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Indigo Prophecy

Score: 82%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Quantic Dream
Media: CD/3
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Indigo Prophecy is one of those games that went for style over substance, but don't let that fool you into thinking there is little substance here. The 3D graphics look great as they are, but the ambient effects give the game a great feeling of the noir genre. Set in New York City during a large snow storm, Indigo Prophecy comes alive with gritty visuals and dark corridors. Flashbacks and cut-scenes are also aided by these visual aids. The overall effect is one most often seen in movies, but which works exceptionally well in this game.

The music is also well done, if you like Theory of a Deadman. Many of their songs are featured in this game, but they don't quite strike the same nerve that the graphics do. The original score is good, but there is a lack of music overall and the same tracks play at every tense/somber/dramatic/sad moment in the game. On the plus side, the voice acting and conversations are a fresh delivery from the tripe called dialogue that plagues a lot of games these days.


Gameplay:

Indigo Prophecy is another step towards the convergence of movies and video games. At the same time, however, it tips its hat to the adventure games of the nineties, but instead of carbon copying them, it takes the genre in new and innovative directions. By combining many different elements from multiple genres, Indigo Prophecy delivers the interactive cinematic experience that many games have tried, and failed, to do in the past.

Indigo Prophecyís story is a bizarre blend of murder, cults, Mayan rituals, and otherworldly organizations that control our lives. As Lucas Kane, you begin the game in a bathroom and watch yourself, as if possessed, murder a total stranger. From there, the story never slows. Lucas is constantly haunted by visions of the future, and starts to develop superhuman skills with which he fends off all manner of foe.

The playerís ability to interact with the story is what makes Indigo Prophecy such a thrill to play. For instance, after you murder the man in the bathroom, you can decide to try to cover up the grisly scene. On the other hand, if you are feeling hysterical, you can bolt out of the bathroom, past the cop sitting at a table, and into the night to try to get home as quickly as possible. Throughout the game, you are given choices like these to make, and at first it seems like they will have a huge impact on what transpires down the road. Unfortunately, there isnít any decision that you can make that will send the main story line off on a tangent. Events can happen quite differently due to your decisions, but the linear progression of the main story must always be followed. The system by which you can affect the course of the game is by no means a perfect one, but it is a step in the right direction that hopefully many games will follow.

Your interaction with characters is also capable of branching, but again doesnít send the kind of ripples down the storyline that you would like. Indigo Prophecy deals with dialogue a bit differently than other games do. Instead of being able to exhaust an entire dialogue tree, you are given a very limited amount of time to pick a topic to talk about, and you can never go back if you donít like what you hear. This makes dialogue much more interesting, but it also allows you to miss some parts of the storyline, which can lead to confusing situations down the road when people start talking about a subject that you never got the chance to hear about.

Another interesting twist that Indigo Prophecy throws at you is your ability to play as the two police officers chasing Lucas throughout the course of the game. This dynamic makes for some interesting situations, as there will be times when you spend all your effort covering Lucasí tracks only to have to undo that effort by playing as the police.


Difficulty:

Indigo Prophecy is a very immersive game, but it never seems to get challenging enough. There are very few parts that really tax the playerís ability to use the mechanics of the game, even on hard. There is the occasional frustrating part as well, but thankfully those are few and far between. Indigo Prophecy seems more concerned with drawing the player into the game rather than putting up a serious gaming challenge. Fortunately, it is still very fun to play, despite these shortcomings.

Game Mechanics:

Moving around the world of Indigo Prophecy is easily done with the keys on the keyboard. The third person perspective allows you to easily navigate each location, and the ability to move the camera around helps as well. When it comes to interaction, though, things get a bit different than you would expect. Instead of simply pressing a button to pick up an object or interact with something, you must move your mouse in whatever motion that the game tells you. For instance, using a water faucet might require you to hold down the mouse button and move the mouse to the left. Some actions require more complex movements with the mouse, such as back and forth motions or swinging the mouse in an arc. This mechanic may seem strange, but it helps immerse you in whatever you are doing, whether it is the mundane (putting on clothes) or the macabre (hiding a dead body).

When the action picks up, Indigo Prophecy yet again discards any normal means of dealing with things. Most of the time you will have to basically play Simon Says in order to keep yourself alive during an action sequence. You have a set number of lives, and if you screw up the pattern, you lose one and get to watch your character suffer some mortal injury.

Though these controls are simple enough, the transition between mouse and keyboard can sometimes get a bit dodgy. Thankfully you can remap the keys, which is practically a necessity, to make things easier.

Indigo Prophecy is not a perfect game, nor do I think it completely achieved what the developers were going for. However, when youíre aiming for the kind of target that the developers were after, even falling short of it can render some very good results. It is definitely a step in a better direction for games, and despite its shortcomings is still a title that every gamer should check out.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



800Mhz Procssor, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB Video Card, 2500 MB Hard Disk Space
 

Test System:



2.4 GHz Processor, 256 MB GeForce 6800 GT Video Card, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB Hard Disk Space

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated