Point and click adventures never really sat well with me. I've always found them to be slow, mundane, and obscure almost to a fault with their needlessly abstract puzzles and "You should know this because we do" game design mentality. I do however, realize it takes a certain kind of gamer (or non-gamer, no offense) to appreciate the deliberate, almost detective novel like pace of a title like this. Fortunately, for them, Nostradamus: The Last Prophecy delivers that kind of experience in spades, and then some.
The story is your usual kickoff for a murder mystery– A pattern of murders has been committed in France of 1556, and the Queen Mother Catherine de Médicis, fearing for her life, asks her old friend and advisor Nostradamus for help. Unfortunately, he has grown quite ill and cannot investigate on his own, so he offers the Queen his son Cesar instead. Though this also proves to be an issue, as he is ten days away and won't be back in enough time, so he disguises his daughter Madeline as Cesar and tasks her with solving the mystery.
Throughout the course of the game, you'll be interviewing characters, solving puzzles, and even changing Madeline's outfits to suit the situation. While many of the puzzles are cleverly laid out (one involving concocting a potion comes to mind) I found that the solutions and even the directions were a bit too obscure, leaving me aimlessly clicking around the screen for hopes of an interactive event to begin. While her personal journal in the pause menu tries to be a significant help, even allowing you to re-view cutscenes, there will be mounds of confusion ahead. It also doesn't help that the inventory system is yet another hurdle to contend with, as it gives little to no clues on how it's mechanics work. Expect to pull and prod at the game for a while before settling in.
As far as visuals go, prerendered environments are the order of the day here, with a 3D style panorama comprising the most of your navigation. While each environment is lovingly rendered, their static nature means that they feel mostly devoid of life, save for some questionably animated NPCs here and there. Thankfully, it's all very sharp and high resolution, so picking objects out of rooms or examining posters is hardly difficult. A game like this isn't about it's visuals though, and it keeps the game very easy to run on a mid-level PC, so it's a minor quibble.
It's very difficult to assign a game like Nostradamus without calling some sort of personal bias into play. I didn't particularly enjoy it more than I would a more interactive adventure, and my desire to reach for some sort of walkthrough (although I didn’t) sprang up more than once. For fans of the genre who love to have their brain teased as well as hung up for hours however, this is to be expected, and you could do much worse than what the developers of this game have come up with here; a genuinely challenging, if a bit inclusive adventure.