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Daedalic Entertainment

Review: Blackguards 2

Feb 15 // Darren Nakamura
Blackguards 2 (Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic EntertainmentReleased: January 20, 2015MSRP: $34.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Blackguards 2 follows the story of Cassia, a noble woman who is cast out by her power-hungry husband, left to rot in a dungeon. After she escapes, she goes on a quest to oust her husband from the throne. Though it feels like revenge is her main motive, she recoils at the suggestion. It is up to the player to determine exactly what her motive is. Although there is a clear beginning and end to Cassia's story, choice plays a big role in the path between, and can have substantial effects on where everything ends up. In the beginning, I had intended to play as I normally do in choice-driven narratives: making snap decisions in the moment, but leaning more toward good than evil. To my chagrin, as the story progressed and my band of mercenaries made its way ever closer to the capital city Mengbilla, public opinion of Cassia deteriorated from the righteous liberator who the people supported to the treacherous usurper who needed to be repelled. It felt reminiscent of the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, where politics and public opinion are just as important as character builds and tactical battlefield prowess. It serves as a great example for explaining villainy in a way that is relatable to regular people, without obvious good vs. evil ideas. Not once during my campaign to take back the throne did I feel I did anything unjust, but only at the end when I found myself fighting against common folk in addition to royal guards and monstrous creatures did I realize that I had become that which I had been trying to rise against. [embed]287404:57242:0[/embed] The kicker is it is entirely possible to go through without becoming a villain (I think). Depending on a few key choices, Cassia and her companions may be loved by the people, and perhaps even welcomed. It turns out that taking over a realm while remaining righteous is pretty difficult. By sparing the lives of enemy leaders and showing compassion to friends, not only does the narrative reflect that, but the final battles become tougher. The difficulty spike at the end is especially noticeable because most of the battles throughout are fairly easy for those who have a modicum of tactical sense. There are a few interesting boss battles that add light puzzle elements to contend with, but for the most part, difficulty stems from Blackguards 2's unwillingness to provide important information. Often, this takes the form of interactive objects on the battlefield whose functions aren't always clear. (What happens when I use this thing? Oh, a chandelier falls on three of my units and immediately takes them out of the battle permanently.) While those instances are minor infractions that are easy to learn from, the worse offenders are the battles with "gotcha" moments. Too many battles start with certain conditions shown, then only reveal their true nature after the player has already planned and committed forces to certain areas. It's the kind of inelegant difficulty that can be impossible the first time through, but then negligible once the trick is known. The general unfriendliness of the interface extends to what should be mundane aspects of a strategy game. Expected damage is not explicitly shown, so taking out a weak enemy may result in wasted actions if that enemy has armor or resistance, or wasted astral energy or stamina for an attack more powerful than was necessary. There is a line of sight predictor for ranged units, but it doesn't work for magic users carrying melee weapons. Sometimes the camera doesn't track the action well and the battle log disappears too quickly to easily discern what happened. Underneath it all, there is a competent tactical combat engine. On a turn, a unit can move and then spend one more action (which can also be movement). One neat thing is the wait ability: units with higher initiative can choose to wait and take actions at the end of a round of combat. This can set up a few useful strategies, like forcing an enemy to take the first hit in a duel or allowing high initiative units essentially two turns in a row. Though it was a buggy mess at launch, Blackguards 2 is competent in its current state. When it released, it had freezing bugs that set back progress. One of the patches moved where save files are stored without mentioning it or moving the old files, making it look like everything was lost. Even after the recent patches that have fixed the major issues, I have seen some ability text show up in German, so Daedalic's efforts to fix everything don't inspire too much confidence. That said, most of the major stability issues have been addressed. Blackguards 2 as it exists today is much more tolerable than it was three weeks ago. The aesthetic design is serviceable, but not outstanding. The world of Blackguards 2 is a standard medieval fantasy setting, with swords, dwarves, magic, and dragons. The soundtrack matches the setting: adequate at conveying the tenseness of combat but not especially memorable. Voice work can be a little cheesy, but is generally well done. Blackguards 2 scratches the tactical RPG itch just fine, though the battles do become tedious near the end. It certainly doesn't welcome new players with open arms, but veterans will view its opacity as a minor issue to work around. Its greatest strength is the surprisingly poignant narrative about the muddy area between good and evil. I almost want to play through again to see how different choices will affect the later battles and the story's conclusion, but at 25-30 hours for one playthrough and combat that wears thin toward the end, it is just long enough for me to shy away from that idea. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Blackguards 2 review photo
A tangled web we weave
A few weeks ago, I called Blackguards 2 "deep, unfriendly, and buggy." I had put several hours into the tactical role-playing game, but hadn't seen enough of the story to comfortably put out a review. Fast forward to today, a...

Kawaiilence photo
Kawaiilence

Silence is coming to PS4...an adventure game, not the lack of sound


Kawaiilence
Jan 28
// Steven Hansen
Adventure game developer Daedalic's latest effort is getting all gussied up and 3D looking. Silence: The Whispered World 2, sequel to 2010's The Whispered World is coming to PC, Mac, and Linux early 2015 and was re...
Blackguards 2 photo
Blackguards 2

Blackguards 2 is deep, unfriendly, and buggy


First impressions
Jan 20
// Darren Nakamura
Last year Patrick reviewed PC strategy role-playing game Blackguards, and he loved it. Blackguards 2 is out on Steam today. I have put about a dozen hours into the sequel, but I am not even close to the point where I can...

1954 Alcatraz photo
1954 Alcatraz

Here's some new screenshots for 1954: Alcatraz


Daedelic's upcoming adventure game will take place in the infamous prison
Nov 04
// Alasdair Duncan
Alcatraz -- has there been a more infamous prison? Immortalized in movies from the likes of Point Break to The Rock, the Bay Area's notorious penitentiary hasn't featured in too many games, so it's exciting to see screenshots...

