Tuesday, 8 June 2010

DW: City of the Daleks

[This review cannot be mine, for clearly, as a non-UK person, there's no way I can play it...]

First tip: enter the game, change the settings to a nice quality, then restart the game. It starts blocky. Yuck. Also, when you start the game, expect to wait a minute or two on the front BBC screen. Either they are taking a while to load the game, or, like their DVDs, don't actually want to get to the actual meat of the content if they can help it.

This is a rather linear game, more a story with some interactive moments than a sprawling open sand-pit. Fine, we are here to hear Uncle Phil tell us a story. I guess. And it's one that we have encountered before. While I won't give away all the details (*cough* the Daleks have changed the past and the Doctor and Amy need to go back further and stop them *cough*), I'm not sure it would make a Quick Read, let alone an actual story. (Hmm... not sure why I'm comparing this to a book as opposed to the actual series, or even an audio. Probably because that's the more common non-tv media I deal with.) As for canonicity... that goes out the window as soon as we get to the actual City of the Daleks.

Second tip: Just because it's linear doesn't mean you can't explore. Although you're not supposed to. At various points, if you try to explore, you get a "nope, can't explore now, need to follow the plot". That said, I did get past one blocked route without it triggering, did a later bit of the plot, and screwed up the episode. Had to restart there (hint: if you enter the visualiser before fixing Amy, you may as well start from Act Two again...).

It's neat to hear actual dialog spoken by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan (and Nicholas Briggs), with their names flashed up over the highly visual rectum view. The graphics (once you up the quality) aren't bad, although there are a few rendering issues, and in one case I was on some boxes and saw my shadow... which wasn't on the shadow of any boxes. Oops.

But onto the gameplay itself. The main controls take a little getting used to, being mouse based. They do offer an arrow alternative, but it's not better, and indeed making interacting with the environment harder. This gets really annoying during the (many) stealth parts, where a bit of debris on the floor can block your movement, or you can't turn enough and start sliding across the wall.

The other main component are the minigames you need to do to bypass security, or make things, etc. Most of them are very twitch sensitive (in that if you twitch, you fail and need to start again). There is a mouse sensitivity control for the game, but I didn't play with that. I've done those sorts of things and while I did crash into the walls, etc., I got through them easily enough.

Indeed, getting through the whole game wasn't the most challenging experience. Not that this game is aimed at the hardcore gamer, and not that there weren't momemts when I went "what exactly am I supposed to do here?". This isn't going to take up hours of your time, but don't expect to be done in a few minutes either. (Actually, it did take me 2-3 hours.)

Ultimately, a diversionary experience, rather than an overwhelmingly satisfying one.



evildicemonkey said...

I am a UK resident, I have played the game therefore this review must be mine.

I endorse everthing I said in the review, it mirrors... it is my exact experience (except the exploring bug was not an exploring bug but a frequent rendering bug, several times the city disappeared and only the painted background could be seen).

Jamas Enright said...

Unfortunately, I doubt the quality of the code will improve over later episodes, as they'd need to upgrade the engine. It works mostly... but only mostly.