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PC Review

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Final Cut Review

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Final Cut Review
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It’s been a while since I’ve played an adventure game like this. With all the action titles that are being produced, it was kind of refreshing to play through a slower-paced game where the focus is on solving a mystery rather than gunning down an army single-handedly, although the appeal didn’t last long with this title.In the game, you control a detective who agrees to take a case where people making a film on a remote lot are disappearing. The set for the movie is within walking distance of a huge mansion, owned by the family that has requested your services. This is where you’ll begin your adventure.You are initially briefed by a video tape recording that provides some background on the mystery at hand. You must then follow the clues that will lead you to discover the truth behind these disappearances. The reason you were specifically chosen for this a*ignment is because you’re gifted with a paranormal sight, where you receive flashes of the past that are cued by objects or settings. These flashes are presented as pre-rendered video clips that will show, for instance, why a glass on the table is now broken or why an item was left in the place it is now. These flashes are short, but a clever way to progress the story and keep the mystery interesting.As you follow the clues, you’ll work your way out of the mansion to a lake, a hotel, a church, and the film set. This is one of those adventure games where you’ll do a lot of backtracking in order to use an item you’ve recently discovered. So, when you find a key, it may not be apparent which room it goes to, so you’ll have to do some experimenting. In the beginning, a fair number of the puzzles can be solved relatively quickly. As you progress though, some of the puzzles really don’t even seem to make much logical sense. Their only purpose seems to be to keep you from progressing the story.To aid you in organizing all the data you’ll discover, you’ll have a PDA at your disposal. You’ll automatically use this for writing down information about people involved with the movie or suspicions about murders. This PDA also houses your inventory list, the main game menu, and a mini-map of the area you can use to instantly warp yourself to a location you’ve already visited.The PDA also makes the interface of the game rather simple. Just right-click the mouse to display the PDA. You can then use the mouse to navigate through all the PDA sections. You’ll also need to use the keyboard in order to move the detective through the world. The backgrounds are all 2D pre-rendered images, but you can move in 3D. The up arrow makes you walk in the direction you’re facing while the left/right arrows cause you to turn, and the down arrow causes you to step backwards. You can also hold down Shift when walking to run and press the spacebar when you want to interact with an object.What’s helpful about interaction in the world is that an icon will appear on the screen that lets you know when you can interact with an object. So, as an example, if you walk into a room and walk in front of a dresser, an icon will come up and if you press the spacebar, you’ll be taken into a search mode, where a 2D image of the dresser will be displayed, allowing you to look for clues. The mouse will be a magnifying glass and it will change when you pass it over something that can be interacted with, i.e. a drawer. If you click the drawer, it can open and there may be something in there that you can take.This is the way almost all of the clues are found in the game. Some of them are pretty basic, but others will require you to be very thorough in your search, otherwise you could miss something vital to the game. There were many times when I searched a scene once or twice and still missed something. In fact, that was one of my biggest problems with the game, I wasn’t sure how the developers expected gamers to figure out some of these puzzles. One example was a book that was on a shelf. I picked it up and opened it and there was nothing on the inside pages. However, as I found out later, if you use a knife on it, you’ll cut out the page and reveal a key. I can understand someone hiding something in a book, but the puzzle wasn’t obvious at all. And not finding something like that could lead to hours of backtracking later in the game, which is always a downer.The Final Cut isn’t a technological masterpiece by any means. The resolution is very low and the character models are fairly simple — the 2D backgrounds are probably the most detailed part of the game. I was a little surprised with the lack of video options in the game, but since this game is focused on adventure, the graphic quality plays a minor role and does well enough to get the job done.What does get some better attention is the music, which changes depending on what building or area you’re in. There’s a fairly broad range of tunes that are played that help to give a movie-like sensation to the game. You’ll hear dramatic, orchestral tracks, simple, piano tracks, as well as more modern rhythms. And they’ll always chime in with a quick musical attack when you reveal something new (i.e. a corpse).There are some problems with technical aspects of the game. One time I used a phone before I was supposed to and the message I left was about something I had not seen yet. It seems the game expects you to perform actions in a certain order and can’t compensate accurately if you don’t. I’ve also had times where my character is off-screen, but the view won’t change to show me where I am.The Final Cut is solely an adventure game. What you can expect from it is a lot of searching for clues, a lot of backtracking upon finding new items, and a lot of trial and error. The progression of puzzle solving is well done in the beginning, but near the end of the game, the puzzles become less and less obvious – expect to do a lot of aimless wandering. Gamers should not go into this game expecting an action title and advanced graphics, because that’s not what this game focuses on. This game has a slow pace and it seems targeted toward gamers with a lot of patience.

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