Review by nez77

"Not quite the return of the Lucasarts Golden Era of Adventure Game"

Not quite the return of the Lucasarts Golden Era of Adventure Games

This game was personally my most anticipated game of the year. Like any of those drawn into this game had high hopes for this title as the old school point-and-click games genre is all but dead. As an even added bonus, some of the staff also worked on the classic Lucasarts titles, to name a few are the "Monkey Island" series, "Grim Fandango" and "Full Throttle."

The premise of the story isn't as simple as the others: you play an opera singer from Paris, Mona De Lafitte, who is held captive by a vampire, Baron Shrowdy von Kiefer in Draxsylvania. Mona dreams to return to Paris to resume her career as an opera singer. One night Shrowdy fails to return to Castle Warg, giving Mona along with her sidekick bat, Froderick, the opportunity that she has been waiting for.

Gameplay –
Although Mona lives in denial, she is in fact a vampire. Playing a vampire gives new fun abilities for the player such as turning into a bat, but also some new obstacles such as garlic.
This is a point-and-click adventure, take your time, no need to rush. Go around and enjoy every part of the scenery. In tradition of the Lucasarts-way of the genre, one cannot “die” or be “screwed over.” Despite what the characters or signs say, there are infinite attempts at one thing if it does not work. Some point-and-click games fail to have a “skip” button just to have a character walk from one side of the screen to the other, this game has it. This can also skip dialogue as well. Everything is subtitled for better understanding if needed. Best of all, there is no pixel hunting. Perhaps one of the greatest frustrations in the point-and-click genre is not finding exactly where to click or “hot spots” where the character can interact. Ever have the game that you need an item that's like finding a needle in a haystack? This will no longer be a problem in this game! Simply hold the “TAB” button and all the hot spots are revealed. I suppose this truly cuts down on the hours of gameplay, but it also cuts down on frustration. For those that are truly hardcore, just simply ignore the “TAB” button.

Story –
As the story sets in the world of vampires, one would think this may be a gruesome and dark game. Although the backgrounds are dark (the entire game takes place in nighttime), the characters are far from being dark (just as in Grim Fandango, the protagonist is a grim reaper). By and far the best part of the game is the dialogue written. Mona is generally whimsical character who can act very much like a child with her work ethic, inanimate objects, and other characters. Although Froderick is “just a sidekick,” his character is just as big as Mona's. To put it simply, Froderick is a very witty character and the perfect friend (and tool) to have in this adventure. If story was your biggest concern, during the game, you will not be disappointed. There are no “why-am-I-doing-this-fetch-quest?” concerns.

Graphics/Sound –
Looking at the screenshots, the images are rather pretty, aren't they? Unfortunately, I experienced plenty of bugs while playing this game. None of them forced the game to quit or made the game unplayable, but it looked very strange. For instance, a scene where Mona should have been sitting, but was shown sitting and standing, flashing back and forth. Or scenes where Mona is using an item and the item is floating on its own, and the worst experience is the choppiness during cut-scenes. I do not know how wide-spread this problem is, but my system is above and beyond the requirements of the game. I had set the game on its highest graphics settings. Also note that this game cannot support wide-screen gaming.

Experience may change depending on the system one plays it on, so I am posting mine:

Minimum RequirementsSystem played on
Windows XP/VistaVista
1.6 GHz Pentium 4 or higher2.5 GHz Quad-Core
512 MB RAM2.00 GB RAM
3GB Hard Drive Space1 TB Hard Drive
256 MB Graphics Card
Direct X 9.0c compatible sound card
Mouse Keyboard and Speakers

Playtime / Replayability –
This game took me over 20 hours to complete, but I have always been extremely thorough during the first playthrough. Even if I know the solution to the puzzle, I purposely take my time and observe every possible item and combine items just to try to find additional dialogue. This game also seemed shorter than the past games that I have played, but do not find this a bad thing. I have noticed that I was not as frustrated in this game as the others, mostly that there was no pixel hunting. In addition, the “world” is also not very large, making much fewer “trial-and-error” combinations and running around.
Only on the rarest occasions do I replay a point-and-click game. Almost all of these games are linear and this is no exception. At this time, I do not see any reason to replay it.

Final Recommendation –
Though this is a new game, to play this game is to take a step down memory lane. There are numerous references in this game towards Lucasarts, whether it is Star Wars franchise or the classic adventure games. The dialogue in this game is worth playing on it's own. The game is out for $29.99 and likely won't need you to upgrade your computer in the process! The hardest part is probably finding it. Anyone that misses the old point-in-click games will likely enjoy this game. I admit that I was disappointed with the game overall, I do not regret my purchase.
Sadly, I would not recommend this as an introduction into the genre. The graphics, action, and humor just are not to the level that it could have been.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/22/08

Game Release: A Vampyre Story (US, 12/02/08)

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