A New Beginning
for PC

Wandrell:Popular Vote:
Company: Daedalic Entertainment
Year: 2010
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Apocalypse / Cartoon & Comic / Science Fiction
Language: English, Deutsch, Francais, Italiano, Castellano
Licence: Commercial
Views: 54545
Review by Wandrell (2013-04-10)

It's an old custom that worlds should die in a spectacular fashion, and this time it's the turn for solar flare to destroy all life on the planet. Of course, there are people who want to stop that from happening and they go for the obvious solution: traveling back in time to convince people they should save their ecosystem and invest in renewable energy sources.

What does all this renewable energies thing have to do with the apocalypse scenario? A big part of the plot revolves around some algae which can generate high amounts of H2, and so the big big Phoenix plan of the future people is about going back in time to tell people nuclear power is dangerous and such algae are wonderful. Sadly, things go wrong, they miss the target and end in an even worse post-apocalyptic time. But two of the survivors manage to get things running and this time they arrive in our time. These survivors are Fay, the main character, and Salvador, an important support character, who is part-time tough survivalist, part-time militaristic murderer and full-time creepy asshole.

The not so distant future

At this point here comes the old scientist, Doctor Svensson, who had to give up his life-long research because, being a workaholic, it destroyed his personal life. Imagine it, living in an old hut next to a lake, your biggest problem being your psychiatrist and her silly counsels until suddenly a weird girl comes babbling about time travel.

Still she is sure that, somehow, she will manage to convince the old man that his research is really important to save the world, so important that he has to go back to the marine investigation platform to save his research. Of course, said attempts to convince include an impressive showcase of how in the near future the mother nature will unleash her fury, starring tornadoes, floods and even volcanoes, giving the feeling that all this biosphere degradation thing is just for flavoring. Even more when you find out this all started due to an impressive nuclear explosion in the middle of the Amazon forest.

It's like you are telling a scientist to keep working on his cancer cure, otherwise there would be a spontaneous combustions epidemy. But after all, I suppose this has to be expected from a game which sells itself as “a cinematic adventure-thriller done graphic novel-style”.

The end of the world

To put it on laymen's terms, they mean this is a graphical adventure, with some comic panels for cutscenes (like Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father or Noctropolis), some voice acting (and I mean some voice acting) tagging along the usual interface. This comic style is nice, all the characters and rooms are well drawn, and very well animated. Even though I'm not completely convinced about the american cartoon style it concretely uses. Sometimes the expressions look too exaggerated, and the characters are in an awkward middle point between cartoony and realistic (look at Fay and her forward-combed backbone), but nobody can deny it is, by far, the game's strongest point.

Voice acting on the other hand is nothing to write home about. You know when they decide that a film has to have a beautiful main actress, no matter if she is able to act or not? Well, this feels the same, just that this time the main character is a drawing. So you could say they have spent all their money on drawing a beautiful main character, and forgot about paying the voice actress.

Seriously, sometimes it changes the meaning of what they are saying completely. There was a point where I actually thought Fay was going to reveal herself as some kind of murdering saboteur, when really she was just making a self-destructive comment. But in the middle of a life or death situation, where all your hopes are being destroyed, it's not the same breaking apart and losing faith in your efforts than saying, like a robot, that you did all this.

Balancing things a bit, I would say the interface offers what is to be expected in an easy to handle and understand way. Only notable thing is that you can press space to show all the interaction points, making pixel hunting, or even just looking around aimlessly for something to check, a problem of the past. On the other hand, it makes the puzzles even more simple. Not that they are easy, at least not all of them. And I mean easy in the sense of sensible and following real world logic, because applying game logic solves most of them. Sometimes I got surprised not only because the solution of the puzzle was silly, but for understanding such a weird logic.

At the medical center

One of the examples is the stamp puzzle. The medic is behind a curtain checking Fay, but he forgot to put the stamp on Svensson's medical report. You could go and ask the medic to finish the bureaucratic work, but as that is for pussies you go on your own to solve the problem. It would be really easy if the ink for the stamp had not dried. And again, real men don't try to get new ink, they steal a blood sample and use it instead of the ink. Just like real life. Just I don't know whose real life.

And that's not the only puzzle which bids farewell to the realms of logic. Having to break a microwave oven because its existence stops an antenna from working still confuses me. This is clearly a part of the game they could have put more effort into, trying to make the puzzles harder. But I think they aimed more to sell the plot, which, after all, that's where they get the thriller and adventure parts.

Have I commented that there is a sort of bad guy in the game? Indez, CEO of an energy company. He has built a huge nuclear central in the middle of the Amazon forest, which is also his head office, and includes his own private army. They comment something about this being a plan to give cheap energy to all South America, but looks more like the fortress of some James Bond villain.

Yes, it's in the middle of the rainforest

Add to it his plan to destroy the algae just because maybe there is a small possibility of it being able, with luck, and I mean lots of luck, to compete against him. So he has two options, buying or destroying the research, and obviously goes for both, the most spectacular way possible.

This goes along with a recurring theme of attempting to make a Hollywood film, characters should be bigger than life, things should happen non-stop and you must get some revealing twists to keep you tight on your chair. The easy puzzles would fit in this, because otherwise you would stop to think and see how the details on the plot do not work, even if the general idea does.

I won't comment on those due to spoilers, instead I'll talk about what's a curious thing in the story. You know, on cinema there are basically two kind of sciences, that of adventures, where things have to be flashy, and that of thrillers, where science has to work or suspense will break.

