Law & Order: Legacies|
Ugh! Really? I mean, Iíve played various other incarnations of the CSI/Law & Order/Encyclopedia Brown ilk, so Iím familiar with the mechanisms. This ďgameĒ? Itís awful. There are a couple of redeeming qualities, but really? Go play LA Noire. And yes, I know there is no Encyclopedia Brown game. Thatís not my fault, but it would still be better than this one.
As for gameplay, have you ever taken a multiple choice test? Excellent; you know how to play this game then. You think Iím joking. Here, Iíll give you a sample of how the game works: You get a cutscene with a little bit of dialogue setting up the interview/interrogation/testimony, then up pops a list of topics for you to direct the dialogue, which covers the whole screen. Pick an option and dialogue continues. Repeat until the conclusion of the scene. Occasionally this is broken up with questions regarding what was just said; usually something along the lines of ďis this person telling the truthĒ. If you answer correctly guess what you get? Another question which will let you detail why they are lying or how you can tell they are not! This game is a multiple choice exam broken up by dialogue, so essentially itís a multiple choice English test.
To be fair, there is a little bit more to the game than that. You get to examine crime scenes, which takes about five minutes and is essentially trying to find a list of things they gave you in the earlier dialogue. So youíre really going on a picture find rather than actually thinking about what might be relevant. What makes it a little more challenging than just hunting and clicking is they score you on how many ďguessesĒ you get, so no just clicking around the screen until you find everything.
The courtroom adds a few wrinkles as well, because you get to object to the defenseís case. Not only that, but you have to provide a basis for your objections (hearsay, badgering, etc.). This and the investigation side of the game do make you pay attention and think about what the answers are going to be, so on the bright side this isnít a dumb game. The downsideÖitís all pretty much been done before, done better and with much more immersion. This really just feels like a poorly executed knockoff (thus the recommendation above) and like nightmares I sometimes have of real life being exactly like high school.
Everyone looks like a chibi or super deform rendition of the characters they are supposed to represent; thatís when the graphics team was successful. The inherent problem of rendering real people in a more stylized fashion is inevitably they end up looking ďcartoonyĒ, so what should be a serious game ends up looking like something for kids. It wasnít until Abbey was covered in blood that I realized this was supposed to be a game for something over the 8 to 10 set. Thatís a fantastic example though. Here we have an emotionally charged scene where a character has just been splattered by a man being shot in front of her and it plays like something out of Ren & Stimpy. Itís supposed to be horrifying, you know it is, but you almost want to laugh.
If this were anything other than a licensed game the graphics might work. They arenít terrible of themselves, I like the thick line rendering and some of the facial animation is pretty good. But Benjamin Bratt and Mariska Hargitay this game isnít. That and the interface have got to be a graphics decision. I mean they could have made it lines of text at the bottom of the screen, the radial design that Bioware uses -- anything. Instead they decide to take up the screen with stodgy grey boxes. Not only does this break my immersion in the game, but it is just boring. Excel spreadsheets are more interesting.
They got the theme song right. Thatís the only positive thing Iím saying. Also, a word of warning to any other game designers out there: Do NOT attempt to replace Sam Waterston or Jerry Orbach with anyone else. It works about as well as trying to replace James Earl Jones or Brian Johnson or Tom Waits. Really, all the voice acting in this game feels like a bad acting class got together and read from a script. Thatís when the dialogue made sense.
The best thing about this game? It retails for $19.99 and you get seven episodes. You only get 3 right off, but the other 4 are on their way and you donít have to pay anything more for the extras. There is some replay value in that you can replay scenes to get all the questions right, etc., but really playing through it one time was more painful than I care to consider. Doing it again? No.
Ordinarily I like what Telltale Games puts together, but this just looks like a slap-dash excuse to cash in on a television property. The previously mentioned gore makes this seem too old for the age group the difficulty level and polish the game seems to be designed for, and the design and difficulty of the game -- let alone the lack of interaction -- are too young for an older audience. In short, nothing fits together and youíre better off spending an extra $5 or $10 dollars on a copy of LA Noire. Itís the same idea, but executed so much better.