Learning to be bad with Blackguards

Oct 19 // Fraser Brown
Blackguards (PC)Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic EntertainmentRelease: January 2014 Outside of Germany, many won't be familiar with the Dark Eye setting that Blackguards exists in. It's a popular tabletop franchise in its homeland, but most of my knowledge of it comes from the adventure games Chains of Satinav and Memoria. With Blackguards, Daedalic is crafting a game more representative of the source material, with a fully-fledged role-playing system and party-based combat. At first glance, I assumed that I'd be seeing battles reminiscent of the likes of Heroes of Might and Magic or Kings Bounty, but such comparisons are superficial at best. In fact, beyond the hex grid, they are entirely different beasts. Each conflict, the result of a story quest or one of the many side quests dotted around the vast map, gives players control over their party of anti-heroes, each with their own class and unique abilities. The lecherous mage can cast all manner of elemental attacks, the unfriendly dwarf likes to wade into the thick of battle, and what the protagonist does is really dependent on the class you chose at the start. Character actions are selected via a radial menu, but abilities and items can also be tied to a specific hotkey. Strategies are easier to plan out thanks to the turn order that's clearly listed on the screen, so you know who's going next and can act accordingly. The maps are elaborate creations, bringing back fond memories of the criminally forgotten Temple of Elemental Evil, rather than straightforward arenas. They run the gamut from bleak tombs filled with the restless dead to lush, tropical coasts infested with rum-drinking pirates, and none of the scenarios I sat through was like another.  Environments are both weapons and obstacles, and experimentation is needed to reveal how they can be manipulated or what dangers they hold. Deep underground in a twisting, winding cavern, the party finds themselves beset by hideous giant insects; they are many, while the adventurers are few. Above the scuffle are huge, sharp stalactites, initially appearing to be mere window dressing. The fight begins as one would expect, with the anti-heroes and insects trading blows. A powerful attack causes one of the creepy crawlies to emit a high-pitched shriek, and the cavern trembles, freeing a stalactite from the ceiling. It crashes to the ground, damaging insect and adventurer alike. With the knowledge that high-pitched noises can bring down the ceiling, players would be able to use that information to make the battle easier -- as long as they manage to properly position their party members out of the way. Enemies are just as capable of exploiting objects and terrain. The party finds itself at the site of an execution. The scenario is an optional quest, where a woman is about to be hanged by some rather horrible chaps. The lecherous mage has a soft spot for the prisoner, and has requested that his chums assist him in freeing her. It's a timed battle, and should the anti-heroes fail, they must live with that. So it's not only optional, it's possible to screw up and carry on playing. The guards spot the heavily armed party, and quickly topple some crates at the entrance to the execution site. Though a fairly minor obstacle, the crates do cost the party one turn as they find themselves unable to move forward, and the guards get the upper hand. One of the crates gets set on fire, destroying it, and the fire spreads to the rest, even damaging one of the guards. The tables turn once more. Other scenarios have traps, puzzles and objectives that require players to do more than simply kill all the enemies on the map. In another side quest, a woman requests the party's assistance in finding her lost monkey. It can be brought back dead or alive -- which seemed odd, until the monkey is revealed to be a giant killer gorilla. It's a challenging battle, should an attempt be made on its life, but even more difficult is bringing it back alive. A huge cage must be positioned over the beast and then dropped at the right time, requiring multiple party members to interact with levers, leaving the other adventurers as vulnerable bait. The vices of certain party members can even become obstacles. In the last series of battles I was shown -- several arena fights, with each one getting harder than the last -- the drug-addicted half-elf poacher has a relapse in her cell. When the fight begins, she's high as a kite and is of no use whatsoever to her allies. While I was thoroughly impressed with the fights, other elements left me a bit disappointed. Towns and settlements, for example, are restricted to one screen and don't appear to offer any room for exploration -- they are merely quest hubs -- and the small amount of story and dialogue that was shown off made me wish that we were back in a fight. It seemed a tad trite and poorly voice-acted.  It's worth noting, however, that I only saw an hour of the game, and we jumped around between various acts, so nothing I viewed was really representative off the finished product beyond the combat. I wasn't able to get to know any of the characters, and most of the story remains a mystery.  Blackguards is expected to be about 40 hours long, with hundreds of quests, huge maps to explore, a mountain of loot and gear to discover, and a continent to chart -- but even more post-launch content is being planned in the form of a map editor. So you can try to make even more devious battles and then upload them for others to die in, over and over again. Though it was initially planned for a November release, Blackguards has been postponed until January. It seems like a smart move, considering that November will be an insanely busy month with the launch of two new consoles, stealing some of the thunder from any new PC releases. 
Blackguards preview photo
An hour of Daedalic's new RPG
If you've ever wanted to tear across a fantasy realm with a roving band of criminal misfits, you might be able to live out your dream in Daedalic's tactical role-playing game, Blackguards. You might recall that I wasn't parti...

Blackguards cast photo
Blackguards cast

The blackguards are revealed


And they all sound lovely
Sep 20
// Fraser Brown
Daedalic's evil RPG Blackguards sounds like a bit of all right, with tactical combat and less than nice protagonists. Now the German developer is finally ready to spill the beans on exactly what's up with these unpleasant fol...

