Wednesday, 09 February 2005
Take a peek through the reviews on AltGaming and count how many traditional adventure titles we have. How many did you find? That small a number eh? The only recent, and reasonably high profile adventure title was THQ’s Broken Sword 3. And even that game has to dispense with many of the genre’s staple gameplay ideas in order to become more commercially viable. Now, as the genre is pretty much dead in the eyes of 99% of the gaming public, it’s always unusual to find a title glowing with the gameplay ideology we all adored back in the 80’s/90’s. Only problem is, can it better any of the great adventure titles of yesteryear? And even more importantly, can it stand out in today’s action packed gaming world?
To give it to your right from the off, The Moment Of Silence is a pure, unadulterated point and click adventure title. There’s no action elements here relying on the traditional gaming talents of quick reflexes, and button bashing here. Not one little bit. Utilising just about solely the mouse to play through the entire game (the only keyboard presses you’ll use are Esc to save and quit, and the “H” key which provides you a visual clue as to how you need to proceed if you find yourself getting a little stuck), you need to figure out how best to utilise the items you pick up throughout the adventure, as well as getting the best information you can from the game’s many fully voiced NPC’s. It’s somewhat close to the style that Blade Runner championed in the 1990’s, with your context sensitive cursor changing depending on where about on the screen its placed. Place it over an item of interest for example and it’ll shape into a little spy glass in order to show you you may need to give that object some specific attention.
The main addictive qualities in these adventure titles are the quality of the puzzle’s you’ll need to figure out throughout your “quest”. Yes, unfortunately enough some of these will rely on you tracking back to a place you previously visited in order to “try out” a freshly discovered item on something you previously witnessed. Luckily the puzzles found throughout the game are varied, and challenging enough to err on the side of interesting, rather than roaming into the land of frustrating which it would have been so easy to do.
Again, the quality of the NPC’s you’ll meet up with and chat to throughout the game provide a huge helping hand, and for once you get the feeling that you need to gain their trust for them to provide help, rather than merely clicking through all the possible questions and answers you can give before you get the “correct” response. Plus you’ll meet up with some very interesting characters, but none so outlandish as to spoil the games incredible sense of style.
The storyline is very dark indeed. I know that’s a term banded about quite a lot, but it really is the case here. The introduction sequence for example (which is of a quite astonishingly high graphical standard by the way) see’s your character peeking through his front door as he witnesses the head of the family next door (an online journalist) led away under arrest by a SWAT team bursting through their front door. What transpires is what can only be described as one of the most “perfect” storylines in the gaming world for quite a while. The tension, the paranoia, and the whole dark nature of the title is all brought about by some outstanding script work by House OF Tales. Obviously I haven’t gone into great detail about the whole storyline, because this is definitely the kind of game you’d be much happier discovering everything yourself. Just be assured it’s of top quality.
Top quality aesthetics have been a staple of this genre since the beginning of the 90’s, and this tradition is continued to great effect here. The voice acting throughout is of the utmost quality the whole way through. Each characters fits their personality and appearance quite perfectly, another piece of praise for House Of Tales. Special mention too has to go to the music, which again only helps create the tension filled atmosphere that the game craves. Visual wise everything is of a high standard, especially the different character models. It’s not quite up there with the Chronicles of Riddick of this world, but it’s not too huge a step behind. Plus it doesn’t need a monster PC to run at a fair old pace. The review for this game was a 1GHz Athlon with 512Mb RAM, and ran with no problems whatsoever. And since that’s considered to be quite behind the times, not many of you would have any problems. However, the game does come on DVD only, so it’s now time to invest in a DVD drive for your PC if you don’t already have one. It’s worth the quality of voice acting alone.
The Moment Of Silence shines of a game that’s had meticulous care taken throughout it’s development process. And it’s certainly a batter game for it. The ability to draw you fully into a different world is one that quite a large number of games can manage nowadays. But a game that can meld your own, and the character your playing on the screens minds as one is quite a different subject altogether. The sheer quality, and depth put into developing the world found in Moment OF Silence, and the astonishingly high quality storyline pushing you along as quite the perfect rate is quite dazzling. With only a slight problem with some loading times, the odd animation error, and the usual confinements of the genre stopping Moment Of Silence achieving a higher score, for all adventure fans looking for something fresh to get their teeth into, this is your game. It’s perhaps not yet time to cram Monkey Island and Sam And Max into a cupboard for a rest, but this is the closest we’ve come for near a decade. Well done House Of Tales.