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Welcome to the first of several Raptor Chats we had this holiday season. What are Raptor Chats? Well we had topics here we wanted to discuss that didn’t fit the way we wanted to do the awards this year. So for these, people signed up to discuss the topic they wanted via email. Over a period of two weeks we discussed the topics in email chains – some of them came together, some of them didn’t.

Today’s Raptor Chat is on the Adventure Games of 2014. If a game was not mentioned – it isn’t because it was bad, just these people didn’t think of it or haven’t played it. These are the authors opinions on their own, and on some things they may very well disagree.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father

Perry Ruhland
2014 marked the return of one of my favorite adventure heroes, Gabriel Knight. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father has always been a game I considered one of my all-time favorites, and the remake knocked it out of the park with a wonderful new OST and art style. However, it really was a shame that Tim Curry and Mark Hamill didn’t reprise their roles as Gabriel and Mosely respectively.

Marc Flink
I’ll definitely have to get around to that one. I’m a fan of the original, and I actually had no idea they were even remaking it.

Don Parsons
On Gabriel Knight – it’s on my backlist as well. It looks excellent, and I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t just move it to the top of the list more or less as it appears to be a great remake. Also worth bringing up its spiritual successor that was released earlier this year by Jane Jensen in Moebius, though that had more mixed reviews.

Broken Age

Marc Flink
How about Broken Age? It’s been a long time since I played it. It came out really early this year, so it might be easy to forget. I thought it was a good experience as well, though I was a bit disappointed with the puzzles and it really doesn’t live up to some of the classics, which it was sorta made to seem like. A really good adventure game nonetheless, and I’m keenly anticipating the second act. Maybe it’s a bit weird to mention it since it isn’t *really* finished, but I think the first act is good.

Don Parsons
I haven’t played Broken Age myself, but I heard the first half was good. On the other hand, its still unfinished because Double Fine is … well Double Fine. They have a unique skill at mismanaging money.

Dreamfall Chapters

Don Parsons
Dreamfall Chapters is one I can speak well of. It’s only got one episode out – like Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands – but it’s very good. They did an excellent job with story time to start off with and the story plays very well. Europolis is a fascinating place to explore as was the storytime. The story handled its themes very well and used them to establish characters. Compared to Telltale it has more classic point and click adventure game play which is nice while maintaining narrative depth. The biggest innovation they did is in my opinion adding the character’s thoughts over the dialogue options narrated so if you select that option you know what thought line the character is going down. It deals with the classic ‘hit a button and not know what comes out’ dialogue wheel. My only issue was how little time we spent in Arcadia and with Kian as they weren’t really established much.

Blackwell Epiphany

Don Parsons
Blackwell Epiphany is I think another that has to be brought up. It concludes Wadjet Eye Games Blackwell series with another good entry to the series, putting the mixture of puzzles, characters, and story that the genre is known for. Blackwell is a supernatural investigative story with retro style graphics and a limited budget that has been going for 8 years now. Epiphany brings it all to a close with a very good story and some standard point and click mechanics that takes advantage of the double act of Rosa and Joey (Rosa being someone who can see and talk to ghosts – Joey being her ghost companion). Its not perfect, but its a good conclusion to this long running series from one of the better developer/publishers in the field.

The Wolf Among Us

Marc Flink
I took a chance with The Wolf Among Us. I didn’t really care much for the setting in The Walking Dead which strangled my enjoyment of Telltale’s other adventure game series, but I really really enjoyed The Wolf Among Us. I think the setting, story and characters really made it special. It’s not much of a traditional adventure game, and I’m still not sure what to think of the Telltale formula of adventure games, but I really enjoyed my time with The Wolf Among Us.

Don Parsons
I think Telltale games are really closer almost to a Western Visual Novel in a lot of ways with their interactive fiction/adventure story telling and different paths. While they are obviously more mobile and less text heavy then a Visual Novel the same type of focus on story telling style, choices and characters remain. I found The Wolf Among Us to be really fun and have liked playing as Bigby Wolf in a different type of setting – but I like most Telltale games in general.

Later

On Wolf Among Us as I said I finished it and I have to say that I think it’s the best of the Telltale games I’ve played so far. There are several rich characters in it who’s interactions matter. Bigby is a good but flawed protagonist and one that you care for as he’s trying. The situations you are in aren’t always simple good or evil and also rely in a smart manner on mystery to create tension. What is the Farm exactly and why does everyone fear it so much – is it really right to send them there never having been there yourself or do you risk having unglamoured people around Fabletown and the rumor getting out?

I loved the ending court scene stuff which I won’t talk about too much in need to be relatively spoiler free. They however manage to capture the mob mentality and the individuals both at once in it as well as the situation and the challenges that the primary players throughout the story have faced. It serves as a wonderful capstone to it and its fitting that in a Telltale game the final challenge isn’t the fight with the second in command but instead a war of words and wills to convince people. Playing Wolf Among Us has given me even higher hopes for the Game of Thrones one despite its relatively uninspiring start because more than Walking Dead Season 1 and others it showed Telltale could write and manage a rich cast of interacting characters. Going to Walking Dead Season 2 with its single protagonist more or less at the start with little supporting cast has been a change.

Marc Flink
I’d give the “Best Adventure” title to Wolf Among Us. I really enjoyed it and I also think it’s Telltale’s best game. The whole thing was just really well done. I’ll be waiting to pick up Game of Thrones until after the next season is over. By then, I’ll be in the mood and all the episodes should be out. I guess a discount might be too much to ask for, but we’ll see! 😀

The Walking Dead Season 2

Marc Flink
Well what do you guys think of The Walking Dead Season 2?

Don Parsons
I’ve only just began it (I recently finished Wolf Among Us). So not too much to say other than the opening really caught me somewhat off guard by removing any and all support from the first game that came over. It opens up and it does a brilliant job of setting the tone that Clementine is alone here and there’s no one else she can rely on. I appreciated a touch I ran into part way through episode one where the dog you meet and who is somewhat friendly actually goes rabid when you offer him some of the food – it makes perfect sense. It’s a nice animal for the most part but giving it food and withholding the rest is just too much for it.

Later

I finished Walking Dead Season 2 now, and I stick with my choice of Wolf Among Us as better. I never really liked Kenny in Season 1, so trying to make a lot of the second half emotional punches be about him going off the rocker again just felt like playing the same tired thing, and I was wondering when can I leave this bugger. On the other hand, Walking Dead Season 2 was much more cutthroat than Wolf Among Us as a single mistake or taking an instant too long and you’re reloading. Clementine I felt was well written and presented as a tough likable survivor who has agency in the story both as herself and for the player.

Perry Ruhland
I don’t have much to say about Season 2 other than Kenny 4 life. Stuck with him Season 1, continued sticking with him Season 2.

Don Parsons
Well I have to say (Spoilers)… I killed Kenny. Kenny is an annoying hot head who is constantly going off the deep end any time things go bad. He gets into fights with anyone who’s competent other then him that dares to speak up. It doesn’t matter what the issue, or who the person is, Kenny finds a fight with them. He goes crazy obsessive over a lot of things in the game and bringing him back in Season 2 didn’t really do anything. Its the same character arc he went through in Season 1 more or less – and this time I found it more wearing down.

Perry Ruhland
You’re a monster.

Marc Flink
You killed Kenny :O YOU BASTARD! (I didn’t like him either..)


Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.