Review: The Dark Eye: Memoria

Sep 09 // Fraser Brown
Memoria (PC)Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic EntertainmentRelease: August 29, 2013MSRP: $19.99Rig: Intel i5-3570K @3.40 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 670, and Windows 7 64-bit Memoria tells two tales, inextricably linked, but separated by almost 500 years. There's the continuation of Geron's story, the unknown and sardonic hero of Andergast, as he attempts to find a way to turn his fairy chum back into her original form after being transformed into a raven. His quest for a cure leads him to a traveling merchant who claims to know a spell that will make Nuri herself again, but there's a price: Geron must answer a riddle. While riddles and adventure games make excellent bed fellows, this is not one that can be solved quickly. Discovering both its meaning and the answer leads Geron to explore the ancient history of his world through dreams, journals and stories. You see, the solution to the riddle is found in the journey of Memoria's second protagonist: the deposed Princess Sadja. Centuries before Geron was even born, Sadja travelled from her land, across swamps, forests and mountains to reach the site of an upcoming battle between holy orders and a demonic horde. Her goal? To become a legend. Unfortunately, she failed to be remembered by but a few individuals and her story was unfinished, waiting to be completed by a simple bird-catcher turned unwitting hero hundreds of years later. Splitting the game between Geron and Sadja allows Memoria to spin multiple, equally interesting but extremely different yarns. Geron's plight is more immediate and smaller in scale, while Sadja's adventure is a world-spanning epic, a tale of gods, elemental forces, and the potential end of the world. Memoria jumps between them, and they transition seamlessly as Geron discovers more about Sadja's life. Though Sadja is under player control for her portions of the game, Memoria manages to retain the feeling that we are learning about her second-hand. It is in one of the later acts where this used to the greatest effect. Geron is reading a diary written by an elemental mage who met Sadja, and because of this, the player is unable to hear certain conversations or witness everything that she does, because the author was similarly limited.  While both protagonists are well written, it is Sadja who steals the show. Where Geron is slightly bumbling and mopey, Sadja is strong-willed, competent, and adventurous. Both characters, like everyone in Memoria, are flawed, but if you needed to choose a companion to join you on a dangerous adventure, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better ally than the Princess. Geron also perpetually sounds like he's waking up from a very deep sleep, which grates on the nerves within five minutes. The voice acting, in general, is pretty uneven (occasionally not even reflecting the text, or being in German in one instance), though it falls somewhere in the middle when compared to Daedalic's other adventures. Better than the abysmal A New Beginning, but not nearly as proficient as The Night of the Rabbit. Again, it is Sadja who stands above the rest, as her voice actor puts in the best performance, closely followed by her sarcastic, talking magical staff. Though Bryda, the novice wizard and ally of Geron, is also well-performed and well-written, helping to make her a significantly more interesting character than her bird-catching pal.  Adventure games have a history of creating likable, compelling female characters, and Memoria certainly continues this. Even Nuri, who spends most of the game a victim, is more competently crafted and fleshed out than the lassies found in so many other titles. Not only does she help to make Geron a more sympathetic character, as we look more favorably on him for spending the entire adventure trying to help her, her internal struggle to retain her fairy-self in the face of her new raven identity drives players to root for her. It's Memoria's phenomenal puzzles that really make Daedalic's latest title stand out from the crowd, however. I'll be the first to admit that 20 years of devouring adventure games has made me a bugger to please, setting my expectations high and rarely being satisfied. But barring a couple of obtuse or pointless puzzles, most notably a forest maze that can actually be skipped, Daedalic has struck a balance between taxing even veteran adventure gamers' brains and keeping solutions logical. Fiddly inventory management is nowhere to be seen, as only a few items will grace your inventory at any one time, and when they need to be combined, it makes perfect sense and there are usually some sort of dialogue hints, and the focus is, instead, on creativity and experimentation. Magic plays a large role in solving puzzles, with both Geron and Sadja employing several spells. The most inventive is probably Sadja's "send vision" ability, where she is able to place images of items in the scene into the mind of another character, subtly bending them to her will. The diversity of their magical repertoire means that no one spell outstays its welcome, and they are often used in unexpected ways. Memoria's greatest achievement when it comes to its puzzles is that there's both a constant sense of progression and a pay-off for almost every interaction. A good puzzle shouldn't just have players scratching their noggins, it should leave them with a sense of accomplishment. Using a gargantuan stone statue to rip out a door, allowing Sadja to escape from a stone tomb; reading the thoughts of petrified villagers to create the final part of an arcane ritual; getting revenge on a murderous, cruel one-time-ally with a new spell -- these were all tricky puzzles requiring clever use of the game's tools, and there was a visual and emotional pay-off. More than just striking a balance between difficulty and rewarding success, Memoria also throws some surprisingly modern, helpful features into the mix that ease some of the frustration inherent in the genre. Pressing the spacebar, for example, reveals every single point of interaction on the screen. Equally convenient is the feature that assists adventurers during the occasional item combination puzzle, making it easier to discern which items can be combined.  Don't let all of this trick you into believing that this makes the adventure leisurely, however. I found myself thoroughly stumped on more than one occasion, leaving the game for a while so I could go and clear my thoughts, hoping that putting distance between myself and the game would inspire the solution that eluded me.  And joy of joys, I had to take notes. If you've had the misfortune to read many of my other adventure game reviews, you'll know that I'm a big fan of slumming it with pen and paper. When a game inspires me to doodle arcane symbols in a notepad, I know I'm in heaven.   You'll undoubtedly be spending quite a bit of time staring at the same screens, so it's a good thing that Memoria is sumptuous. The exquisitely detailed backgrounds are jaw-droppingly beautiful -- genuine works of art, really -- and the art style is taken full advantage of with the fantastical locales the game sends its adventurers too. Lush, wild forests, thick with mist; towering arcane cities, floating above vast mountain ranges; dirty, vibrant settlements, full of life -- it's a simply stunning game.  The only point where I found myself less than enamored with the art was in the, admittedly, few instances where scenes would switch to focus on a character's face. Terrible lip-syncing and the dissonance between how characters appear from a distance compared to how they are painted close up were unwelcome, but these scenes happen so infrequently that it never becomes a serious problem. The well-realized fantasy world, high-stakes adventure, empathetic characters, and remarkably well designed puzzles combine to make Memoria an extremely memorable game. This is Daedalic finally perfecting its formula, producing a title with imagination and ambition backed up by solid mechanics and a captivating, cohesive story.  Even though Sadja's tale is wrapped up by the end of the journey, there's plenty of room left for more adventures in the Dark Eye setting. I can only hope that Daedalic's next installment continues to build on what they've managed to achieve here. 
Memoria review photo
Riddle me this
Daedalic Entertainment, prolific crafter of many a point-and-click adventure, has returned to the world of Aventuria, continuing the yarn spun in last year's Chains of Satinav, a gorgeous, but slightly uneven game with that d...

Blackguards beta photo
Blackguards beta

Evil RPG Blackguards' closed beta starts next week


Save the world by being a bastard
Aug 30
// Fraser Brown
With Daedalic's peculiar turn-based RPG Blackguards getting closer to release, the developer is opening the doors to beta testers interested in fighting evil with evil. Set in the same universe as Memoria (which I'm already i...
Memoria trailer photo
Memoria trailer

Trailer for mythic adventure game Memoria looks gorgeous


Memoria mia
Jun 26
// Steven Hansen
Memoria looks beautiful so it makes sense it comes from Daedalic Entertainment. Its recently released point-click adventure The Night of the Rabbit was absolutely beautiful and, according to our resident adventure game afici...