Fay and her future magic would be the first kind of science, while Svenson, with a closer to reality approach, would be the second. There is one part at the beginning which presents all this, when Fay explains Svensson she had to swap some laser filter to change it from red to blue, so it would get stronger. Svensson, knowing a bit about these things, comments that the modification would actually make the laser weaker, but she answers something like “Oh, well, what would I know” and keeps going with the tale.

That represents a recurring theme on the game, Fay will come always with the adventure and action-girl solutions, which will go against the vision of the world you get when playing as Svensson. Using a VHS cassette taken from a museum for getting “correctly dated atoms” would make no sense with a guy who uses science in the pursuit of truth, not to survive strange perils.

After all this I'm still unsure what to say about this game. Maybe I could sum it up saying it could have been done better. It has some nice ideas, and allows itself to be easily played, even thought this comfortable design may go against it.

Perhaps just saying that I played it until the end, and only got frustrated with the binoculars puzzle (I still think it makes no sense), which you can actually skip, tells something good about it. The main characters are likable, Fay and her immature idealism tagged along Svensson cynical view of life take most of the game.

So, true, this is not a marvel, but a game doesn't need to be perfect to be fun, does it? And no matter the end result, this is a laudable attempt at reviving an old genre, much better than many other adventure games which have been done in the latest years.

Comments (5) [Post comment]

Mr Creosote:
What the fuck? Is this supposed to be serious?
I am just a Guest ;):

I have not seen the game but by the description I want to say that I already saw a counterdiction of sorts in something that has very little to do with the game and probably a lot too.

If global warming was true... Spray water all over your house, I mean, over places that get wet when it rains but do it on a very warm sunny day, then think about it, the sea is full of water and there is more water there then you can imagine so this planet will very difficultly get global warming from an inside source, you can feel a little better when farting because you are not the cause of "global warming".
If everybody did the same in a country on a warm sunny day it will transform the day in to a cool day.

Anoter test is, stand in a shadow on a sunny day and only expose your hand in to the sunlight for a minute... you will see that your hand will be pretty warm, so what warms the planet is the sun, not your fart.

In other words, the ecosystem does not have anything to do with the warmth the sun give off.
So, taking care of the ecosystem will not save the planet from sunburn...and your fart can hardly cause sunburn to anyone... although it might stink and I do not want to smell it o.O

If a solar flare kills everybody then... WTF do you have to care about the ecosystem for? It is the SUN that makes the heat... and the sun is not something you can splat coffee on or fart at, it is out of human reach so far, so it is not your fart that heats the planet... it is the sun rays that heat the planet because the sun, such as it is, makes heat and light.

I do not say kill the ecosystem, im just saying, people brainwash others everyday in order to make them believe in global warming... if you want you can search more information about this farce and who and why they publish it so much, it has very nasty implications, it can make Hitler justify his mass murders very easily, because, "all those peoples farts were warming the planet and contributing to global warming"... thinking like this is very dangerous.

Go take a drive thru Arizona or Texas and you will see that the world is FAR from over populated... Look up the "Georgia Guidestones" and read the "first commandment" on them... it says, maintian human population at halve billon people... Today we are about 7 billion people on the planet... what has to happen to the other 6 billion and a halve humans currently present??? they have to die? yep, according to the masonic sect me, you and maybe our entire families have to die... these people are unbelievably sick and they have money and power to actually achieve their objectives and it really annoys, they have the money and the power, why do they have to try to eliminate everyone else and everything on the planet?

If they make laws on the farce of "global warming" then they can close food production plants for "violation of the globbal heating act" or something of the kind... and then people will start dying of hunger and you will loose your prosperity.
The less food, the less people, they literally force depopulation by reducing the available food. Search Builder Berg Group

If you want to save yourself from wrinkles you might want to consider water as a source to block the negative rays of the sun. You might also consider lead... yep, that is why the guy atending the X-ray machine in the hospital has a lead apron on. Maybe try concrete, it also blocks the X-rays.

That is right, during the entire day you get riddled right thru by the sun's X-rays, it literally shoots zillions of tiny little holes thru your skull everyday and your skin feels the force of the holes blown thru you and the older you get the less your body recovers of the holes blown in to it... and those holes are the ones causing the wrinkles :O

So the game might be good and all but that little thingy of ecosystem and sunrays triggered some sort of self deffence against mainstream media brainwashing in me.

Have a nice X-ray riddled day... (o.O)

Mr Creosote:
Funny. From the description, the part of the cynical, burnt-out, reclusive scientist who needs to be convinced that the world is, after all, worth saving reminded me more of War Games ;) I'd say this game sounds like an interesting hodgepodge of pop culture motifs.
Herr M.:
Originally posted by Wandrell at 16:10 on April 10th, 2013:
Salvador, an important support character, who is part-time tough survivalist, part-time militaristic murderer and full-time creepy asshole.

I really like this part. :D Makes him sound like a very... likeable person.

This crossover between pulp and hard science fiction sounds pretty much like a fairy tale: In a moralising narrative you get our mundane pseudorealistic present age, which is visited by strange beings from the magical future, that confront some people with their greater destiny, which could either lead to salvation or utter destruction, depending on wether they play by some made up rules or not. On top of that: The name of the main character actually is Fay(=Fairy)! ;)