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|28 MAY 2008 at 5:02am|
Posts : 3
Joined: 25 MAY 2008
Status : Online
|Overall Grade: D|
Oh man, I sometimes wonder about the reviews on JA+. After staring at Keepsake on the shelf of my favorite computer haunt for a couple months then checking the reviews on JA+, I finally decided to take a chance. This game is a blonde: very pretty too look at on the outside, but completely vacant, insipid and boring inside.
The story is kind of interesting. You're a working-class girl who's coming to the magic academy late (because you had to earn your tuition), and you're hoping to meet your oldest, dearest friend Celeste. But you get to the academy and... no one's there!
The first thing that hit me was the voice acting. >_<; What an awful voice actress for the main heroine! She sounds like the kind of amateur you'd find in a community college production. Her attempts at portraying emotion just made my skin crawl. The voice actor who did Zak was OK, but he sounded kind of cartoony -- a voice more appropriate for a cartoon than an adventure game. And the rest of the cast goes downhill from there.
The game makes you walk around quite a bit, but at least it gives you a map. Unfortunately, it only highlights the connected rooms you are in -- not where you actually are. But that's not as big an obstacle as you might think. Yet when you're trying to move from room to room, the game doesn't even have the decency of giving you a double-click to force your character to run. It gets quite tedious moving around, especially the 4-5 screen stair cases you have to climb. Yes, there are two--TWO!--staircases in the game where you click about 4-5 times to climb it.
The puzzles are laughable. They're challenging to a beginner, but even I doubt beginners would be entertained for long. The puzzles are mostly of the "arbitrary" variety. E.g., figure out which buttons to click to make all 9 squares come on. Hint: If I were to take your puzzles out and package them as "brain games", would anyone still play them? No? Then sticking them in an adventure game won't make them any better. The puzzles were BORING! It just becomes "Oh great! Another @#$! toggle puzzle".
Did I hear toggle puzzle? Yes, that's right, kids! About half the puzzles are of the "You press this button and these two buttons toggle on/off" variety. After the fourth one, I just clicked through the hints to the "Solve it for me" option. Half way through the game, I just gave up and used the solve it for me option a lot. The puzzles were completely unsatisfying to solve, and it just became tedious.
Did I say tedious? Yes, that brings me to the dialog. I appreciate that the writer wanted to create a chatty game, but most of the dialog was awful. We're talking slightly better than Star Wars Episode II awful. Adn to make it worse, if you tried to skip through the dialog, the game FORCED YOU TO WAIT UNTIL THE CHARACTER ANIMATION FINISHED!! The characters will move their arms, etc. in synch with the dialog, but skipping ahead didn't abort the animation. It's amusing watching her mime a conversation with a cat/wolf/dragon (You'll find out if you're unlucky enough to play).
The dialog was just plain stupid. There are cut scenes near the end where you have gawd-awful dialog being intoned by untalented actors that you couldn't abort out of. I nearly banged my head into the desk to numb the pain. It was like high-school writing class bad dialog. Ugh!
The story was almost OK though. The story was just interesting enough to keep me slogging through, although in the last 30 minutes of the game, they introduce a twist which was in no way, shape or form foreshadowed or set-up so you know what you're going to find at the end, but you're like: Don't you think that development would have been more poignant if we had been anticipating it since the beginning? Oh well, I'm just the paying public. What would I know. :-/
The story was undermined by bad writing though, so I can't even say it was worth it even for that.
But the game really was pretty to look at! I mean seriously, that was the single best thing about the game. It was GORGEOUS! Such nice backgrounds and art.
The character designs on the other hand... >_> In a word: Blocky.
How disappointed was I in this game? The moment the final credit rolled, I threw the box (disk et al) into the garbage can and uninstalled it.
Keepsake is NOT recommended. I have no idea why Tracy gave it a B+. I really don't....
|29 MAY 2008 at 4:56pm|
Posts : 3313
Joined: 19 JUN 2003
Status : Online
|I agree with what you say, mostly:|
- The writing was aweful, I agree. I especially remember Celeste's father telling her to 'get a life' or something similar. I didn't know whether to laugh or shut the game down.
- I liked some of the puzzle. The one with the stone bridges was very easy, but also fun. And the one with the paintings. I skipped almost all the 'switch' puzzles as well. I hate them, and they appear as filler in so many games nowadays I want to scream.
- Agree with the blocky chatacters. For a game with such pretty graphics, couldn't they have spent a few more hours working on the main character's face?
- The navigation was aweful. I don't know how anyone could stand it. The map barely helped, especially on the second part where you have these aweful teleporters. And what's with Lidia's vision's taking me away from the area I need to be and was just going to enter? I was right before the last major puzzle of the game, then it's 'vision time' and I have to walk all the way back from where I was!
Thinking of the castle as a realistic building, I don't think anyone could survive there - there are no bedrooms other than Celeste's, the dining hall is far away from everything, and think of the lines of students trying to get on the one tiny teleporter leading them to class - a disaster!
- The voice acting was so-so. Lidia's voice was ok, it was the writing which gave her all those 'cool' sayings. Zak was very good - a little cartoony, but so was his character most of the time. Celeste's father was pretty good. Celeste was badly acted. We won't talk about Mustavio.
- The visuals are stunning. Someone should hire the background artist(s) to work on a new game - it would look awesome.
- The story was ok. Some people liked it, but I felt like I've heard it before. I did like it they the made the effort to flesh out most of the characters - made me want to help them.
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