Review: The Night of the Rabbit

May 29 // Fraser Brown
The Night of the Rabbit (Mac, PC [Reviewed])Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic Entertainment Released: May 29, 2013 (US / EU)MSRP: $19.99Rig: Intel i5-3570K @3.40 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 670, and Windows 7 64-bit   The adorably named Jerry Hazelnut, amateur magician and adventurer, has only two days before his summer holidays end and he's thrust back into the grey world of chalk and nagging teachers. Luckily, he's whisked away from his simple life by a magical talking rabbit who would probably be right at home in a Tardis, and he soon becomes a magician's apprentice in a realm populated by curious wood-dwelling critters. If this all sounds like the synopsis of a children's book, then you've probably read at least one. It does manage to avoid being too cloyingly sentimental or twee, however, and like all good children's stories --  like The Hobbit or Watership Down -- there's some darkness in the mix involving a foul plan to put an end to magical jaunts, and some rather unfriendly crows. Jerry is a welcome change from the often sarcastic kleptomaniacs that always seem to find themselves the protagonists of adventure games. He's a sincere, somewhat naive, good-natured little fellow, and his voice actor does such a sterling job that I find myself hating child actors just a little bit less. In fact, the voice acting in The Night of the Rabbit is, across the board, absolutely wonderful. Daedalic's games are normally a mixed bag in this regard, but I have no complaints this time around. It's not just the professional quality, either; the dialogue is simply fun to listen to. The delivery is well thought out and properly directed, for a change, and frequently elevates the script and the occasional gag that doesn't really work. There's plenty of time to enjoy the voice acting, as The Night of the Rabbit is a hefty adventure. Not only is it Daedalic's biggest game, it's large by any standard, filled to the brim with oodles of wit and charm, and has no dearth of incredibly detailed, picturesque areas. And most importantly, it's chock-full of all manner of puzzles, from physical conundrums requiring environmental manipulation to tricky riddles, from classic inventory fiddling to the creation of potions. Unfortunately, many of these puzzles are rendered frustrating by the arbitrary order in which they must be performed. Exploring Mousewood and the other, smaller worlds connected to it by portal trees is a delight. But when you're wandering around aimlessly, trying to figure out why you can't finish a puzzle you've clearly figured out the solution to, the gorgeous, verdant forest becomes an uncaring prison, and its comically animated, charismatic denizens become mocking jailers. I'm a big supporter of challenging puzzles and brain teasers that go beyond simply combining a couple of random items in one's inventory, but The Night of the Rabbit adds too many layers of obfuscation by throwing puzzle after puzzle at the player, not once hinting that there's a particular order to them. Thank goodness there's at least a journal to keep track of them all. Frequently, I'd find myself completely stumped by what seemed like a fairly simple problem, having exhausted all logical solutions. I'd wander around randomly clicking on things in hopes that I'd suddenly be struck by inspiration or just have a bout of luck. But then, after completely giving up, I'd find a key item or new area by solving an entirely unrelated puzzle, and suddenly I'd be able to solve the previous one. So the game often devolves into starting and stopping puzzles because there's an order most of them need to be completed in, but it's rarely a logical order. It doesn't help matters when the hint system is a gigantic waste of time. Jerry can summon an image of his mentor, the aforementioned Whovian rabbit, the Marquis de Hoto, to guide him on his adventure, but all the old bugger does is repeat the task he'd sent Jerry on. And this, my friends, is why I ended up shouting obscenities at a fictional rabbit. Better hints are provided subtly in conversations, though sometimes they prove too subtle. One such instance pits Jerry against an intolerable, spoiled little mouse who refuses to let the magician's apprentice go down the river without paying a toll, and Jerry notes that the mouse needs a hobby other than collecting tolls, or something to that effect. Now, for a player who hasn't been paying attention, this is a throwaway piece of dialogue. But if they'd noted a particular advertisement and were in possession of a specific object, then the solution actually becomes extremely clear. Some of the puzzles are downright inventive. It's magic -- appropriately -- that saves the day. As Jerry travels through Mousewood and its connected worlds, he learns new puzzle-solving spells. With them, previously mundane objects become solutions, new areas open up, and new ways to interact with the environment appear. Counter-intuitively, the magical solutions are often far more logical -- at least in regards to the strange internal logic of Mousewood -- than the more down-to-earth ones. The first spell Jerry learns is the one most frequently used, though not necessarily to solve puzzles. The stone whisperer spell allows Jerry to listen in on the thoughts of stones and, predominantly, statues. More often than not, this amounts to a line of dialogue that doesn't help the top hat-wearing scamp at all. This is far from a complaint, however; these whispering stones add flavor to the world, being sometimes humorous or occasionally informative, and a few times uttering some quite ominous lines of dialogue. And that's what The Night of the Rabbit does best. There's a strong sense of place, as if the game was based on a piece of fiction full of history. In a sense, it is. Amid the many random extras, such as stickers and a rather uninspired card game that can be played at any time, is a collection of audio books written by Matt Kempke, the brain behind The Night of the Rabbit. These tales from Mousewood are what, in part, inspired the game. Many of The Night of the Rabbit's missteps are problems that the genre has always had, as far back as the LucasArts and Sierra days -- which we gloss over thanks to nostalgia. So, almost forgivable then. But there is one recurring flaw that threatens to mar an experience that I found otherwise -- despite the invisible puzzle order -- rather wonderful. It sometimes steals the sense of satisfaction one derives from solving a puzzle. Criminal! The reward for wracking one's brain for sometimes hours on end is the progression of the game. Usually this takes the form of a new area opening up or moving to a new scene. All too often, The Night of the Rabbit fails to deliver this expected reward. I can almost hear the Marquis de Hoto's voice in my head: "Well done for figuring that one out, Fraser, but wait, the puzzle has suddenly grown into another puzzle. Hadn't you better do something about that?" Bugger off, rabbit.  I reached my lowest point at 2 o'clock in the morning, after spending a good half hour utterly baffled by a particularly obtuse puzzle. Chain smoking cigarettes due to stress had given me a slight cough, and really all I wanted to do was go to bed. But I needed to finish the damn puzzle first. Then lo and behold, I discovered an object with a hidden item inside. Would this be the solution I was looking for? I certainly hoped so, as I embarked on yet another puzzle so I could solve a different one. What was my reward for using my smarts? A bloody playing card, an item that has no real use at all, unless you want to play a mini-game. At this point, I buried my face in a pillow and screamed a long list of colorful curses, including a few that I made up on the spot. Such moments of unbridled rage did not occur frequently, but they did come close to souring the overall experience. Even exceptionally clever puzzles need a proper payoff, and when that's seriously lacking, the impetus to continue starts to disappear. What got me through those instances was the menagerie of woodland critters (and an Alan Moore-inspired forest guardian), the sumptuous art, and the mystery that is slowly teased, but ultimately unravels in a quickly wrapped-up, anti-climactic ending that I could definitely have done without. Yet for all its flaws, The Night of the Rabbit may still be Daedalic's best adventure game. The issues are numerous, but the significant size of the game also offers up a lot of opportunities for it to redeem itself, which it does manage. The Night of the Rabbit still contains all of those classic "ah ha!" moments when you, at long last, cease to be dumbfounded, and the novelty of the magic spells surprisingly doesn't wear off, continuing to be implemented cleverly throughout the long experience. With a lot of patience, you could find yourself having a bloody good time. 
The Night of the Rabbit photo
One of the better summer jobs
I hated and loved in equal measure the end of the summer holidays as a child. My impending return to gloomy classrooms, smudged jotters, and uncomfortable uniforms only made me take advantage of my final days of freedom all t...

