by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Saved mostly by the voice talent, July 25, 2020

This game is a mess. And it was always a mess. It was an awkward and ill-fitting blend of real-time first-person navigation and parser interaction. We'd known since Sierra abandoned AGI that real-time exploration and parsers make poor companions, and Façade's parser wasn't even very good. It had an artificially tiny length limit, a weirdly ugly font more closely associated with dubiously marked and curious-smelling overseas shipping cartons than with the paperdoll aesthetic of the game, and did not deliver the heavily hyped conversational experience. (Notably, the keywording was so broad that it's infamously possible to auto-lose the game with a single innocuous noun.)

The replayability and emotional exploration are supposed to be the point, but the designers stuck us with an unlikable and unsympathetic pair. Why bother when the most satisfying emotional resolution is to simply not go through that depressing apartment door?

Not all milestones represent happy stops on a journey, so this game can be regarded as a milestone without actually recommending it. Where it shines is with the top-notch voicework of the principal players and a nod to the game engine which does a good job stitching together player names and spoken passages on demand. It's such a rich vein of material that a quirky musician has been able to stitch together five (and counting!) full-length dance albums featuring Grace (and to a lesser extent Trip, usually as the target of her musical rants.)

I'd recommend a (NSFW) listen to any of "Grace's" bootleg dance albums (especially the first three) above any struggle to get Façade running on a modern system.

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