Number of Reviews: 4
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4 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful game shackled to a mostly successful experiment, January 2, 2014
This is a game with some beautiful writing and a deep, profound story.
It is largely linear but not lacking in agency; the outcome is predestined, your decisions will shape how you feel in reflection and about the story you've engaged with.
This is effectively a CYOA with a largely linear although deep plot, strong player interaction, and a non-judgmental narrative voice.
I enjoyed the story immensely and the writing was very good, although at times the author's experiment with procedural generated content could detract from the experience. It is possible--for instance--for the game to tell you that a character is silent when they are actually speaking or to tell you that you feel deep pain in a moment that seems unlikely to produce such a feeling.
I don't want to be negative; I really loved this game, and would have happily rated it at 4 stars, but I do think that the content generation experiment holds back the narrative proper. I expect with that removed, we'd be able to gain a little more depth in the piece, and it would free the author up to focus on the rest of the experience. I think the procedural-generation probably added a lot of value/interest to the creator, but I don't see that it adds much value for a player. It has the most minor impact on re-plays, which will be different anyway--no one is going to play this game the same way twice in a row on purpose, so it leaves me feeling like the experiment was technically a success (that is to say, in mechanical terms it succeeds well), but a failure in a narrative sense. I don't see what it adds to my experience as a reader, and I think that largely the story/game is already successful.
The final narrative punch, as you approach the denouement, is successful and strong. Some reviewers criticized it for being too divergent from their intentions, and I see their point; for people who assume a lot more emotional agency in the narrative, it would break immersion slightly. I was completely wrapped up in learning more about me the character at this point, so it didn't have a negative impact. Rather, I just felt a positive sense that I'd learned something important about the character, and it influenced my second play-through.
Ultimately, this is a strong game with a well-crafted plot and authentic dialogue. I enjoyed it and played it several times to conclusion to explore different journeys.