PC

  News 
  Reviews
  Previews
  Hardware
  Interviews
  All Features

Areas

  3DS
  Android
  iPad
  iPhone
  Mac
  PC
  PlayStation 3
  Vita
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Media
  Archives
  Search
  Contests

 

80 Days

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Tri Synergy
Developer: Frogwares
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

From a graphical standpoint, 80 Days isn't the most advanced game the PC has seen, however that is not where its strengths lie. Instead, atmosphere and presentation are what help to rocket 80 Days from "good" to "great". Its clear that art direction and design, two elements that seem to be glossed over in some other big name games, are the real stars here and state a strong case for people who argue that even the most advanced graphics engines are nothing without good art design. The small details like weather and little in-joke Easter Eggs scattered around each city help to bring the larger picture to life.

Every environment you go through may not look like a perfect replica, but it certainly has the genuine feel. As I went through each location, I almost got the same feeling I do while walking through the countries at EPCOT Center; you don't see everything, but you certainly get a taste of the culture. Environments aren't the only item touched by details as the characters look just as good. Animations are also well done, though I did run into a few minor snags of slowdown. However, this could just as easily have something to do with my system and not the game itself.

Music and sound effects only push the immersion even further and come off with nary a hitch in production. Similar to the visual presentation, the aural one has a very "Disney"-like quality; almost as if you're in some giant themepark attraction. And, just as with the graphics, this is nothing but a good thing.


Gameplay:

80 Days is loosely based on the Jules Verne novel, “Around the World in 80 Days”. As Oliver Lavisheart, you agree to help your uncle, Matthew, prove that he really did invent a set of inventions. However, in order to do this, Oliver needs to travel around the world and collect clues and other items in order to make a case. The catch is that he must also do this in 80 days, otherwise the bet is lost and his uncle is ruined.

As you follow in your Uncle’s footsteps, you’ll discover secrets about his past life as an adventurer. You’ll also take part in a wide variety of tasks like helping an archeologist on a dig, exploring an ancient temple honoring the Snake God, help produce a Bollywood production and fly the world’s largest airship. However, trouble is always just a few steps ahead of you, as you’ll also have to outsmart and avoid traps set by rivals who would rather see your Uncle disgraced.

Once again, 80 Days really sells the experience of you traveling to locations around the world, including Egypt, Japan and even America. Travel and puzzle-solving are the game's main elements. Depending on which city you're in, you'll come across different vehicles that somewhat represent the area's culture, such as a flying carpet or elephant. At other times, you'll run across more fanciful modes of transportation like a giant wheel that you can ride in. Once inside a vehicle, you can travel just about anywhere within the city while en route to your next objective, which is always just a "Tab" button click away.

While the puzzles involved in your quest are varied, they do get a little boring and some are outright tedious. Many of the puzzles you'll encounter are your run-of-the-mill Adventure genre standards, though its clear that a little more thought went into at least trying to make them more interesting. Another good thing is that most, if not all, of the puzzles make some logical sense within the game. In other words, you won't find yourself searching the world for some random red jewel in order to unlock the door of a mansion. Still, a few tasks do feel a little tedious since they require multiple steps.


Difficulty:

Before going any further, I need to make something clear. While I love Adventure games, I'm not a pro at them. For one reason or another, there are certain parts of my logic center that just don't click as well as they do for others. Ask me to plan and lead a four-man assault team into the heart of an enemy compound and I'll do it with relative ease. Ask me to solve a puzzle and I take a little longer. With that said, I found 80 Days to be a nice challenge. Puzzle and task difficulties had a nice slope to them that allowed me to get the hang of things while at the same time giving me something to work against. Hardcore adventure gamers, like J.R. Nip, might find some tasks a little easier than most, but you'll find that in just about any genre.

Game Mechanics:

When you first pop it in, or even look at screens, 80 Days looks much more like an action game rather than a traditional adventure title. But, as always, looks can be deceiving as 80 Days is a full-blown adventure game that just happens to have a few action elements included.

The game's controls are pretty easy to grasp and help to vault you into your quest really quickly. Just as it looks, the game controls like an action game. The W, A, S, D control scheme, which should be familiar to PC gamers by now, is your main mode of getting around while the mouse controls most of your other actions, which really consist mainly of walking, talking and the occasional jump. Now, before saying "Jump! How is this NOT an action game?!?!", know that while there are areas where you will have to jump, they aren't the do-or-die leaps of faith found in other games. It's merely a way to add a little more excitement and life to the game.

Driving vehicles adds a completely different element to the game. All work on the same fundamental control engine, so there are no awkward transitions between each. The only difference in handling is the physics of each. Controls are a little slicker on the quick magic carpet then they are in the mini-car.

Other action elements also find their way into 80 Days. Many of the tasks you'll have to complete can be accomplished in more than one way -- adding some variety. You can brashly charge into situations or take more round-a-bout ways if you'd rather. Multiple solutions around problems are meant to help build in a little replay value, though I really didn't find the pull all that great. After completing the game, I didn't find myself wanting to jump right back in and try the same sequences in different ways.

In the end, 80 Days is a fun, innovative adventure game that combines the best parts of action and adventure games into one package. Best of all, it's something that nearly anyone in the family can enjoy -- a trait that is rare in most games released these days.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



N/A
 

Test System:



Windows XP, Pentium 4 1.8 GHz, Radeon 9250 256 MB, 40 Gig HD, 640 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0

Sony PlayStation 2 Soul Calibur III Windows Age of Empires III

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated