the developer's other big title The 'Black Mirror' a turn-off as it is antiquated.
However the dark and gloomy pre-rendered backgrounds are gorgeous and they help to convey the image of a bleak 19th century Plymouth well. The sound is good and can be very eery although it is not the game's strong point by any means, the character models are ok if a bit basic.
Overall I would definitely recommend this game on its story alone, I find it more difficult these days to start a game and finish it but this one had me hooked, the atmosphere, the twists and turns and the characters made for a gripping and uneasy tale. A decent adventure title that is well worth a look. There is definitely plenty to go at here. I clocked this game at well over 14 hours, which is pretty good for any third person Adventure game.