Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trilby's Notes

This image is fan-art, but I think it gets the point across

Trilby's Notes is the third volume in the game series: the Chzo Mythos by Yahtzee Croshaw.  These games are indie in the truest sense of the term, in that they were all put together by teams of one or even two people. As a result, the production can be somewhat lackluster if a player is accustomed to playing much larger productions.  I have been trying to keep an open mind and subdue my biases when playing these games, and I've had a good time with the Chzo Mythos.  I think they are worth the time investment.  This review may be best read in context of the other two games:  Five Days a Stranger and Six Days a Sacrifice.

Trilby's Notes featured a significant increase in production value than the previous games, and was more generously gory throughout.  This resulted in a much higher 'creepy' factor.   However, unlike the first two games, Trilby's Notes was not a point-and-click adventure.  Rather, movement was controlled with the keyboard, and actions were input using the keyboard, such as "touch painting" or "talk to man about book" or  "wipe butt with lampshade".  

I think that this mode of gameplay has it's merits- it is certainly interesting coming up with commands on my own. And I appreciate the willingness to try something new.  When it comes to solving mysteries, I found it more frustrating to come up with the proper typed phrasings,  on top of my guesses.  I couldn't tell if my solution was wrong or the syntax was wrong. Alternatively, in a point and click adventure, I can just click on everything I come across.   Perhaps I am tiring of the series in general, as this one took the longest, and I used a walkthrough most extensively.

That said, the writing is still pretty darn good, even if I didn't care for the gameplay.  Yahztee seems to have a good grasp for dialogue, and also creepy mythological nonsense.  In addition, the cinematic elements in this game are stronger, with interactive flashbacks and cutscenes used to good effect.  The overall concept for the Chzo Mythos comes together in this game, as the story is expanded beyond the limited plots of the first two.  

All in all, I think this game is more potent than the others, in terms of my player-response throughout.  But it wasn't as much fun to play.  Still, I notice that there is a fundamental difference in playing a game and having a story unfold, as opposed to simply reading a book or watching a movie.  

Only one game remaining in the series:  Six Days a Sacrifice.  I'm happy to report that Six Days returns to point-and-click form.  I'll certainly be playing that one and reviewing it here.  


Currently Playing:
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP
Sim City IV

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