Developer: XII Games/Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Available: Windows PC Only
Point & Click adventures are seen by some as part of the ‘Golden Era’ of PC gaming, with LucasArts being renowned the world over, by young and old, as the kings of the genre. With games such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Sam & Max: Hit The Road being revered by gamers of a certain age, it may surprise you to know that, despite the resurgence of the Point & Click genre in recent years, I’ve never understood the allure of them. Sure, I can appreciate the humour, and I like the evolution of the genre as seen in Telltale Games’ reinvention of Sam & Max and Back to the Future, but I never felt the genre was as great as nostalgic friends and peers would have me believe it is.
Developed by XII Games and Wadjet Eye Games, two indie developers making a name for themselves with their adventure games, this five year labour of love, that promises a thrilling and complex story, could be the game to change all that, but does it resonate with me, or is it another adventure game whose allure passes me by?
STORY: Told from 4 different perspectives, Resonance begins with a bang. Well, several bangs to be exact, with rumoured terrorist attacks all over the world told within the confines of a news report. The game then takes us back to the past, and we meet the first of the four protagonists, Ed, as he’s awoken by a phone call from his boss Doctor Morales, the creator of a device that revolutionises the world’s knowledge of particle physics. After that, you are then free to advance the story in a non-linear way, with the four characters’ next steps presenting themselves. You then meet Ray, an investigative journalist sneaking around the mysterious Antevorta Project to find out what’s going on and two more members of this ‘fantastic four’, Detective Bennet and Anna Castellanos. After that it’s time to solve the mystery of who attacked Doctor Morales’ lab, and the location of his secret vault, containing all his research and findings related to a project that, in the wrong hands, could be used as a deadly weapon. Taking into account the tensions between Anna and Ed, the nightmares that Anna suffers and the unease between Ed and Anna about working with a policeman like Detective Bennet, Resonance features a well-written, and gripping, story.
GRAPHICS: At first glance, Resonance isn’t all that great to look at, with low resolutions and an aesthetic style akin to the adventure games of the early 90s. However, once you’ve spent some time with the game, you begin to appreciate that it is beautifully presented. Sure, it’s not a graphical masterpiece, but the look it takes is one that instantly works within the confines of the game.
SOUND: The voice acting to accompany the story isn’t half bad, either, and the haunting background music will get stuck in your head through sheer repetition alone. In several parts of the game, the script for overheard voice acting rises a wry smile when you use one of the other characters and walk past the conversation. Sure, the sound effects in certain areas, like when you’re using the fire escape seen in the screenshot above, sound tinny and unrealistic, but you can’t have everything on a small budget. It’s only a minor problem.
GAMEPLAY: As you’d expect from a Point & Click game, there’s plenty of puzzles to solve, and they’re all pretty well designed, ranging from practical puzzles involving fuse boxes and magnets to nightmare sequences where you stare right into the fragile nature of Anna’s mind. Adding to the complexity of the title is the fact that you control four characters simultaneously, but the difficulty doesn’t solely come from the fact you have to remember who to use where, instead, much of the difficulty comes from the clunky UI, creating an annoying situation where every time you try to solve a puzzle that requires all four characters to work as a team – which happens memorably once in the game – or a select few of them to be in the same area at once, it’s infuriatingly slow and difficult to use. Whilst not exactly game-breaking, it does take some of the enjoyment away.
LONGEVITY: With about five hours of gameplay (depending on your skill at adventure games and aptitude at solving puzzles), and multiple endings for you to get, there’s some replayability in Resonance, if you’re so inclined. If not, you just get an excellent one-time experience. It’s just a shame that, in the mad rush to the finale, some of the seemingly great choices you’re tasked with making are ignored.
VERDICT: Resonance is an excellent, well-crafted adventure game from Wadjet Eye Games, who are quickly becoming the new masters of the genre following Gemini Rue, and Vince Twelve of XII Games , who has done an excellent job with the majority of the story. However, once you get about 70% of the way through, the game disregards the choices you’ve made throughout the game in order to rail-road you into a rushed final act. Although there are some answers to be gained in the two endings, it’s still not enough to be able to forgive being shoved in their direction when the rest of the game was so well-paced. Disregarding that, Resonance is an adventure game that everyone has to try, but not everyone will fall in love with.