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About the Story
You are the Silver Agent, a spy who has lost their mind.
Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee - the Silver Agent, Best Individual PC - 2018 XYZZY Awards
31st Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
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This game is well written which is one of its strengths, it has dynamic aspects and goals but similar format each play through. There is a sense of tension as some encounters can waste one of the six bullets. Some of the commands are not obvious, usually just one keyword which is often shown in capital letters to give the hint this is what it expects.
You have to keep track of each hour that passes as there is a deadline to get to your extraction point in time and sometimes you might not get all the objectives done. With each play through you learn the map and discover some new things. I haven't completed the game, I came close. I did get stumped in some areas that maybe will make more sense later on. Its a game you can play in short burst or all evening.
I hope this game gets a sequel in the near future, with the same style of writing and perhaps the gameplay expanded further.
I spent more time playing Six Silver Bullets than I did any of the other IFComp 2018 games during the competition period. Its immersive, addictive gameplay kept me engaged for hours.
The game itself is parser-based and written with ADRIFT. You wake up in a hotel room with your memories gone, a locked safe, a mysterious note, a silver gun, and six silver bullets. It turns out you're "Silver," one of several secret agents with colored code names.
The story is written in a noir-like style, complete with six-shooter, a femme fatale you meet early on, and short, clipped sentences. Also, the locations are more like archetypes than they are locations in some real world. For example, there are The Restaurant, The Church, The Hamlet, The Library, etc.
As is usual for a game featuring amnesia, the goal is to figure out what's going on. The mysterious note may or may not be from someone you can trust, and the people that you meet may or may not be looking out for your best interests.
The gameplay, though, is what kept me sticking with Six Silver Bullets for hours. It is very easy to get killed in this game. But that's intended: On each playthrough you gain more information about what's going on, and you can use that information on subsequent playthroughs to uncover even more of the story. In this sense it's a lot like Ryan Veeder's game The Lurking Horror II: The Lurkening from last year. However, Six Silver Bullets is MUCH larger and has a much more complicated plot than The Lurkening. In fact, there are all kinds of plot twists and turns; I kept changing my mind about which of the characters were trustworthy and even what goals I wanted to pursue.
The endgame is satisfying, providing you with a narratively consistent explanation of the entire setting, as well as why you can continue to die and replay the story.
The only thing that kept Six Silver Bullets from being one of my very favorite IFComp 2018 games is its implementation. Some of this may be ADRIFT's parser, but there are lots and lots of issues here - ranging from minor to serious to very frustrating. For example, you often have to type the entire name of an object, even when it's quite long. I really got tired of typing (Spoiler - click to show)"the gray microfilm canister" over and over. Sometimes you can just type one or two of the words, though. Also, sometimes you have to include "the" in front of a dialogue option, and sometimes you don't. More serious problems include dialog options that characters don't respond to, as well as several guess-the-verb issues. There was even one instance where the parser only accepted a particular misspelling of a word, not its correct spelling!
Still, frustrations aside, I very much enjoyed Six Silver Bullets - enough to keep playing the game for many hours. If these implementation issues could be fixed I'd easily rate this game as five stars. Even with the parser frustrations, I'd call it a four-star game.
This is a game that was hard to play during the competition, for a few reasons, and those same reasons make it much better to play now.
-It is a large Adrift game, and Adrift is an engine where a lot of commands don't work. This game gives you hints about the commands in the text, but this requires careful reading of the text.
-This game is randomized, so you can't just repeat commands from memory. The map is the same, however.
-This game is big. It has a few dozen locations, runs on a timer, and has many NPCs with many interaction options. There are little encounters too that happen frequently.
-This game is hard. Really hard. I played it 5 or 6 times before completing one of the biggest mission objectives. You have to keep track of tons of things: where stuff is located, where people are, what times things happen.
So this is definitely a game to be savored. But it is rewarding.
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