Monday, October 10, 2005

Indigo Prophecy Review

Indigo Prophecy

Style: 95% Sound Quality: 90% Graphics Quality: 85% Game-play: 100% Average Quality Over Time Played: 100% Final Value: 94% at 40$

Highs: Innovative experience, awesome storytelling, intense and cinematic with interesting characters. This would be a brilliant adventure game among adventure games, and in the dessert that populates that genre currently, it is as pure ambrosia from the mouth of Zeus.

Lows: Sometimes it feels just slightly rough around the edges.

Best Played by: Anyone passionate about good story telling, adventure gamers, most RPG gamers. Absolutely anyone else, you simply cannot go wrong if you find it in the bargain bin, but it might even be worth the risk to pay full price.


Indigo Prophecy plays like a movie, and simply cannot be described any other way. It challenges in ways that no game has ever explored before. In the most novel approach to story telling through games, Indigo Prophecy pits the player against his or her own self as they are confronted with not only the task of doing their best at keeping the main character, Lucas Kane, from being arrested as it presents them with tasks such as fleeing a crime scene or hiding evidence, but also playing out the investigative duo Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, and having the opportunity to either challenge by searching for evidence and hunting down Lucas to the extent of their abilities, or, going easy and trying to not catch themselves.

The rough edges of this diamond can be found in the controls, which are on average mediocre. The best bits, oddly enough, are the arbitrary action sequences where the player is presented with what can be described as a dual Simon Says style challenge that miraculously manages, through what can be imagined to be a great effort, to feel intricately tied to the action being performed, rather than as arbitrary as it is. The meat of the game, the adventure, plays out using rather standard and occasionally unpleasant direction keys, or even awkward (admittedly, only at the worst) mouse selection.

Also feeling lackluster overall is the game's brief length. A five year old couldn't get bored of this game before it was over. Weighing in at about 7 hours of gameplay, Indigo Prophecy is a bit of a meager offering in size, despite the consistant quality. Another four to seven hours would have been heavenly, though, in truth, the brevity will make replaying it in a month a completely unintimidating task, much like rewatching a good movie, the time investment for repeated viewings are minimal.

If adventuring is occasionally awkward, the carrying out an in game conversation can be downright paralyzing as every set of conversation options is timed, and the save system wont let you go back to immediately beforehand to replay just that one moment in time over again. This can be terribly frustrating as it means recovering from a bad conversation often means replaying the entire chapter, which can get tedious as you re-watch the un-skip-able cut scenes, which would be just fine on later re-plays, but are not so fun when watched over and over again.

Each environment shimmers like a perfect little Venus di Milo. From the most ordinary diner, to the brilliant retro military base done with a filter that makes it appear as though it were an old movie, each location is crafted with a love that is extraordinary and visible in every tiny detail. The detail is even more intriguing given that each environment is experienced in very small doses and often only once at all. If every game had real love like this in it, there would be no bad games.

The story of Indigo Prophecy begins to feel rushed as the end approaches, and little things, like who exactly certain characters are seem to get totally forgotten and even talked about as though they have already been elaborated upon perfectly. Given the richness of the rest of the story, and that the rest of the ending, including the main points of interest, are so far above par, this crime proves hardly worth mentioning.

The real and true tragedy of Indigo Prophecy will be direct results of the state of adventure gaming as a dead genre. Certainly lots of people will play this game, and, lord knows, more of this direction of gaming is desperately needed and wanted by a certain crowd of niche gamers who thrive on story and characters and dialog above mindless action, and who have been rewarded over the past seven years or so with nothing at all of note. If you love adventure games, buy it now.
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