|The Adventure Company
| Blood and Gore, Intense Violence,
Sexual Themes, Strong Language
| The Good
Great ambiance and style
| The Bad
Controls don't translate well to controller
No replay value
You know, for a genre that's supposedly dead or on its way
to dying, the point-and-click adventure genre keeps coming
back with new efforts to keep fans happy. With the likes of
Myst 3, both Syberias
and now Still Life, the genre just keeps chugging along.
In Still Life, players take on the role of two characters,
each in a different era and city, both trying to solve a series
of grisly murders. As the story begins, players take on the
role of FBI agent Victoria McPherson, who is in the middle
of an investigation of brutal killings in the city of Chicago.
During her investigation, she goes home for the holidays to
discover her grandfather's memoirs of a case he was investigating
in Prague that's eerily similar to her own.
While players bounce back and forth between Victoria and
her grandfather, Gus, the gameplay is the same. Those familiar
with Syberia will be instantly familiar with the controls
and set up. Players control their character and move them
around locations, picking up clues and items along the way.
When you enter a room, you'll see a hand icon when you can
pick up items, a magnifying glass when you can zoom in on
areas, and a speech bubble next to people you can talk to.
When carrying on conversations, you will be given casual and
business oriented questions, which can be initiated by using
the Left and Right triggers. This option seems superfluous
as you seem to be able to make all the conversation strings
no matter what order you make you trigger choices.
Now, what is an adventure game without puzzles and just about
every aspect of Still Life is packed with challenges
to your reason. While some of the puzzles are more based on
being logical, like taking fingerprints off of glasses and
getting evidence from a crime scene, others are more traditional
with a few clues littered about that force you to think for
yourself. While these puzzles may not be complete mindbenders,
they do provide more than enough of a challenge to keep you
thinking. A lot of the game really just makes you use your
head (and your eyes) to progress. If you find yourself stuck,
keep looking around or just look at what you already have
When it comes to visuals, Still Life benefits from
a certain level of ambiance. The backgrounds are done in pre-rendered
backdrops. A few of the scenes benefit from some animation,
which helps in keeping the whole game from feeling too still.
On top of the backdrops are polygonal character models, which,
unfortunately, could use a little more detail. In a game that
features pre-rendered areas, the character models just need
a little more care in detail and animation. Both the Resident
Evil Remake and RE Zero show
what could be done with this kind of set up. To balance this,
Still Life does feature some pretty stylish cutscenes
that help drive the story.
Audiowise, the game has some nice ambiance in both its sound
effects and the dark, moody soundtrack. The theme song is
a solid mood-setter. Voice acting is good, but inconsistent.
Some characters sound really good and their voices flow well
in conversation, while others seem stilted and even a bit
overdone for their respective characters.
For those who might expect a little action from this title,
Still Life will probably not deliver. Despite the fact
that you play an FBI agent, you never use a weapon. Still
Life is an adventure, through and through. The game itself
is not all that long and there's no replay value, but the
initial trip is well worth it for the story alone. If you
love adventure games, Still Life is a good deal, even
at the reduced pricepoint.