on April 17, 2013
I was very intrigued with the story line of the game. What disappointed me about the game was that the movement was slow and delayed. The audio, music, and graphics were fine. The game movement was very slow, like playing a game that's constantly freezing up. I re-downloaded it and re-installed it, but I am guessing that maybe the file itself was bad by default. Maybe that's the way they designed it to be, but I doubt it, it had to be a problem with the download. If anyone else has experienced something like this and maybe knows what can fix it, please let me know.
on March 31, 2014
When I first started the game, I had no idea what to expect. Would this be a mindless shooter, a la Postal? Would it be something a little subtler and more cunning, like the Hitman series? After playing through several levels, my impression started leaning heavily towards the latter, and I simply could not hit the "Quit Game" button before fully satiating the murderous appetite of the silent antichristagonist, Lucius.
Although I did completely enjoy the game, there were some disappointing areas that I'll talk about through the course of this review.
PLOT (C): The plot is something straight out of classic Satanic horror movies of the 1970's (namely, "The Omen", and the setting of the game clearly reflects this). You play 6-year-old Lucius, a boy born into an extremely wealthy family, son to a house making mom and a successful Senator. Your one purpose in life is to apparently reap souls for Lucifer, and it seems that the souls are sweeter when you don't say a word harvesting them. Meanwhile, as you kill the hired help around the mansion, your family and the mysterious circumstances around them draw increasing attention from a detective down from the precinct. The meat of the story is set up within the first couple levels of the game. While the plot progresses at a rather broken pace throughout the game, you'll probably be left with more questions than answers at the conclusion. But let's be honest, the story is just a rather passive passenger in the backseat to the actual driver of the game, which is the gruesome gameplay itself.
VISUALS (A) : When I loaded up the game for the first time, I could not believe I was playing the debut game of small-sized studio Shiver Games. Everything is crisp and clear. Character models are astounding, both with the sheer level of detail as well as the way they move. Every last graphical element is fully-fleshed out in Lucius. The colorful, sometimes bright, world contrasts nicely with the bleak and grotesque theme of the game. These might not be modified Skyrim or Cyrsis-level graphics, but they are definitely more than what you'd expect from a game like this.
SOUND (A): I give the sound a high score because of how the developers complemented the visually stunning mansion with some amazing songs and voice acting. The soundtrack is very high quality and better than that of most modern horror movies. It certainly helps create this chilling and tense mood as you set about to complete your task for the day. The voice acting was rather good for a game made on presumably a lower budget.
GAMEPLAY (B-): As I said before, the game itself was highly addicting. But I'm not sure how much of that was due to the gameplay, and how much was due to the setting and psychological exploration through not only the characters but also myself. The game takes place over the span of several months, and is told through individual days in Lucius' life, and it unfolds as a rather linear puzzle-solver with limited hints provided. It's up to you to find the tools you need, and then figure out how to use them to rid yourself of the next annoying assistant in the house. Your target for the day is provided to you in your journal, which also sometimes gives you some clues as to what to do next, although the quality of these clues is extremely inconsistent (sometimes you have an absolutely clear picture of what you must do. Other times, it just introduces the target and leaves you to figure out the rest). There is a map function available, but this oftentimes only leads you to the target him/herself, letting you search for objects which could be in the same room or which might be on another side of the manor altogether. I'm not going to lie, I did have to resort to a walkthrough on more than one occasion to figure out what my next step should be. As you do chores for your mother, Nancy, you can unlock special items (one of which is a Ouija board), which will help guide you in the right direction as to what you need to accomplish your task. Regardless of the difficulties I faced while figuring out where to put my screwdriver, it was always rewarding at the end to get that cutscene of a unique murder most foul.
As you progress through the game, you unlock special powers, such as telekinesis, mind control, and even combustion. These powers act more or less like the tools you need to solve the puzzle, and unfortunately there isn't much opportunity to use them for much else. They "level up" as you play through the game, but this doesn't really matter much as there are only specific instances in the game where you need to use them, and you'll always have the appropriate level skill for those instances.
Finally, the save system is extremely simplistic and may leave some desiring more. Essentially, it saves automatically at the beginning of each new level (HINT: Those little intermissions with Father are NOT the checkpoints, make sure you see Lucius waking up the next day before you quit!). Although this caused a problem for me once or twice, once I figured out when it saves, it stopped being an issue altogether. The missions are all extremely short (10-20 minutes each for your first time through, more if you get stuck trying to find the last piece of the puzzle), and the one or two "stealth" missions that would cause the most woe are most easily lost in the very beginning, anyway. Long story short, it was never a deal breaker that I couldn't save. When I had to retry, I already knew what I had to do up to the point at which I lost, and it would take far less time than it originally did to get to that point again.
REPLAYABILITY (F): Unfortunately, I must conclude this review on a pretty bad note... The game was awesome, and I really did enjoy it..... buuuuut... unless you're a hardcore achievement hunter (there are achievements for the game on Steam), there isn't really much motive to play through it again. The game is the definition of linear, and although you might have fun trying to shoot different people on certain levels, there isn't really much freedom to just do what you want to do and kill people how you want to kill them.
I beat the game within 5 hours on my first playthough. It was fun. But the main appeal behind rigging the murder and then watching the victims eat dirt at my childish hands has more or less vanished now that I've seen it all. It's sort of like the show 1000 Ways to Die: You don't want to watch an episode again, unless you've maybe got a friend over and he hasn't seen it yet.
Overall, I do think it's a great game with a lot of artistic value. For the price point, it may be fairly hard to justify, though. If you like classic horror movies, like games like Manhunt and Hitman, or just want to see what it's like to live the life of a sociopathic child, then this game could be worth it for full price. Otherwise, I recommend waiting until it's on sale. Either way, pick it up when you get a chance, and you won't be disappointed.