System: PC | Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment |
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment | Reviewed On: PC (Windows)
A New Beginning - Final Cut follows a team of scientists gallantly working to save the world from a pending climate change catastrophe - cliche right? Let's find out.
It's two weeks before a solar flare will envelop the Earth and disintegrate its climate-change-weakened magnetosphere, and a small team of scientists are discussing possible modes of longevity for humanity...
- Project Manipulation is the name, Salvation is the game.
A decision is made to use time travel technology to revisit a past where humanity is at a crossroads and can still do something to reverse the curve precipitated by climate change. A commendable theme, but one that has otherwise been exhausted many a time before, I feel...
What Daedalic Entertainment brings to the table, though, is their quirky overlay and character. The developer of titles such as Deponia and The Whispered World stays true to their signature style in this older title, projecting an air of jovial sincerity that shines through at numerous points in the game - something that is congruent throughout their vast catalogue of Point & Click adventure games.
The first notable thing apparent upon taking your first steps, aside from the old-git protagonist you appear to control being named BENT, is the way Daedalic have assembled their cutscenes. A comic strip style is used to relay short clips of the story (which may actually seem like an easy cop-out for most, as this would be the simplest thing to do), however, the style sets the tone nicely and is quite a refreshing format early on. I became quite fond of the technique later and believe it is effective - nothing more needed.
Scene 1, you are the aforementioned 'old-git Bent' before you flashback and assume the role of another protagonist, and are thrown headfirst into solving a puzzle. This act, in the initial stretch of gameplay, gives the player a chance to familiarise themselves with the controls by doing something trivial, ensuring he/she is aware of how to do things - a tutorial without feeling like one. A few minutes of Fogger repair work and you're propelled directly into the story with no dilly-dallying which is a relief. Too much frivolous or inconsequential work early on makes for a very quick and easy uninstall.
The puzzle format created by Daedalic in this title is...well, how should I say it...poor (opinion). Lacking in complexity, or seemingly direction, the puzzles can be difficult which is essentially what you want but I just feel they weren't enough for the game. Daedalic have also done the most annoying thing conceivable (to me) whereby they provide the option to skip the puzzle if it becomes too difficult / takes too long for the player to solve. Don't get me wrong, this is handy for the lazier thinkers out there who are content with 'all reward / no work', but there's nothing more satisfying to me than to finally achieve a solution on a problem you've been halted at for a period of time (sometimes requiring fresh eyes and mind).
The music of the game, without sounding overly-critical, also leaves something to be desired, although this, I feel, can be forgiven with the age of the game. Still, the music is orchestral and movie-like, as would be expected with the attempt at a film-worthy story, and fits well with the theme. It's the 'Daedalic touch' and is reminiscent of the Deponia titles (albeit a little more aged) and is of adequate tone in-line with the story. In turn, the music carries it incrementally through its escalation to fruition.
If we are focusing on the negatives, another relevant mention would be the voice-acting for ALL of the characters in this game. JESUS' WOMBAT! - it's poor. The script is average, to say the least, and I would have expected the voice acting to sublimate it in some way, but it just doesn't. Daedalic did actually get certain areas of voice acting right though and if they were going for a cheesy, old-school, William Shatner Star Trek vibe...they nailed it. If not, they flunked it.
Enough of the negatives Troy!
My apologies, I thought you were here for an impartial review, not a Daedalic affiliate's standpoint.
ARTWORK! Setting aside that the graphics of the game are merely sufficient, if not a little pleasing, for a game of this age, the artwork compliments the avatars and well...pretty much the entire thing, nicely. Everyone should know that aesthetics is a big thing for me in-game, and A New Beginning doesn't totally disappoint in this territory.
The scenery is beautifully drawn and coloured to suit a near-apocalyptic temperament and matches seamlessly with the character styling. This also unknowingly ties in with the mediocre voice-acting mentioned previously, and somehow turns that negative discontent into something slightly above tolerance. I'd go as far as to say that the artwork is the glue of this game.
To base my conclusion of the review on unfavourable aspects of the game would be wrong because, in spite of these few areas, based entirely on my personal opinion I might add, I did actually really enjoy it. The story is arguably epic (to a point) and sits right at home with redemption and deliverance, taking the player through a world plausibly yet-to-come and stirring in a well-thought-out plot twist and an unlikely hero (no spoilers here) - A recipe for success at any level.
It's a classic tale of mankind's salvation and an even more classic Daedalic Entertainment title that should be played at least once for the experience of a great story and fractals of comedic sparkle.