Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hotel Dusk (DS)

Generally speaking I'm happy to be classed as a graphics whore. Yeah, gameplay is important too, but when I'm playing something I tend to look at it a lot, so I like things that look nice. Because of this I'm not really too much into the whole retro gaming thing - since most old games look god-awful these days. Every now and again, though, you come across and old game that has really nicely drawn sprites and it still looks gorgeous.

Which kind of brings me around to the point - this is a game where the 2d bits will still look fantastic in 10 years' time. I'd go so far as to say they should have scrapped the 3d altogether, since it looks like muddy crap next to the lovely sprites (especially when you see the characters in the 3d view).

At its heart it's basically a point-and-click game - you move around, talk to people, look at stuff, and indulge your klepto side. All of the characters I've met so far are very well realised (the protagonist in particular is great - just exactly the right amount of jaded ex-cop being a dick to people because he doesn't really care), and the game keeps feeding you just enough of the backstories to keep you wanting more.

The conversation system is nice - highlighting questions as you chat, and allowing you to decide when to butt in and focus on something that's just been said. Which can sometimes be a bad thing - keep picking at a sore point, and the person you're talking to can get pretty pissed off. It's even possible to annoy someone so much that they complain about you to the hotel manager, resulting in you being kicked out - game over. When that happens the game is kind enough to give you a hint as to which bit of dialogue you messed up on, and then lets you retry from just before that conversation happened (and it always seems to fail you shortly after the conversation, so you don't carry on for ages unaware you're already doomed).

It also has a very nice jotter that you can scribble down your own notes in, which is a great feature for an adventure game.

Final note - if you do buy it, don't read the backstory of your character that's in the manual. It doesn't tell you anything that's not already mentioned in the game, and the in-game version tells it with way more style.

If you're one of those people who wishes more good adventure games were being made these days, you should get this.

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