A New Beginning – Final Cut Review
What is the peak of insolence? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that selling basically the same product with a subheading “Final Cut” is pretty damn close. In 2011 Daedalic Entertainment has publish A New Beginning in English, an adventure game that generally got rather positive reviews. In December 2012, a new version of this game emerged on Steam: A New Beginning – Final Cut. So what goodies and enhancement does this edition contain? Well, Steam achievements, Mac OS X support and translation into seven languages. Lame? Yeah, you bet.
A New Beginning – Final Cut doesn’t have any new locations, characters, puzzles or dialogues, so if you’ve played the original version there is really no point in buying the game or even reading about it. Still, if you’ve never had anything to do with this title, you are most welcome to keep on reading and satisfy your curiosity.
The game has two main heroes and one of them is an embittered scientist called Bent Svensson, who spends his retirement on doing nothing productive. He devoted his whole professional career to developing a technology that would enable to acquire energy from a special kind of algae, but the project didn’t produce any satisfying results. One day, a young woman, Fay – another protagonist, visits him, claiming that she comes from a gloom, distant future and only Svensson’s algae can prevent the ecological catastrophe. Obviously, Bent calls her a loony, but the more girl tells him about her adventures, the more convinced he becomes to give it a try once again. So the unlikely tandem join their forces to save the world from extinction.
That’s the premise of the story, encompassing eight chapters and letting us play as both Fay and Bent interchangeably. The plot is rather interesting, showing the events from two different points of view. We’ll be able to traverse such unique locations like San Francisco after the apocalypse, a scientific conference in Oslo or a nuclear power plant. When Fay delves into her futuristic account, Bent occasionally interrupts her, trying to prove that she’s crazy, which gives some flavour to the story. The woman, on the other hand, comments systematically on the present world. Still, I had an impression, especially near the end, that the game is aimed at younger audience, since some events or NPCs’ behaviour was unrealistically naïve. Another gripe I have with this game is all that ecological background. The topic is obviously important and worth some discussion, but A New Beginning treats it in a dead serious way, shoving in our faces slogans about saving the world all the time. It gets old very quickly and makes the dialogue terribly boring and artificial. Many games reek of pathos, but here instead of a waving Star-Spangled Banner we have the Greenpeace flag, which is as much annoying.
The puzzles in the game are predominantly inventory-based and require using previously gathered objects in right spots. Nothing unusual for the genre. The difficulty level is not really high but some absurd item combinations do happen. Fans of more demanding challenges will have the possibility to prove themselves in tasks such as assembling an antenna or turning off valves. However, there’s a loophole for more lazy players – if you have trouble with a puzzle, after a few minutes an option to skip it becomes available. It’s a good thing, since both casual and more advanced gamers will be happy.
The characters speak a lot and often during a dialogue or a cut-scene we can choose which line we want our hero to say. Since we are presented with a choice, it would be understandable to expect that the choice actually matters. Unfortunately, it isn’t so. It doesn’t make any difference which option we pick. There is just one correct line and the story won’t progress until you indicate it. It’s a shame to see such potential wasted.
The graphics are without a doubt a highlight of the game. Beautifully drawn, diverse locations full of details remind us of The Whispered World. Cut-scenes are more controversial, though. Instead of movies, here we have comic strips with slightly animated frames. The idea is not so bad, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The animations in the game are generally ugly. The characters move in a horribly unnatural way. Really, for a second I was wondering if Fay has some sort of a spine condition. Lip-synch is also dreadful. Speaking of dubbing, it’s nothing to write home about. Average at best, makes it hard to really grow attached to the characters. The music in contrast is rather good.
The biggest flaw of this game that sadly wasn’t improved in any way in the “Final Cut” edition is the translation. The game was originally published in German and it shows. The text is simply infested with mistakes and reading through dialogues often makes you cringe at grammar blunders or typos. Really, did someone even proofread this? I don’t think so.
All in all, I really expected A New Beginning: Final Cut to be something better. It’s not a terrible game but by no means it’s as good as for instance already mentioned The Whispered World. If you’re a fan of adventure games you may give this production a chance and spend around twelve hours, saving the world, even if you don’t care about the environment one bit. Just don’t be a fool and don’t buy the Final Cut version if you already have the original.
+ Beautifully drawn graphics
+ Plot interesting enough
+ Pleasant music
+ Two different characters we can play
– The animation could have been better
– A lot of mistakes in translation
– Wasted potential of picking the lines during conversations
– Too much pathos
– Nothing really changed in the game since the original was released