Friday, 21 October 2016

Orwell Being the Big Brother you wish you could

Privacy and safety... two sides of an extremely sharp sword, the idea of the government always watching and keeping an eye on you is a scary thought, I dont need the head of the country knowing if i scrunch or fold, but at the same time, If something were to happen to me, Id want the full extend of the law brought down apon the people in question, But that cant happen if there isn't enough evidence.

Which is where the idea of this game comes in.. you play as a new member of an information gathering group called Orwell, think Oracle from the Batman Comic books, the all seeing eye of Gotham, except instead of Gotham, its the nation. You take the part of a new recruit to this organisation on his first day and are given a "training "case as they call it.

You are tasked with digging into the life of Cassandra Watergate, a suspect in a crime, you start of as if you were any other detective, knowing nothing more then whats in the police report, this is where the game takes the turn into something i think is pure genius, they manage to mix puzzle and story telling together in a way that no one out side of tell tales has been able to do in a long time, games today spoon feed to much , and this game does as well to a certain degree.

But no where near as much as other story driven games that walk you right into the path of the next puzzle answer. Instead you have to use your own logic and understanding to figure out where the pieces fit in relation to each other, now this being only episode 1 with 4 more to come over the next coming weeks you are only given the opportunity to explore Cassandra's life and back story, despite being given information on other characters and their relationships with Cassandra. 

The way you gather the information to Cassandras backstory and find out about her relationships with these other people is by digging through new paper articles , Web sites ,Blog posts, Social media accounts to find any mention of her that you can, from there you can take that information, lets say a social media handle, and look for that online  and from there you might get a link to a blog post she made about someone, you are now given a blank profile on that person, and you must build the back grounds for these people to help prove weather Cassandra is guilty or innocent of the crime in question.

So remember when i said this game doesn't spoon feed you as much as other games do? the extent isn't as bad, they do spoon feed you in the sense that you cant put the wrong info about say cassandra, under the profile of her mother, that being said if you have 2 bits of conflicting evidence you do only get to decide on one piece ,and this can either save cassandra from jail or send her away for a nice sleep in a cold cell.


Its a point and click puzzle game, there is no getting around that so if you were hoping for am open world first person detective game, might want to look else were,(if you find one id really like to play that so let us know) what it does offer is a sense of exploration, you may not see it as that but its what it is, you are sifting through piles and piles of useless information in hopes to find that one link to a webpage, or that one text where they incriminate themselves, now most of the game is payed out through the " Reader" tab, think of this like your go to bag of tricks, it has all the links to everything you have uncovered about every one, from the news headlines, to the personal portfolio of cassandra, 

You are also given a tab called " listener" which is what it basically Orwell doing some magic tomfoolery and tapping the phones and social media accounts of the person they are investigating, giving you full access to spy in on their private conversations they are having with people, there is another labeled " insider" but as this is the first episode this is still locked, i speculate that the insider may be a way to tap into the suspects computer in latter episodes but this is just theory at this point so dont take it as fact. 

So along your travels you will uncover more and more info to put together the suspects life, back story, personality and other personal facts to develop a profile on said suspect.My first run through took about 45 minutes to an hour to complete most of which being the tutorial and walking you through how the game works, which is good, a game that explains how to play it is amazing, unfortunately 
The music behind the game-play fits the tone the devs were going for perfectly, the slow intense resonance off the bass combined with the energetic liveliness of the mids melds together to really set the tone for a serious story.
through my play through i found no bugs, no glitches nothing, it was polished and a great example of what a game studio can do if they want to put out a good game my score for game-play is n 8/10


The UI is outstanding, its the right amount of cluttered and organised to fully immerse you in the the idea of being swamped with information, it really made me feel as if i had piles of papers stacked around me , not knowing where to look for the next clue, That being said the colour scheme didn't quite match for me, its not that it didn't look good, i personally dont think the only blue tones they chose worked with for 90% of the background was a good choice, they proved they know how to do colour with the rest of thee game be it the web pages or the character profile shots, if they had of gorn with something in more of a deeper shade it could have worked well but with just the dull lifeless pale blues they weren't winning me over with visuals sadly, which hurt because they did such a good job everywhere else , 5/10 


Now im the sort of guy who loves digging into things, always have, i like to understand why people do what they do, why things work like they do, and knowing what people are doing gives me a sense of reassurance that nothing will surprise me, so when i got to dig through page after page looking into Cassandras life and figuring out what made her tick and why she is the person she is... oh boy did i get excited, its the most fun playing a detective puzzle game i have had since playing L.A Noir years ago , which to this day i hold as the greatest puzzle game i have ever played, so it should be a surprise when i give Orwell a 7/10 

 Basic napkin math will tell you that's a 66.6% repeater of a score, which looks pretty low but dont let that fool you, the game lost a lot of score in the visual department, but if you can look past the dull lifeless colour of the back ground long enough to get engulfed into the world that is Orwell i dont think that will matter to you which is why i strongly recommend that you head over to either their 

to go and get your copy of Orwell right now i know ill be on the edge of my seat for a week waiting for part 2 to come out 

------Lucas Cause

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