December 17th, 2016 - Jason
One of the most beloved genres of PC players from the 80s and 90s was the adventure titles. Today, while there are more than one might think, there aren’t a lot of companies that devote themselves almost entirely to the genre. Enter Daedalic, creators of some of the better known entries in the genre for the past decade, with games like Deponia, Edna & Harvey, and the much lauded Whispered World. After seven years, the last one finally got a sequel, and a gorgeous makeover.
Silence (The Whispered World 2) is a beautiful trip back to the world of Silence, with 3D character models that fit the world so much better than the 2D versions did in 2009. Honestly, that’s a bit strange to me. I absolutely adore 2D sprites compared to 3D models – see King of Fighters XIV versus XIII. It’s not hard to pick out which of the two looks better, with exaggeration on animations to the personality of characters themselves – 2D typically has more going on for it. Yet the textures, the lighting, and the models themselves look so perfect here it’s like watching a moving painting opposed to a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
The game begins in the real world, a war torn society where kids are orphaned and just trying to survive. Soon the bombs begin to fall, and you watch as the two main characters hideout as others don’t quite make it in time. It’s a pretty emotional beginning, and those emotions run through parts of the game. Of course, it’s a roller coaster of what you are supposed to feel, as there are just as many fart jokes throughout as there are tear-jerking moments. In the end though, the game pulls out a lot more emotion than the original entry, which is great considering it felt like that was the original’s intention.
The gameplay isn’t something that will have you stuck wondering what to do for long periods of time. You don’t need to backtrack to the beginning of the game to pick up an item you missed, nor do you have to worry about missing something and then not being able to progress because you didn’t find it when you were supposed to. Rather, everything you need for puzzles will be found within a few screens, and many (as one would hope) things you interact with have no bearing on the progression whatsoever. Those items serve as trophy or achievement fodder. That said, the puzzles are definitely something that newcomers will find appealing, unless they are looking for a challenge. These are hardly a challenge for veterans of the genre, even compared to recent games such as Dead Synchronicity.
One of the worst, if not THE worst parts of The Whispered World was the voice acting. While Silence is not perfect (the proof being in the above trailer), it’s certainly a big improvement on the acting front. I recall actually muting WW at some parts because it was just that bad. And this is coming from someone that enjoys the voice acting in games like Star Ocean: The Second Story. The characters you meet overall are a fun group, some much more than others, although none of them are given a whole lot of time to be known. As soon as you start to really like certain characters, kind of like another game that involves the “apocalypse,” they’re gone.
This game feels more like Daedalic wanted to tell a story than anything else. Honestly, that’s fine with me. There are plenty of developers that are taking that road, such as Telltale or Dontnod Entertainment with their most recent entry: Life is Strange. Since walking simulators have expanded from Dear Esther, it’s only natural that the platform would move in a different direction. I mean, look at the Atari RPG Adventure compared to The Witcher 3. Did we expect games in the same genre to evolve that much? It’s only natural that interactive experiences would begin to have an almost exclusive story telling genre, which was highly praised with Telltale’s Walking Dead.
While this game is heavy on story, it doesn’t tell it as masterfully as others – even other IPs from Daedalic. The art though, that may be the very reason to get this game. The world you will explore is so rich and wonderful, you’ll want to get lost in it. Honestly, I can’t wait to see future games from Daedalic for that alone – I feel like games in this style will age beautifully. If you are looking for a quick experience in a beautiful world and don’t mind a lot of challenge, it’s hard to think of a better game to the fit the bill in recent memory.
- Fun Characters
- Not Afraid of Being Immature…
- …But Doesn’t Always Know When it’s Appropriate
- No Real Challenge in Puzzles
- Not Enough Time with Characters
Silence was developed and published by Daedalic Entertainment. The game launched on PS4, X1, and PC on November 15th, 2016 for $29.99. The game was provided to us for review on X1. If you’d like to see more of Silence, check out the official site.
Here at FFoP we use a rating method that you may be unfamiliar with, so allow us to clarify. When we review a game, we see what sort of BRA fits. Buy, Rent, or Acquire is the rating we give out – we’ve boiled it down for simplicity. A Buy is worth the full retail value; a Rent is something you may want to try before you buy, or grab at a discount; an Acquire is something you can play, but we’d suggest borrowing it from someone, grabbing it in a game bundle, or some other means. If you want further clarification, please feel free to get in touch.