Thursday 18 August 2011

Gaming Reviews

Puzzle Agent 2: Return to Scoggins
Telltale Games
Available now on PC
Review by Rob Wade

It seems like just yesterday that we were travelling to Scoggins in search of a good mystery, and aside from some shockingly bad controls, I feel like we got one last time around. In fact, it was only the end of June the last time Nelson Tethers became part of our life (and if you were a puzzle fan, probably your game collection as well). Indeed, many of the problems I experienced with the game were control-related, so I was optimistic that this game would prove a more simple experience, which it did in more ways than one.

First things first, on PC this game controls beautifully. Players have a standard point and click interface, with a really clean and easy to use interface. In addition, rather than the button press system on PS3 which would bring up the list of available hotspots (that’s a software QA term, if you didn’t know), on PC clicking somewhere on the screen will do a little radar mode which shows all the nearby spots. It’s a nice way of doing hint systems, and I’ve played enough of them to know that there are some horrendous examples out there.

The most unsurprising thing here is that the game falls very much into the “more of the same” category when it comes to graphics, sound, music and gameplay. The style is still the same, with the same pencil-sketch style from the first game, which still doesn’t hold up at close range, looking oily and blurry. The downside in this one is that there’s plenty of close-ups. The sound and music are largely unchanged, only to have some extra voices for new characters. They all do their job pretty well. The game’s strength is still in its writing and its puzzles. The story is engaging all the way through, with a really nice surreal development of the Scoggins story.

The puzzles are an interesting one, and a bit of a mixed bag if I’m honest (and I *suppose* you’d want me to be). On the one hand, the puzzles are significantly more accessible because of more of a focus on the visual puzzles which show you the progress you’re making before you submit the solution. On the other hand, the result is a much easier (and as a result shorter) game. I mean, the game *feels* shorter, but that may have been a symptom of playing it through in one sitting.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Graphics: The same generally good quality as the previous game, still oily-looking close up as well though.
Sound/Music: The same music from the previous game, and the same really good voice acting quality from the last game.
Gameplay: Not really much to surprise you here. Point and click gameplay with a really easy-to-use interface.
Lasting Appeal: Unlikely you’ll want a second playthrough. Summary: Well worth picking up if you like the puzzles. 7/10


Welcome to Low Town.

Here, the criminal is king. The streets are filled with the screeching of fish hags, the cries of swindled merchants, the inviting murmurs of working girls. Here, people can disappear, and the lacklustre efforts of the guard ensure they are never found.

Warden is an ex-soldier who has seen the worst men have to offer; now a narcotics dealer with a rich, bloody past and a way of inviting danger. You'd struggle to find someone with a soul as dark and troubled as his.

But then a missing child, murdered and horribly mutilated, is discovered in an alley.

And then another.

With a mind as sharp as a blade and an old but powerful friend in the city, he's the only man with a hope of finding the killer.

If the killer doesn't find him first.

Thanks to our friends at Hodder & Stoughton, we've got three copies of The Straight Razor Cure to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Thursday 25th August, making sure to put "Straight Razor" as the subject. The first two entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Straight Razor" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

The Straight Razor Cure is available now, courtesy of Hodder and Stoughton.

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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