The Night of the Rabbit Q&A with Matt Kempke

May 24 // Fraser Brown
The Night of the Rabbit was written by Kempke himself, and its origins go back to when he had just finished working on his earlier indie adventure game, What Makes You Tick: A Stitch in Time. His brother had a few ideas surrounding the adventures of a young boy and a talking white rabbit who travel through a tree and go on fantastical journeys. He thought it would make for an interesting game, but at the time Kempke was beat from finishing his previous game. But the premise had gotten its hooks in him. "In the next weeks slowly but surely my brother’s ideas started spinning around in my head and suddenly the boy and the rabbit had names: Jerry Hazelnut and the Marquis de Hoto." Kempke explains, "And then I wrote down the introductory poem for the game." When he started thinking about where the pair of unlikely adventurers would travel to, he realised that he'd already created the perfect world. "A couple of years earlier I had written a fairy tale book that I never published. It was called “Eight Stories from Mousewood”. That world had characters I loved and that I really wanted to bring to life again. So many of the characters from Mousewood that you find in the game now are actually from these stories – and the stories themselves are also hidden in a wonderfully narrated version in the game as bonus content. If you run into the Woodsprite at night while playing the game, then just ask him about it. Maybe he’ll give you one." Kempke reveals that while his major influences are the classic Lucasarts adventure games, particularly The Curse of Monkey Island, he was also inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. "[I]t was the first game that had introduced me to the idea of different daytimes to explore and there was so much to collect –something that is more common outside the adventure game genre. In our game you can collect quite a lot of things: from audio stories to playing cards to magical dew drops and much more." The rest of the hefty Q&A is over at GOG.com, so go check it out. We'll have a review of The Night of the Rabbit next week, so keep an eye out for that. 
Night of the Rabbit Q&A photo
Alice in Wonderland meets Majora's Mask
GOG.com recently posted a ruddy great big Q&A with The Night of the Rabbit lead designer Matt Kempke, where he revealed the inspiration behind Daedalic's newest adventure game and his design philosophy.  One of the t...

Night of the Rabbit video photo
Night of the Rabbit video

The Night of the Rabbit trailer reveals plenty


A fancy rabbit, a magical hat, and mean crows
May 08
// Fraser Brown
After playing a wee bit last week, I'm pretty excited about Daedalic's The Night of the Rabbit, and even more so after watching the new trailer. I only got to solve puzzles and cast spells in the first sixth of the adventure...

An afternoon with Daedalic's The Night of the Rabbit

May 05 // Fraser Brown
The Night of the Rabbit (Mac, PC [previewed])Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic Entertainment Released: May 29, 2013 With only two days before the end of his summer holiday, Jerry Hazlenut is desperate for one last adventure before he goes back to the world of chalk and blackboards, and an invitation to become apprentice to a large bipedal rabbit magician, the Marquis de Hoto, gives him just the opportunity he was looking for. The Night of the Rabbit is shaping up to be a delightful journey through lavaishly detailed magical realms, and even manages to contain a protagonist who won't drive everyone insane -- unlike Daedalic's The Whispered World. My preview code only gave me a look at the first sixth of the game, following Jeremy from his forest bungalow in the modern world, to the Borrowers- and Redwall-inspired setting of Mousewood. It's an extremely strong start, with logical puzzles, a charismatic gallery of quirky characters, and stunning 2D art. Daedalic is well-known for filling its titles with challenging, sometimes even obtuse puzzles, but the ones in The Night of the Rabbit appear to strike a balance between common sense and quandaries that will leave you scratching your head for a few minutes.  In my short time with the game, I dabbled in riddle-solving, inventory puzzles, and a few conundrums involving a spot of physicality, and found myself more than satisfied with the variety and quality of them. However, even early on I found myself weighed down by trying to solve several puzzles at once, and I did wish that the journal -- which only chronicles the main story -- kept me abreast of the various requests that had been made of me, or the actions I needed to undertake. I don't have the best memory. It wasn't a serious issue, and I always keep a pencil and notepad on my desk when embarking on an adventure -- a holdover from the days when even short adventure games could take days to finish due to obfuscation of trickiness. Hints and encouragement have become popular features in adventure titles of late, and generally I find them to be a bit off-putting and immersion-breaking, so I tend to turn them off, even if it makes the game a bit more difficult. Daedalic has managed to craft such a feature absent these issues, however, and skilfully works it into the game's narrative. Jerry gets two tools to help him solve puzzles. The first is his magical coin, which, when gazed through (it has a hole in the middle) reveals objects hidden by magic, as well as any item or person that he can interact with. I appreciate the way it ties highlighting objects into the narrative, but it's improved even more when it's employed to solve puzzles. The second item is Jerry's wand. The Marquis gifts it to him just after they arrive in Mousewood, and the magical stick allows Jerry to summon his mentor's visage, wherever he may be, and get some advice. In my playthrough, the wand was entirely useless, and all the Marquis did was repeat his initial instructions, though it may become more helpful later on. I played for about two hours before the demo ended, somewhat abruptly, and most of my time was taken up by simple exploration of the absolutely gorgeous world and its many charming characters. I confess that even a grumpy sod like me wore a smile throughout the entire experience. Every area was sumptuous, with giant flora dwarfing the tiny, somewhat chaotic village of Mousewood and its homely wooden houses, a makeshift town clock that can only tell if it's day or night, and a cake shop -- run by a mouse on rollerskates -- that exclusively sells healthy herb cakes and sugar-free lollipops (gross). Though the primary quest was for Jerry to start preparations for in his inauguration as a Treewalker, a magician who travels between worlds, there are quite a few puzzles to solve along the way, most of which, of course, tie into the original quest. I needed to cross a river to get some juice for the celebrations, but a horrible little spoiled mouse child demanded a toll to cross the bridge, causing me to run around looking for an item to satisfy his sweet tooth. Easier said than done in a town filled with only healthy snacks. After helping the brat, I took out my anger on a foul crow, using nothing but a grappling hook and a radio antenna. Oh, adventure games.  In another part of town, an elderly mouse adventurer needed my help getting his boat, and the hedgehog brothers who were constructing the craft needed assistance to find their stolen tools which had been nicked by a deviant leprechaun. I had to chase him all over the damn place, as he kept vanishing the moment I caught up with him, the bugger. The Night of the Rabbit drips with whimsy, but there are slightly darker elements lingering in the background. There's a Treesprite who crops up a couple of times whose intentions are unknown, but he's certainly an ominous figure, hidden by magic, and exceedingly creepy with his twig body, and shamanistic mask. And then there are the crows, giant birds that have terrorized Mousewood for some time, and threaten anyone caught outside the town walls. The voice acting is a tad hammy, but it's mostly solid and at worse a little silly and inoffensive. There are some standout moments, however, notably a radio DJ mole who almost certainly worked for the BBC at one point, and the Marquis, who oozes flamboyance and mysticism and channels at least a small amount of the Doctor of Doctor Who fame, even dressing a wee bit like the Jon Pertwee version. I tend to enjoy Daedalic's adventure games, though each contains something offputting, whether it's the Dark Eye's obtuse puzzles, The Whispered World's ear-offending protagonist, or Deponia's douchey hero, but this glimpse of The Night of the Rabbit contained none of these problems. Here's hoping it stays that way.
The Night of the Rabbit photo
Exploring Mousewood and abusing crows
There're few things quite as enjoyable as spending a rainy afternoon indoors, playing a fantastical adventure game. I recently got my grubby mitts on a preview code for prolific adventure game studio Daedalic's upcoming magic...

