Cyan, the developers of Myst and Riven, are back with Obduction, an adventure game that takes place on an alien world after being abducted. While that sounds like a winning combination, this somehow managed to be one of the worst games I’ve played this year for a multitude of reasons.
First and foremost, this is supposed to be a puzzle game, but the puzzles rarely consist of little more than finding a hidden button or lever to press to be able to advance. Half of the puzzles involve using teleports that also change the world around you, something that isn’t made obvious as sometimes the changes are subtle.
Thing is, every time you use one of these puzzles you’re greeted with a loading screen, which admittedly looks great, but seeing loading screens hundreds of times in modern games is frankly unacceptable. I’d wager that a good third of my playthrough was spent loading, and that is with the game installed on a top of the line solid-state drive; for those with standard hard drives, I’ve seen evidence of upwards of two-minute load times per loading screen.
This virtual reality exclusive takes place during the age of the Vikings and deals mostly with a bit of their mythology. The game starts off with the player character dead and being offered a second chance at life as long as they take an oath of silence, hence the title. From there you’ll have around two hours of slowly pacing around listening to dialogue from other characters that spin a very shallow story.
The developers describe the game as a “narrative experience that focuses on emotion over gameplay” and call the game “movie-length.” At least the developers aren’t directly liars, as the game took around two hours to finish, and there certainly is little in the way of gameplay. The majority of your time will be spent walking or standing still and looking at characters as they deliver their dialogue directly at you or other characters. The only thing that otherwise qualifies as gameplay is a short segment where you’re tasked with shooting a few deer with a bow early in the game, something that you’d think would be foreshadowing using the bow again in the future—but you’d be wrong.
Due to the short development time developers have had with the Vive and Steam’s seemingly non-existent quality control, most things available for the Vive are cynical Unity store asset flips or simple basic experiences.
Currently, there are around 200 different pieces of software on Steam for the HTC Vive — and of the ones I’ve played, I can honestly say that The Gallery is my favorite, and the only game built with motion controlled virtual reality in mind that resembles a traditional experience.
Yesterday, famed game designer Cliff Bleszinski — famous for creating Jazz Jackrabbit and the Gears of War series — decided it was finally time to give Firewatch a play.
Just 15 minutes in, Cliff quit the game and tweeted, “Yeah I respect the devs of Firewatch and don’t mind walking sims but it is entirely too hipster for me, not gonna stick with it, sorry.”
People quickly took offense to this and let Dude Huge know about it, to which he politely responded, “Some overly sensitive Lena Dunham Brooklyn beard wearing types are, like, gonna unfollow me now over my Firewatch posts. FUCK OFF.”
But Cliff also wanted his followers to know that he is a sensitive guy with real feelings, noting, “I keep an open perspective on all games. Cibele drove me to tears. Firewatch bored me. Deal with it.”
Yeah I respect the devs of Firewatch and don’t mind walking sims but it is entirely too hipster for me, not gonna stick with it, sorry.
What I’ve gathered from Cliff’s Twitter is that he wants a walking simulator that is as mainstream as possible. So without further adieu, the most mainstream walking sim ever created, just for you, Cliffy B: