Review by ElderGamer
"More of a story than a game."
Anachronox combines two genre’s adding the worse parts from both areas. It’s whole theme is derived from console style RPG’s, borrowing their strong sense of character development and heavy use of dialogue.
It also incorporates several familiar pieces from adventure styled pc games. Mainly, the fetch-item type quests and puzzles.
Let’s begin with just moving around in the game. This is a huge pain. The camera is at a three-quarters overhead perspective, and can be rotated slightly from the game’s options manuals. However, the problem comes with movement; and namely, the camera’s lack of.
Whereas in most console games the camera freely rotates around you, or at least gives you some control over it’s movement. Here, you’re forced to walk around with arrow keys and blindly rotate the camera with your mouse. Leaving you often with the perspective of staring into the corner as your character runs toward the screen.
The game uses the old Quake II engine for it’s character models, and it really shows with their blunt, angular faces and limbs. However the backdrop and open vistas in which the characters move around really shine. (When you can get the camera to move accordingly)
90% of the game is spent walking around and talking to characters. The dialogue is sharp, witty and never repetitive from character to character.
However you’d think in a game that at least calls itself a role-playing game there’d be a large slew of enemies to fight through, right? Not the case; expect to go through no more than 20 or so battle on each planet/scene you visit. Compare this to the 100s or 1000s of battles found in most RPG’s today.
The combat system has it’s share of flaws too. It uses the turn-based style found in most console styled RPG’s, but combat here seems to drag on far too slow and with little challenge here either. I can count only a few battles during the game when I was required to use any sort of healing or assistance items whatsoever.
Add this to the fact that the game telegraphs most of the enemies attacks (watch for the poisoned status icon to appear over your character during the enemy’s battle animation) takes away any of the surprise or thrill of combat.
The rest of your time is spent walking around talking to characters. Here’s where the quests come in. Although most of the side-quests in the game aren’t even worth completing as their rewards (Usually only a small cash reward) are so miniscule to make it not worth your effort.
Completing the side or main plot quests require no challenge either, no complicated item merging or puzzles like in most adventure games. Rather, you’re just required to talk to Person A, then Person B, then back to Persona A in order to finish. Boring and meaningless.
Anachronox does have a lot going for it. The in-game cinema tics have a wonderful ‘cinema’ feel, using great directorial angles and perspective. The voice actors are also equally fitting within the game.
Unfortunately though you often get the feeling you’re just clicking the mouse, advancing the text so you can see the next piece of the plot. Reading an interactive novel of sorts, rather than playing a game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 09/13/01, Updated 09/13/01
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