Number of Reviews: 4
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Sea and Fog, Polish and Dubious Politics, July 24, 2009
After waking up waterlogged (but thankfully not stricken with amnesia) on the titular uncharted island, your soldier protagonist is gradually introduced to the local personalities and their various conflicting opinions. As you explore the large and evocatively described landscape, you're free to act on the wishes of whomever you choose to trust.
While there are mechanical puzzles, interaction with NPCs forms the bulk of the plot. The dialogue system, which suggests topics when necessary but generally allows for free interaction, often facilitated impressively smooth conversations. I applaud Eve both for allowing me to be polite to those of my interlocutors who deserved it, and for making a world real enough that I felt to urge to.
The game's hands-off, character-driven approach to guiding your actions has its downsides, of course: it's quite possible to finish the game leaving major plot lines hanging. For similar reasons, I ended up accompanied by a character whose rationale for sticking with me was never really established. It seems to me that fully experiencing what Blighted Isle offers depends a bit too much on the player's completism and too little on in-game motivations.
These flaws aside, my opinion of Blighted Isle was overwhelmingly positive until the endgame. Take this next spoiler tag seriously- I'm going to reveal a couple of big twists. (Spoiler - click to show)The ending I reached involved my saving Winston Churchill's life on the orders of King Arthur. By which I mean saving a racist warmonger of questionable competence because an absolute monarch told me to. Yeah, the protagonist might well be up for that. I'd built up sympathy for him by that point, though, and felt a bit betrayed (not to mention deprived of a satisfying conclusion). On the plus side, the Arthurian, time-bending reality of the island was very well-foreshadowed.
In the end, I found Blighted Isle an impressive application of writing and programming skill to slightly unworthy material. I would recommend trying it: its successes are numerous and its failures are interesting.