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    maly

    Louisiana Adventure Review

     

    A few very good adventure games that stirred the imagination and wallets of the genre fans had been released during the past few months, just to mention The Cave, Testament of Sherlock Holmes, Primordia or The Critter Chronicles. In this vast ocean of information, enthusiasm and rave reviews it was easy to overlook less prominent and more humble productions. One of them was Louisiana Adventure made by SilverPlay Entertainment. Does this title deserve more attention than it got? Well, how to put it nicely… not necessarily.

     

    From the very beginning Louisiana Adventure does a poor job to make us feel engrossed in the situation. Without any intro or anything, we’re just getting thrown right into the game, where we play as an anonymous blonde chick. Only after taking a peek into our journal we find out that it’s actually year 1902 and Katie, our heroine, is an agent of the Bureau of Special Investigation. We get even more information from our boss, with whom we have a long chat. Recently, three brutal and mysterious murders were committed in New Orleans and apparently some supernatural forces were involved. Katie’s task is to find out what really happened and arrest the culprit even if he was Satan himself. The protagonist finally arrives at the city and she immediately hears about another murder that took place at the hotel on the outskirts. She decides to fake being a tourist and sound the situation out. By the way, am I the only one who thinks that a young, lonely woman wearing trousers sticks out from the crowd of 1902 like a sore thumb? Not the best way to avoid attention or suspicions. Anyway, this is the starting point of the investigation…

     

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    …which doesn’t have a lot in common with what investigation should be. All the time I had an impression that instead of diving right into the murder case – collect evidence, inquire, research – I had to waste my time on running some stupid errands for NPCs, tinkering with some pointless mechanisms or dealing with forced puzzles. Yes, I know this is precisely how almost every adventure game works but I’ve never before been bothered by that as much as here. Maybe it’s the fault of the story, which is chaotic, and the main plot is rather blurry. The action unfolds in a truly mysterious ways and new characters appear out of nowhere. What’s more, some events or people’s behaviour doesn’t make much sense. While playing Louisiana, I used to mumble to myself “what?”, “how?”, “why?” “huh?” all the time (I have a mighty urge to drop the spoiler bomb, must resist…). Just add to all of this no tension whatsoever and zero emotional attachment to the characters and you’ll have a typical average game, which may not be a total disaster, but you won’t remember it in T-minus ten minutes after finishing it. Play it, beat it, forget it forever.

     

    Louisiana Adventure is a third person perspective (TPP) game. We can play using only the mouse or – more conveniently – the mouse with the assistance of the keyboard. Arrow keys are used the move Katie around ad mouse changes the angle of the camera. Mouse wheel is used to zoom in and out the view. There is no option to highlight the hotspots, so we have to traverse the locations on our own and look everywhere for items. When we get closer to something interesting, a special icon appears on the screen. After clicking the left mouse button, a menu unfolds and we can chose what we want to do: use an item, talk, steal et cetera. Pressing “I” on the keyboard opens the inventory. Apart from the items that we gather, it holds also the journal where we can read jumbled notes about our current objectives. We can check there also Detective Points (achievements of sorts) and the attitude of NPCs towards Katie.

     

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    Conversations constitute the big chunk of the game. The characters will like us or not, depending on the dialogue options we chose. We can be  as good as gold or prone to throw insults all around. If we befriend someone he or she will gladly share some information with us, but on the other hand if they hate our guts it’s easier to intimidate them and get what we want. Thanks to that, in theory you can finish Louisiana several times, joining the dark side of the force or the light one, but I found it hard to believe that anyone would really want to struggle with Louisiana more than once when there is so many better games available. Time for a trivia – to begin a new game you actually have to uninstall Louisiana and install it again, because there is no such option in the menu. That’s how the creators believed in the replayability!

     

    The game itself is not really demanding, mainly because we’re stuck in a given location until we’re done with everything. No switching between places at will. Locations are not excessively big and the hotspots are scarce, so we can easily beat the game in one evening. Most of the puzzles are inventory-based but we can find here also other challenges like switching levers in the right order or placing pawns in different colours on the board (twice, more variety, please?). I have to mention here a bug in the piano puzzle near the end that crashes the game. The developers had released a patch to fix that issue but apparently it doesn’t work for everyone. There’s, however, an easy way to overcome this issue, so ask uncle google should you encounter this problem. Still, more unnerving was getting kicked out to the desktop a few times while trying to make a save. Now that’s just mean.

     

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    Louisiana Adventure was made in full 3D. The graphics is passable, though the locations are devoid of any life and empty, whereas the characters look quite unattractive, barely human at times. The animation is stiff, which can be seen especially while we turn our heroine around. What’s more, the camera tends to go crazy in small rooms. Occasionally, we can see some funny glitches like people levitating above the floor. Speaking of paranormal abilities, all the characters are apparently telepaths, since they do not move their lips while talking. Too bad that the woman who speaks in the tutorial couldn’t stay quiet. Her manner of speaking was really annoying. Dubbing in general is neither good nor bad. Only Katie sets herself apart positively. The music is just like the whole game – average, it’s hard to remember even half a note from the score. I have a vague memory of something jazzy, but no wonder – it’s New Orleans after all. Yeah, well, in 1902 this genre didn’t exist yet but neither did maidens in trousers. Suspension of disbelief mode on.

     

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    I won’t lie, I honestly thought that Louisiana would be every bit as terrible as Dead Mountaineer’s Hotel (which, believe me, was awful). To my infinite relief, it wasn’t so. Still, it doesn’t mean that the game was good, because it wasn’t. I don’t really feel like being excessively cruel towards it, though. For a low-budget production it’s quite okay. If you’re dying of boredom you may give Louisiana a chance. In any other case it’s better to invest time and money into something better.

     

    FINAL SCORE: 4,5/10

     

    Pros:

    You can play it relatively painlessly

    The system of people’s attitudes towards the heroine is quite interesting

     

    Cons:

    Disappointing, chaotic story

    Bugs!

    Overall averageness

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