Goodbye Deponia photo
Goodbye Deponia

Bid farewell to Deponia


Wave till your arm aches
Apr 24
// Fraser Brown
Cheerio, you sexy adventure game. Deponia's pretty groovy, just ask our (presumably) gun-toting Texan, Mr. Pinsof, who's been enjoying the series quite a bit. But all good things must come to an end, and with Goodbye Deponia&...
Blackguards photo
Blackguards

Hang out with drug addicts and murderers in Blackguards


From adventure to turn-based RPG
Mar 21
// Fraser Brown
Straying from its more worn path, Daedalic Entertainment is branching out from adventure games to tackle the world of turn-based RPGs in Blackguards. Set in the land of Aventuria, the setting of The Dark Eye: Chains of S...
Memoria announced photo
Memoria announced

Daedalic's new adventure game, Memoria, looks gorgeous


Pointing and clicking to adventure
Mar 18
// Fraser Brown
Indie adventure developer Daedalic is returning to Aventuria, the setting of last year's sumptuous, yet sometimes frustrating The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav, with Memoria. If it's anything like the previous installment, it p...
PUG! photo
PUG!

Night of the Rabbit has pug in it, so it's probably good


Color me bias
Feb 23
// Allistair Pinsof
Not since Spelunky have I been so excited for a game featuring a pug. The Night of the Rabbit is Daedelic's (Deponia series, Harvey's New Eyes) latest adventure epic and a welcome return to comedic fantasy after the underwhe...

Review: A New Beginning: Final Cut

Jan 04 // Fraser Brown
A New Beginning: Final Cut (Mac, PC)Developer: Daedalic Entertainment Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment, Lace MambaReleased: December 11, 2012MSRP: $9.99 The future is bleak. Isn't it always? Mankind is on the brink of extinction and a solar flare is about to wipe out the few remaining humans. Living underground, the residents of this apocalyptic world have come up with a zany scheme to save the world. It's time they took the "final step. The step back... to the past!" And with that cringe-worthy line the game chugs along, spewing out atrocious dialogue like it was going out of style. The plan, known as the Phoenix Plan (subtle), is to stop climate change and to get people to use algae instead of oil and nuclear power. A scientist from the '80s, Bent Svensson -- rocking a groovy porno mustache -- is roped into helping, and players are treated to ten or so hours of terrible pacing, energy mogul caricatures, and a lot of moaning. Oh yes, and they will have to hear the word algae repeated over, and over, and over again. Algae can bugger right off, at this point.   Characters generally fall into two camps -- detestable, or just plain stupid. There's some exceedingly forced character development, but it's quite hard to spot amid the dozens of schizophrenic, inconsistent buffoons that litter the game. These inconsistencies are noticeable almost straight away. During the prologue, Bent Svensson -- who has dedicated his entire life to developing a clean source of renewable energy -- laments the rise of pollution. He doesn't even like to kill fish, yet kills a bird with a machine that essentially poisons the avian bystander. His reaction is to not care at all, and he even mocks someone for feeling bad for the wee, dead fella. What a guy! He's the hero of the tale, by the way.      Honestly, I'm the sort of lazy "idiot" the game criticizes frequently. I don't bother to recycle, and I moan a lot about expensive energy-saving light bulbs, but I am interested in intelligent adventure games and hard science-fiction, which A New Beginning purports to be. It is neither of those things. The game's message is utterly inane and deals with the complex issue of climate change with the sophistication of an infant. It is very clear that the developers think that their message is important, and they go so far as to break the fourth wall and point out that a science-fiction thriller can make a difference. Maybe it can, but not this one. There certainly isn't a requirement to be environmentally minded to play the game, though, since even environmentalists will find the experience to be incredibly oversimplified.  When I think of time travel and adventure games I get all flustered. It's a combination ripe with possibilities and creative solutions to puzzles, thus I couldn't wait to see what Daedalic had in store for us. Not bloody much, apparently. It's employed twice in the whole game, but mentioned a hell of a lot, usually by Fay, one of the game's two protagonists, as she tries to tell everyone that she's from the future, so she knows stuff. World shattering stuff. There are no Day of the Tentacle-style puzzles here, that's for sure. In fact, there are no puzzles at all which involve the use of time travel. Baffling. Utterly baffling. Compared to the dialogue, the terrible story is award worthy. Daedalic needs to fire their translation team and their QA testers, because anyone with even a basic understanding of English would have been able to spot countless errors just within the first fifteen minutes. Sometimes it seemed like there was a mistake every time someone uttered a word. More often than not, the same mistakes reappear constantly, and the text frequently fails to match the audio.  In a genre unfortunately known for poor voice acting, A New Beginning takes the cake. Without fail, every single character proves to be incapable of sounding like an actual human being, or even a believable facsimile. I don't know if it was due to the poor writing, bad direction, or just doing it all in one take, but the whole thing just ends up being an auditory crime.  Fay is one of the worst offenders, in great part due to her being the most vocal character. In a ruined archive in the middle of a decaying San Francisco of the future, Fay manages to sound like she's having an orgasm not once, but two times. This would have been fine if the game had turned into a more blue adventure, but sadly this was not the case. In one instance it is the voice actor's interpretation of someone falling down mid-sentence, the other is just her trying to say "umm" when she's confused by an irritating computer program. Call me childish, but I found it hysterical. I suspect that this was not the reaction the developers had hoped for. In the puzzles there is some respite to be found, thankfully. Some verge on convoluted, but overall I found them to be organic, logical, and sometimes even quite clever. I must confess that a few stumped me, and I was really forced to wrack my brain for a solution. That doesn't happen very often in modern adventures. Lamentably, they do become somewhat repetitive, often devolving into twisting something and sticking it somewhere; the result is they aren't as satisfying or imaginative as they could have been. Regardless, they are a breath of fresh air at a time when puzzles often get far less attention than the narrative among A New Beginning's contemporaries.  The biggest issue with the puzzles is that I didn't really feel motivated to figure them out. I didn't care about progressing through the story, and I dreaded having to listen to any more offensively bad dialogue. If I hadn't been reviewing it, I'm sure I would have either skipped some of them (the trickier ones have this option) or tried to find a walkthrough. Actually, if I hadn't been reviewing it, I would have stopped playing after an hour. If I'd given up, I would have missed a lot of the absolutely gorgeous artwork, though. The hand-painted backgrounds and pleasing character art are by far and wide the best thing about A New Beginning. Detailed, striking, and full of color -- it's hard to believe that the rest of the game appears to be such a half-arsed effort. I'm afraid to say that this highlight is marred by extremely poor animation that makes the stop motion animation of The Lost World or King Kong look completely fluid and seamless. The cutscenes also compare very unfavorably to the regular art work, attempting to mimic a confused comic strip. These comic-style scenes are also rife with hilariously awful lip syncing that leads to most characters doing curious impressions of fish.  The German-language version -- which was the original -- is meant to be better, but alas I know about ten words in German so I really cannot confirm or deny this. It does strike me that the worst aspects of the game are due to the terrible effort made by the translation team and English-speaking voice actors, though.  If you are truly desperate for good puzzles and sumptuous art, then you could do worse than play A New Beginning, but I found it impossible to look past the many issues and really enjoy the few things it manages to do right. There are too many superior adventure games to count, and it's not even one of the better games with an environmental message.  
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Let it end, please
I've just saved the planet, and I couldn't be less enthused about it. A New Beginning is a self-styled eco-thriller with a spot of time travel and science fiction thrown in for good measure. It launched in Europe a couple of ...

