Sorry, James PC Review with Stream
Not enough tutorial
There are so many different types of games in the world, and each of them have an important component that makes a game of that genre better than others. For action games, it’s all about the fast paced nature like a FPS, for puzzle games it’s the challenge of each level and thinking outside the box, and for text only games it’s richness of the story and weight of your choices. In this text only story game, you play as James Garner a security technician who is tasked with decrypting company files in order to find out the truth of a conspiracy. This entire secret story is told through a chat conversation that you slowly unravel and beings to show you the bigger picture in a non-linear format.
Even though there is a user interface of sorts, which looks very much like the command line interface of SuperHot or maybe even the pip-boy from Fallout, there is a very heavy emphasis on text. Not just the choosing of an option through the command line, but also to pay attention to literally everything you can find, because it all comes in handy later. The attachment to this idea is so pervasive that (SPOILER WARNING!) you won’t even be able to progress beyond the first screen without reading the steam game description, as that has the login details to start the game. It’s an interesting approach, that is reminiscent of Sierra games from long past, and the earliest attempts at DRM, but to be honest it comes across as very annoying to many who just want to start playing.
Like many adventure games of yore, this has many codes to remember, small details hidden in boring conversations, and leaps of logic that you need to be ready for. Not only is this in text format, but in order to decode any of the chats, you need to play a mini game that is very much like minesweeper, in which you have to use logic to decide how many dots to activate based on the number of activated dots already around the target. I’ve never been a minesweeper player myself, others who do like it definitely understood the mechanic better than I. When you do decode the actual file, you still need to use your brain to follow the non-linear story telling from just looking at one side of a chat session. Because texting is so prevalent in today’s culture, its actually easier to do this than ever, but decoding more will get you more information from which to draw a conclusion.
Working hard to unravel a mystery is a tried and true method of good story telling that when unlocked makes you feel so much smarter and satisfied than just having it given to you. However, for this to be successful, the final product has to be worth getting, and in this case the story just comes off as boring and hard to follow. It’s not like a normal murder mystery where you slowly gain suspects that each had a motive, and it could be anyone, it comes off as a normal drama filled text about a one-night stand gone wrong. The idea is solid, but it’s been done better elsewhere, and even if the execution was done perfectly, the story has a lot to be desired since no one cares about the victim or any of the small list of characters.