Still Life
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
The Adventure Company
Developer
MC2
Genre
Adventure
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
 
Grade
The Good

• Excellent story
• Smart puzzles
• Great ambiance and style

The Bad

• Controls don't translate well to controller
• No replay value

 
Grade
B

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 picked up.

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.

- - Vane

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