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Indigo Prophecy Review
developer: Quantic Dream
genre: Action Adventure
PIII 800, 256MB RAM, 2GB HDD, 32MB video card
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Sep 26, 05 (released)
|» All About Indigo Prophecy on ActionTrip|
Conventional wisdom tells us that a musings of a Russian novelist in the 19th century would have absolutely nothing to do with a modern day video game, and yet, the writings of Fyodor Dostoyevsky are perfectly applicable to the design logic and the inherent differences between Russian and French game developers of today. In short, Dostoyevsky had this notion about the French that they are more worried about form than substance and that this is evident in their work while the Russians usually do things the other way around. Now if you look at how Russian game developers design their games and how the French do it, it becomes pretty damn obvious that there was some truth to Dostoyevsky's logic. Usually, Russian games will enthrall you with their basic gameplay while woefully lacking in style - something that the French developers have in abundance. You need examples? UbiSoft's XIII is a perfect example of style over gameplay. Then there's the Indigo Prophecy (or Fahrenheit as it's known in Europe). The game oozes with a unique style and undisputable quality and yet, the basic gameplay, stripped of all the layers of narrative, characterization and choreographed action sequences, might leave something to be desired.
And you tell me she doesn't look like Mrs. Jolie.
This is bloody hilarious! Check out Lucas' emotional state!!
Now let's get a bit more specific.
As compelling and immersive game worlds go, there are very few developers that can compete with Quantic Dream, the French team behind the innovative action-adventure Omikron. Their latest project, Indigo Prophecy, is no exception. It's hard to pigeonhole this game into any specific genre. The best that I can come up with is that the game offers a unique twist on the action-adventure genre while also managing to play as an interactive movie with non-linear plot elements. The player is cast in the role of... well, the player is not cast in any single role; the story is played from all possible angles. Naturally, you are cast in the role of the main character, Lucas Kane. But then you will also play as Carla Valenti, the sexy female detective, and her partner, a black dude named Tyler Miles, as well as the villain himself.
The story itself is as immersive and suspenseful as stories in video games get. From the time you find yourself in the role of an unlikely murderer, to the time when all the pieces of the puzzles start falling into place, you will be absolutely enveloped by the story, paying no attention to real-life time as you delve deeper into the world of Indigo Prophecy. In that regard, the game does a superb job. The story features a mix of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi elements. While being a hard pill to swallow for any writer, the Indigo Prophecy script manages to fuse these elements into an engrossing plot that has its mature moments, its "teen movie" shots of the scantly clothed Carla, as well as sex scenes featuring nudity. Yes nudity. For those of you under the mental age of 16, I'll wait until you stop giggling uncontrollably (and PLEASE, for the love of GOD stop touching yourselves. - Six). Fortunately, the nude scenes are done in a very mature and professional manner, adding more to the sense of immersion and strengthening your emotional bond with the characters, and are not gratuitous. Granted, since Indigo Prophecy is trying its very best to emulate the cinematic experience of good movies, it does somewhat fail to present the evolution of the main characters' relationship in a natural manner, but I really shouldn't be too nitpicky. As far as video games are concerned, this is about as cinematic and well told as stories get.
In addition, Quantic Dream does a fantastic job of not only placing you in difficult situations where you are put under some psychological pressure, but also in creating an environment for the player that is so believable, that a vision you see in the bathroom mirror while washing your face may actually scare you like you *are* the character leaning over the bathroom sink.
This is more than enough reason for any true aficionado of great story-driven video games to play Indigo Prophecy. So where does the game go wrong then? Why tell that little story in the opening paragraph?
Just a friendly game of b-ball...
Say ten Hail Marys and I'll talk to you later.
I believe the answer lies in the core gameplay itself. Those of you who have played the demo, noticed how cool it was that you could have the plot elements altered by how much you paid attention to detail or used common sense. You could mop the blood off the floor tiles and move the body so that the cop that comes in the toilet after you leave would take a while longer to discover the body - giving you more time to get the hell out of Dodge of course. Or you could've just left the body there, as well as the murder weapon, and gotten out, making the job of the detective coming in later to investigate the crime scene that much easier. The game takes off in the right direction. After the murder in the diner, the sexy detective Carla Valenti (who just happens to be the spitting image of Angelina Jolie; the likeness is truly uncanny and certainly not a coincidence), comes into the diner to investigate the scene of the murder. The more evidence you uncover at the diner, the easier it will be to make the connection between the murder and our main hero, Lucas Kane, later on in the game. This is something I really liked about Indigo Prophecy. However, as you progress further, the "action" scenes play an increasingly bigger role, and make up for most of the actual gaming. Now these "action" scenes are really just arcadish mini-games, tailored for the gamepad and not exciting to play. While the way that they are implemented does increase the tension that the player feels under pressure (trying to get the right button sequence while dramatic scenes of real-time combat play out on screen), after a while the whole thing gets rather annoying. You are playing a fantastically advanced video game in terms of the storyline and the cinematic value while the majority of the gameplay elements come down to nothing more than a Space Invaders-like twitch-reflex button mashing. The puzzle-oriented gameplay and exploration that is the trademark of good adventure games takes a back seat in favor of the simplistic action sequences that do
8.4 Very Good
Fantastic story, characters, cinematic experience, immersion factor, voice acting, superb soundtrack;
Too much focus gameplay-wise on repetitive and simplistic action sequences, awkward controls if you are a PC gamer, camera issues.