The Long Reach Review – Xbox One

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We have all experienced on occasion times when we need to better ourselves or truly look deep into what or who we are. Thus, is the day, or shall we say night for Calvin when he finds a note left by Shelly,  his girlfriend telling him that he needs to get his life together or else he will lose the girl. I can attest to this, although I did not go out looking for jellies to sooth my pain, but it is all the same in the end. It seems Calvin is very conflicted as he walks down the street to Simons Corner store where he walks in and is greeted by the store clerk, Simon. Our little journey begins here on a cold night with not much going on in the streets, but from all the horror stories and movies I’ve seen, I know there is something creeping around the corner as this sad chapter of Calvin’s life unfolds. What not a better time to step into the story and wreak havoc.

With interactions being a factor in this game you have multiple choice Q&A dialogs.  For example:

Simon: Merry Christmas Cal!

Calvin: Merry Christmas Simon.

Simon: What can I do for you?

This is where multiple choice comes in and where humor can link perfectly with a horror story/game.

Calvin: Kidnap Shelly, please?

Calvin: Adult groceries for an adult man.

It is great that the producers can play with this story and can give a mature and humorous curveball from time to time. You will of course get a smart remark from the NPCs depending on which question or answer you choose. To say the least, this game is not for children. I really get engaged with the stories in video games, so I will either be in love with the plot laid out before me or I will dislike it.  With so many games coming out these days, especially indie-style adventures, it takes something unique and playful for a story to really stand out and stick with me.

Back to Calvin and the corner store. Calvin is looking for jellies and after your encounter with Simon you can move on to the back of the store to the jelly stand, but not before noticing some strange guy just standing in the store looking at the ice cream. Calvin strolls by and makes his way to the long-awaited jellies, but just before reaching the stand Mrs. Cuddlin approaches Calvin. Mrs. Cuddlin is Shelly’s grandmother and is checking up on them and their relationship status. Though Calvin does not get into the juicy info about how their relationship is going down the drain, he tries to vigorously dodge all her questions and make it to his destination.

After the agonizing conversation, he procures the jellies in hand. On the way back, Simon is holding the mysterious guys mouth open due to what looks like a seizure. Long story short, Calvin acquires the back-room key and goes for the phone while the ice cream guy seems like he is about to bite off Simon’s hand. He gets the police on the phone and explains what is going on, the call ends, and we make our way back to the front after hearing what seems like a murder scene. WTF! Exclaims Calvin as he sees blood everywhere in the store; the walls, floor, even all over the jellies! Seeing Simon dead on the floor the ice cream man runs up behind him, knocks him on the floor and commences to stab Calvin.

By now we are sure to have noticed that Calvin was a short-lived character in The Long Reach and we begin our main character’s story off in some type of computer lab. Stewart starts his way back to where the experiment is to take place along with the journey through The Long Reach.

A little further into the game we find out that what has gone wrong is a malfunction with a project Shelly was working on. Within the last four hours people have gone crazy and are acting weird. While Shelly is explaining what went wrong, we start to understand why people were acting so damn crazy. Not all science is good or for that matter even needs to be meddled with. People are starting to hallucinate and have nightmares, losing touch with reality and themselves as they start to go insane.

I will admit that I struggled with the first scene. Somewhere I missed having to cut the rubber dog bone with broken glass to insert it into the elevator’s broken button, so I could progress. I kept a sharp eye out for hidden items and little interactions along the way. It’s not very hard being this is a 2D game and everything is placed in front of you, or so it would seem. The Long Reach is a challenging game and I love the fact that you must take an item, transform or makeshift it into something a little different before it can be used.

Things will make more sense the further you get into the adventure when it comes to what you can use, craft and what can’t be used. When everything starts to come together it is satisfying to say the least where progression is concerned. Trying to find everything for one little objective can be frustrating at times and will require some breaks in between playing; this I know firsthand. Better to come back refreshed and clear headed then to continue frustrated.

The graphics in The Long Reach are pixelated in that retro style that is increasingly popular.  There not so much to brag about but at the same time it is not bad. I get a nostalgia when playing games that are expressed in older graphic designs. It’s a breath of fresh air when I play games that aren’t the usual run of the mill products, and it’s good to get away from the multiplayer with a quality single-player adventure and just have fun with what your playing instead of grinding for gear all day or trying to keep up with the top players on a leaderboard. Just have fun!

Sound quality is great. The music and sound effects really brings this plot of horror and things gone bad to life. When walking into a dark room you might hear voices that seem to be driving everyone else crazy. Screams and yelling in the background with the blood and broken glass, very good indeed.

Personally, I really enjoyed The Long Reach. It gave me a challenge and made me think about what I had to do next. I’d recommend getting this game if you just want to have fun, enjoy a classic adventure, or just want to earn some achievements. And while this may not be what every gamer is looking for we often find treasures where we do not look.