Review: Chaos on Deponia

Nov 06 // Allistair Pinsof
Chaos on Deponia (PC)Developer: Daedalic EntertainmentPublisher: Daedalic Entertainment, Lace MambaReleased: November 6, 2012MRSP: $19.99Chaos on Deponia starts with a repeat of the first game’s tutorial. Deponia’s anti-hero, Rufus, immediately complains and points this out, making me feel that Rufus and I are on the same page. It’s a nice beginning but what follows is even better. The true opening of CoD (the non-shooting-dudes CoD) is one of the most knee-slappingly funny and creative intros I’ve seen in an adventure game. It brilliantly plays upon the tropes of the genre and established fiction of Deponia. Rufus is brought into the home of an elderly couple, who bicker and talk about Rufus’ as the player kills their pet, breaks their plumbing, and burns their house down. If only all of CoD’s puzzles were so humorous and self-contained. I would actively steer clear of giving spoilers, but CoD would have to have some significant plot reveals and progression first. For a sequel to a game that ended on a cliffhanger, CoD’s plot goes absolutely nowhere. Correction: It goes backward. The plot of CoD mirrors that of the debut: Rufus has once again damaged Goal’s memory implants and must traverse a large city hub to solve puzzles and piece her back together. There is a twist, however. Goal has been split into three personalities: spunky, lady, and child. All of the puzzles in the city progress Rufus in convincing each side of Goal to merge together again. It’s a good concept but I often grew tired of navigating the same dialogue options with all three versions of Goal. If the opening city hub of Deponia made you fall to your knees, you’re going to faint when you enter CoD’s main city that is double, if not triple, in size. CoD is not for the novice adventurer, since there are always so many locations, people, and items to factor into a puzzle. This is not the game’s problem. Its problem is that it frequently does a poor job in directing the player and subtly dropping hints. Perhaps something is lost in translation from the game’s original German, but I often felt lost and frustrated. Grim Fandango has a similar structure but I always thought it was my fault upon discovering a solution. I either wasn’t paying attention or listening to dialogue close enough. This is rarely the case in CoD and considering the game’s large world, that’s unfortunate. The structure of CoD can be frustrating, but the puzzles themselves are often fun and just challenging enough. As with other Daedalic titles, you can always skip a puzzle. But why would you want to skip battling as a platypus? Not all of the game’s puzzles and minigames are great, but they are interesting and nicely tie into the story. You’ll occasionally come across one that will drive you nuts. I feel almost obligated to give the solution to what is one of the most obtuse puzzle solutions ever put in a game. It gives Psycho Mantis a run for his money, that’s for sure. I’ll just say this: Don’t count out the options screen in your puzzle-solving. I nearly went nuts, so you don’t have to. Where CoD fails as a sequel, it succeeds with flying colors as a stand-alone, comedic adventure. Curb your expectations and you’ll discover a great cast of characters that are much better written and voiced than anything else Daedalic has put out. From Rufus’ hard-to-please father to the deluded renegade leader, CoD strives on the strengths of its outlandish characters and gorgeous world. As unlikely as it sounds, CoD manages to look even better than the first title. Secret of Monkey Island-style close-up dialogue scenes add some much needed variety and personality to presentation, and the large city hub is fantastic, full of color and detail. The backdrops still lack animation, though. The early press build I played features some typos and glitches but nothing game-breaking. As disappointed as I am that CoD isn’t more progressive in its design or storytelling, it managed to win me over with its characters, dialog, and slapstick comedy. There are few revelations and twists in CoD, to the extent that I’d recommended it to those that haven’t played the first. Although I loved the comedy and characters of this entry, I miss the scale and sense of adventure that the original game contained. In contrast to the first game, Chaos on Deponia leaves me a little less excited for the next entry, but it also leaves me a little more satisfied with the adventure I just had. If you are up for a serious challenge and some hearty laughs, you won’t be disappointed.
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A confederacy of dunces
Deponia ended right when things were getting good, and so that’s where Chaos on Deponia begins. Despite the first reaching the West in January -- or August, really, for us Steam-lovin’ folks -- a full, bona fide...

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Take a peek at Chaos on Deponia, coming Nov. 6


Daedalic's whimsical adventure returns sooner than we planned
Oct 12
// Allistair Pinsof
Daedalic's charming adventure series Deponia is making a return next month. Yeah, I had no idea either. The game is being labeled a sequel -- not a chapter -- even though the last one came out only two months ago. The above ...

