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8 people found the following review helpful:
A (nearly) great game, June 30, 2008
Rating this game was a bit frustrating for me because it could have been a five star game with just a little more work, and yet in its current state I can only justify giving it three. Before I go into why I'd like to touch on a few of the positives for this game, because I really did enjoy it and think it's worth playing.
The plot is a fairly simple one, a monk has been murdered and you have a monastery full of suspects with various motives. You have to talk to them all and search the area for clues to find out who did it, how, and why. Then at the end of the game you call a meeting and run through the whole accusation (Don't worry, I'm not spoiling anything - the game tells you all of this up front.) In the meantime you're wandering around in a fairly historically accurate monastery. The setting is nice and well described and the other monks wander around doing their daily chores in a nice almost believable sort of way. It turns out the game is even replayable since all of the relevant details are randomly generated, which is a very nice touch. The motives are believable and have a certain amount of depth to them and the game even handles your accusations realistically when you get it wrong - if your accusation is wrong but believable then people will still believe you, but if you're wrong and there's proof that you're wrong the game calls your bluff. Bravo all around.
But then there's the matter of why this game gets only three stars instead of the five it so easily could have had. Implementation! Here's an example:
The altar is a simple stone slab over which is draped a linen cloth. There are also votive candles on the altar.
You can't see any such thing.
This happens over and over and over again while playing this game. Each room is very nicely described but about half the things mentioned in the game don't really exist. A good round of betatesting would have easily cleared this up. That improvement alone would have gotten a fourth star out of me.
To get the fifth star would be a little more work, but only a little. In a game largely based around NPCs the NPCs need to have a little depth. Now as long as you don't talk to the monks they are very realistic, wandering around doing their chores and going to sleep and prayers at the appropriate times. Talk to them though and the realism falls apart, the number of topics implemented is very small and the responses are repetitious in a robotic sort of way. Which is a shame, because it's obvious a lot of work went in to making these guys *act* real - I just wish they spoke a little better.
All in all worth the time to play. I'd love to see this game re-released after a good round of beta-testing.