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February 20, 2009

Emerald City Confidential

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — inky @ 8:30 pm

I saw Emerald City Confidential on Jay is Games and hey, adventure game, so I grabbed the demo. Obviously you can only judge so much about a game from an hour of play, but a couple points:

  • I am generally in favor of genre mash-ups and this is pretty good. But so are there any mash-ups that take genres and lighten them? Or is it always noiring it up?
  • I realize that conversations in adventure games are basically always the illusion of choice, that nothing you pick from a conversation menu makes any difference in the flow of the game. But isn’t it kind of rubbing it in to have the first menu in the game have three choices, of which two say “oh, you can’t actually do that”, and then the third pushes the plot along .. to a point at which you do the first choice you weren’t allowed to do before.
  • Glinda the Good Witch is supposed to look exactly like Sarah Palin, right? Can she see the Kingdom of Ix from her house?
  • Like I said, I am in favor of the story and setting, but it is weird to me that all the people you run into in the game are existing Oz folks. Like, yeah, you want to see your favorite characters, but the whole essence of noir is the faceless, uncaring city — how does all the crime and smuggling go on when everybody knows everybody else? (It is within the realm of possibility that the whole society is an unstable construct maintained only by Ozma’s abuse of the wishing belt, but if so, I didn’t play far enough to tell)
  • The protagonist seems like a really incompetent detective, but I can’t tell if that’s on purpose or not. Like, she brings all her evidence with her to confront the bad guy at the old warehouse, then is surprised when he steals it. Or she confronts this smuggler saying “HEY I KNOW YOU’RE A SMUGGLER” and then tries repeatedly to get him to admit it.
  • The art is pretty decent for an indie game, but what the heck is with the sound? Or maybe it was just on my setup that it cut out every fifth word.
  • You can tell this is a casual game because it gives you achievements all the time for doing stuff you were going to do anyway.

So, ok, overall I wasn’t thrilled enough to buy the game, but I can see someone doing so if they’re mostly a story person and not a game design person.

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