Review: Deponia

Aug 06 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]231979:44497[/embed] Deponia (PC) Developer: Daedalic Entertainment Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment, Lace Mamba Released: August 7, 2012 MRSP: $19.99 Deponia smells like garbage, because it’s a planet made of garbage. Its citizens have made this supposedly uninhabitable junkyard of a planet into their home. Everyone except Rufus. Deponia to him is nothing more than the planet that his father abandoned him on. Now, he wants to return to his birthplace far away in the sky. Deponia (the game) is a lot of things: It’s an adventure, romance, and comedy all wrapped up into one goofy story. Rufus is a confident dope who bears much in common with Secret of Monkey Island’s Guybrush Threepwood. While his ambitions are a bit less, he possesses a similar wit and cluelessness in any given situation. He describes himself as “a cool version of herpes” but his friends and neighbors on Deponia would leave out the cool part. Though he is sympathetic, it took me some time to become attached to him. The same can be said about the game as a whole. Deponia has a lot more in common with Secret of Monkey Island than just sharing a similar lead character. Everything from the dialog to the comically-driven puzzles recalls LucasArts’s classic. As a result, Deponia doesn’t feel all that fresh. It doesn’t help that the game has serious problems with pacing and puzzle design in its first act (the lengthiest of the three). Things are slow-going at first. The game soon gives you a lot of ground to cover in a large city hub, but you’ll run into some obtuse puzzles that won’t make much more sense once you stumble upon the solution. The logic behind some puzzles relies too heavily on a comedic mindset rather than that of a sensible human being. LucasArts perfected their craft over the years, learning when to leave comedy out of the picture for playability. Deponia isn’t quite so discerning in its use of comedy nor is its comedic chops quite as cutting. The game prolongs dialog with bad joke after bad joke, at times. I can appreciate the spirit but I expect an adventure game to be more sparing in its humor. When every dialog option with a character doesn’t tell me anything about the game’s plot or characters, I start to become disinterested. I can’t stress enough though that these problems are mostly restricted to the first act. Even the comedy becomes stronger in the following acts -- it’s a very odd thing that makes me wonder what the production process was like behind the game. Rufus’ life becomes complicated once his plans to escape Deponia end up with him becoming responsible for a girl named Goal. He accidentally incapacitates her and decides to find a way to make her regain consciousness, hoping that she’ll help bring him back to his father’s home planet. While Rufus has some depth, he is a self-serving character that is hard to root for until the game’s second half. The main reason the first half sags, however, is that Deponia is kind of a miserable place. Rufus’ neighbors, ex-girlfriend, and even his best friend are all mean to Rufus and not very interesting characters. Despite Deponia being a rather nasty place, it's brought to life through a gorgeous hand-drawn aesthetic that recalls Curse of Monkey Island. The animation is very sub-par, with characters and backgrounds barely moving, but the design and art of the game’s locales are consistently interesting and eye-catching. Though the game is nice to look at, the dull animation is a constant reminder that this is developed by an indie with a modest budget. The same can be said of the English version’s hit-and-miss voice cast -- the game was originally voiced in German but there is no option to change to it. Thankfully Rufus sounds good and there are some quality performances later in the game, but it’s not top-caliber stuff. The grating voice effect on the game’s stormtrooper-esque Organon troopers is another chink in the game’s presentation. Despite a poor beginning and ending, I can’t shake off the warm feeling Deponia left me with. It’s a game with a big heart and some clever puzzles that recall a special time in the history of adventure games. The game lacks the consistency, quality animation, and hilarity of Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert’s work, but Deponia is a charming and creative adventure that stands above many of its contemporaries. You can deduce the game to being a tribute to the golden years of LucasArts, but isn’t that exactly what so many want right now?
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LucasArts or Sierra: You could like both, but, more often than not, people tended to prefer one over the other in the golden age of adventure games. Though King’s Quest VI was my introduction to the genre (and the Windo...

E3: Daedalic and the return of the classic adventure game

Jun 08 // Chad Concelmo
The two games Daedalic Entertainment showed off were The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav and Deponia. The Dark Eye is a more traditional fantasy adventure game like King's Quest, while Deponia is a wacky adventure set in space that very much reminded me of Space Quest. Both games look absolutely gorgeous, with hand-drawn backgrounds and smooth animation. Just looking at the games for the first time brought back such memories of how beautiful adventure games used to look with their hand-drawn and hand-painted art. As great as the little I got to see of Deponia was, that game is still a little ways off. I will focus on The Dark Eye, as that is the game that featured an extended demo. It will also be available on Steam on June 22, so the release date is only a few weeks away! Like most point-and-click games, The Dark Eye involves a main character exploring a vast world, interacting with characters, and solving puzzles to reach the end of the game. Obviously, the first thing you will notice about the game is how gorgeous it looks. The fact that a small group of people made a game that looks this good really boggles my mind. It's incredible how talented some people in this world are. Exploring the world is as simple as clicking on any object or character you want to interact with. Again, it is classic graphic adventure stuff. In addition to this, a very large inventory system is also used. Like most adventure games, you can pick up a ton of items, some so random you won't even know where to use them until just the right time. One addition to The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is a basic, yet effective magic system. Along the way, the main character can learn spells that will interact with the environment. One spell will break items. This can be used in many scenarios with no real result -- it is more of an aesthetic thing. But some items need to be shattered to solve puzzles. In one scenario in the demo, the main character was tied up and trapped in a cave. By using his magic power combined with many items in his inventory, he eventually escapes in a plan of almost Rube Goldberg-proportions. It was quite complicated, but very well-designed, so the solution could be figured out eventually with some focused thinking. In fact, all of the puzzles in the Dark Eye felt very challenging, but never too challenging to be frustrating. I am one of the first people to admit being driven to madness in some old adventure games, due to the puzzles being near-impossible. That is not the case with Dark Eye. Yes, the puzzles are tough, but they are never too daunting. If I had to have one negative about both the Dark Eye and Deponia, it would be the localization. So far, the localization is not perfect, leaving jokes kind of hanging and some dialogue very awkward. It is not a deal breaker by any means, but when the games are so visually strong and beautifully designed, you want everything about them to be perfect. The same can be said for the voice acting. While not bad, it definitely could use a little work. Outside of these small issues (or big, depending on what you look for in an adventure game), both The Dark Eye and Deponia look great. I adore adventure games, and I am very much looking forward to playing both of these promising games. Deponia is still in production, but The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav is set to hit Steam on June 22. If you are a fan of classic adventure games, you will want to check this one out.
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One of my favorite things to do at E3 is visit the smaller publisher and developers and try out their games. Usually creative and made with such a large amount of heart, the smaller games at E3 are always a breath of fresh ai...

GC 10: Talking retro with Daedalic

Aug 20 // Daniel Carneiro
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Growing up in the hands of Loom and Day of the Tentacle, my heart always beats higher whenever I hear about a new point and click adventure coming out. One could say that Daedalic is like a dinosaur with lasers coming out of...

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Here are some new The Whispered World screenshots


Apr 17
// Brad Nicholson
It’s been a long time since we’ve shared some The Whispered World screenshots or information with you guys. Deep Silver and Daedalic recently released three new images -- I’ve included seven others that we&r...
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New screenshots of Daedelic's Whispering World look surprisingly good


Feb 19
// SRVSLPS
It's been quite some time since I've ventured into PC gaming territory, but adventure games of the fantasy variety have a way of tugging at my heartstrings. Throw in a jester on an epic journey to discover the meaning of life...
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Leipzig GC 2007: A New Beginning


Aug 25
// David Houghton
I've been ranting about the need for a resurgence in point and click adventures for a good while now. The genre's been forsaken as unfashionable for far too long, and in this Wii and DS-dominated climate, there's absolutely n...
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Like, omigod! Tween girls set to go wild over Dating Day on the DS


Aug 22
// Nick Chester
If there was ever a reason I'm completely bitter and miserable over the fact that I won't be covering Leipzig this year, it's this. German publisher Daedalic Entertainment will be revealing their Nintendo DS project, Dat...

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