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About the Story
The first in a new series of stories featuring the teenage amateur detective Susan Knox as the reader's character. Set in open world locations where the reader is free to choose where to look for clues, who to interview, what to ask and where the correct suspect, motive and murder method must be identified within a set time limit, this first story is set on the mysterious and notorious Blacksea Island whose history of insanity and death holds the secret to the unusual death of Knox's best friend...
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DETECTIVE ONE: BLACKSEA ISLAND: 88
General Recommendation: I definitely recommend this game, especially if you like trying to solve the crime yourself while reading mystery books and watching mystery shows.
Preview: You travel around the island investigating different locales and asking questions of the suspects. As you uncover different pieces of evidence, you can work out who committed the crime, and how and why it was done, and confront the killer.
Basic Plot & Coherence:
A well-formed tight murder mystery story. The killer has clear means, motive, and opportunity, and itís up to the player to figure them out. The crime itself is relatively simple (and the killerís motivations arenít extremely logical), but the act of discovering them is what makes this game really worth it.
I liked the way the islandís history was integrated into the story. This background knowledge gave the fictional events a lot of depth, making the island seem like a very expansive place. The island like a place that could really exist, not just some place the author invented for the sole purpose of writing a mystery story. The history, while providing essential clues to the murder, also provided some nice red herrings. At the end, I was surprised to learn the extent to which the histories were true.
Characters & Development:
Each of the characters serve their purpose well, with each providing a slice of important information needed to solve the crime. The characters are all fairly two-dimensional, but this is understandable, given the nature of the story.
I suppose I didnít think the killerís motivations made a lot of sense. Also, they kind of just confess at the end, without have any real reason to do so. This is all pretty forgiveable however, as it gives the story a cinematic conclusion, allowing the player to win through the knowledge of the island theyíve gathered during their investigations.
No typos here!
Mastery of Language:
The language was direct and functional, which works well in a game like this, as it doesnít unnecessarily distract the player. The opening scenes were more descriptive than the rest of the game, which was good, as it set the tone and did not distract from the mystery.
Mechanics & Coding:
I certainly didnít notice any bugs.
On the one hand, I hate the time mechanic, on the other hand, I think it really contributed to the overall atmosphere of the work. I played this game with a sense of urgency, working in every way I could to limit the amount of time I spent walking around. Iíll grudgingly admit that the time mechanic served its purpose perfectly, and added to the game. Hmph. Interestingly, I think that even though the player has plenty of time to visit everywhere they need to, the time mechanic is more narratively useful in the mood it imposes on the game, rather than in actually limiting the playerís options. The time mechanic was a good way to allow the player open-map exploration while also limiting just how much sleuthing they can do.
None, obviously, as this is essentially a murder mystery told in a nonlinear format.
Player Options/fair choice:
Pretty good. I felt like I had the options I wanted. The dialogue options were somewhat limited, but I felt like this added to the story rather than took away from it, as it left the player to do most of the thinking themselves, and removed unnecessary distractions.
Olivia Powellís habit of wearing a kevlar vest under her clothes should have been foreshadowed. :)
I guessed correctly who the killer was very early in the story, but Iím the first to admit this guess was pure speculation and had no basis in fact. It wasnít until later, after discovering more evidence, that I figured out the how and the why of the crime.
CONCLUSION: Lots of fun! Iíll definately be playing the sequel!
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