Finished three "adventure" games (in a broader sense) during the last week:
Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within
Emerald City Confidential
The Stanley Parable
Though in the case of GK2, that's not quite correct. I lost patience in the end and played through chapter 6 with a walkthrough, then watched the horrible showdown part on youtube. The story was nice enough to keep me interested, and the cheesy over-the-top acting and German accents were funny for a while, but with regard to the gameplay, I think GK2 does a good job to showcase bad design decisions, everything that can make point-and-click adventures frustrating as hell: pixel-hunting, really obscure puzzles without in-game hints, anachronistic spoilerish dialogue options (what? how do I know this all of a sudden when noone told me yet?), lack of consistency in gameplay (accustom the player to certain rules and procedures, then change the rules in mid-game without a hint and watch the player get stuck, ha ha), occasional railroading (you don't need to go there, there's nothing interesting over there - oh, you already dismissed that location and forgot about it? sorry, because now you'd find an essential item there that you'll be needing, even if you don't even know yet what for), and last but not least annoyingly long and tedious but timed puzzle sequences where you can fail miserably so that you have to do it again and again. I had some fun with the game and I know it's a classic, but that's certainly due to the story and the innovative if trashy FMV style, because I think the puzzle aspect in GK2 is quite horrible. I also have to add that I'm not a fan of adventure games dragging on for too long, I guess I would have been a little more lenient with GK2 if I didn't have to take a longer break from it due to its length (I started it back in autumn 2012).
Emerald City Confidential on the other hand was pretty easy and user-friendly for the most time, I only had to resort to the in-game hint function twice or so towards the ending. But it was very entertaining and well-written. I liked what it did with the Wizard of Oz and the story was interesting. It's a pity that it didn't get the polish it deserves - most room description lines are lacking voiceovers, but it doesn't seem intended because it's not true for all of them and unusual for WadjetEye games. Maybe it's due to time pressure, after all they didn't release this as an indie game. Anyway, it took me about 7 hours according to Steam, which means entertainment for a couple of evenings and in my book that's the perfect length for such a game.
Lastly, The Stanley Parable was the most enjoyable and hilarious game I've played during the last months and it had no puzzles, no challenges and next to zero gameplay. I guess that says something about my relation to "adventure" games. While I really enjoy some of the puzzles in them if they're well done, the most fun I get from experiencing a story and well-written dialogue, with some interactivity thrown in at regular intervals. By that I don't mean to say that I like watching movies disguised as games, quite the opposite. But I've got no problem with very easy point-and-click adventures that let me play through them without getting stuck, as long as they're funny and/or entertaining in the story department.
Post edited February 14, 2013 by Leroux