The Journey Down (Chapter 1) is pure, raw, beautiful Love/Hate Satellite material (and you sure may want to check what that is about before I go on to dismantle, rape, utterly destroy the game just because it shouldn't be allowed to be that great).
As you'd expect, thus, I loved The Journey Down.
why the intro? L/HS doesn't need an intro, right? True enough. Fact is,
I promised I'd explain to @theowaern why I didn't intend to buy the
game in the first place, got it when it all too conveniently appeared in
the bundle, and why I am quite ashamed for those very reasons.
I'm an old player. I've been through a lot of adventure games, both new
and old school, and that means I've seen pretty much any and all
variations on the genre.
I've done King's Quest. I've
done Monkey Island. I've done Police Quest. I've done Quest for Glory.
I've done those nifty Tierra remakes (AGD those days? Right? Damn
goldfish memory), I've done American McGee's Grimm (yeah, those fit the
genre if you ask me), I've done the Tales of Monkey Island, the first
Back to the Future episodes, quite a few amateur games, and I'm still
waiting for a decent cyberpunk adventure game. But that's a bit
off-topic, isn't it?
To be short and fair, I don't
expect much from the genre anymore. It's something I've loved, liked,
and today it's something I mostly don't give a hoot about. At least less
than other genres.
That's the first reason.
second reason is a consequence of that. If you want me to buy an
adventure game these days, you better have a PR machine the size of an
overgrown Godzilla, a list of arguments long as an essay on each and
every article of your local laws, and a precise, witful and
knowledgeable description of what I am to expect from the game.
None of which TJD had.
you can basically break "adventure games" down to two major trends: old
school bang-your-head-on-the-wall-insane-hardcore shit, and new school
And I didn't know
which one to expect with it. To be entirely fair, I guess "Chapter 1"
could be seen as a clue. But as a matter of fact, you could also see it
as "The Journey Down", and chapter 2 would then be "The Journey Down 2".
The line is blurred here, and given the game had been in development
for years, it didn't help either.
What did I know about the game? Easy: adventure. African masks. Jamaican atmosphere. Looks good. Sounds good.
that's about it. Had the game been any other genre, I'd probably have
taken chances and flipped through my usual channels to see what the fuss
was about, get more info and have the usual spoiler rubbed all over my
face, and I'd have given a second thought about buying the game.
Or not. See, it's the fine year 2012. And adventure games have a mighty 800 pound gorilla kind of contender.
Journey Down was quite expensive, originally (well, not exactly, but
more on that later). It was out, for sure, it looked cool, for sure. But
so was that nifty Quest for Glory collection on GOG.
if I had been given a choice, I'd have gone with QfG. Every single
time. Quite simply, because Quest for Glory was - and still is, much to
my dismay - the epitome of the adventure genre. It's beautiful. Long.
Witful. Inventive. Perfectly balanced - and I'm not one to throw that
word around lightly. Read that again: Quest for Glory is the perfect adventure game series. It has everything: humor, balance, length, setting, writing, you name it.
yeah, price was the second hurdle. See I'm not against paying more than
five bucks for a game (on the contrary, I preordered Trine 2 and I
don't give a damn that it went down in price since then). But I want
bang for my buck. The Journey Down couldn't prove me I would get it.
And, to be frank and honest, it didn't for its original price. Had I
bought it then, I'd have felt screwed (well... not entirely. Read on).
It may seem
blunt, harsh, unfair. But that's fact. Or at least, that's fact for old
players such as myself: you're going head to head with the full shebang
of old-school magic on GOG these days. And that's a mean, tough
opponent. Your price point's above theirs, Roberta and Ken Williams
better be your bitches.
On the other hand, it may be
wrong for younger or less... knowledgeable players. I mean it looks
good, the score's great, the setting may grip you right off the bat just
with the teaser trailer. And it's no more expensive than other new
school games such as the aforementioned BttF games.
Then there's the last reason. Jamaica isn't exactly in Africa. And that Jamaican/African paradigm just had me go "WTF is wrong with the geographic skills of those guys?"
know, I know, it's a game dumbfuck, yaddayadda. Still, it didn't
exactly help me take a step forward and a chance, and buy the game.
that I've bought it, played it, finished it, loved it, know what to
expect, do I have any regret in not doing so before? Certainly. But
there's a catch.
The game was originally around 12€. Would I have shelled out 12€? Not sure. It was a bit overpriced, just as it is
underpriced today, if you really want to know it all. Had the game been
around 8 or 10€ back then or now, I would have, or would, jump on the
opportunity without giving it a second thought - if not for GOG.
friendly context, I'd probably have gotten those extra 2€ out of my
pocket. But then again... 10€ for The Journey Down, or 10€ for the whole
Quest for Glory love?
Man, history's a harsh mistress. I really, really can't say for sure.
tl;dr - I don't give a fuck if you love adventure games or not. At this point, TJD is a must buy. It's too short, too easy, too cheap, the second chapter will take too long to come out. But it's still totally worth the trip.
So yeah, I am ashamed. I should have bought it before, I do regret not doing so. But I have reasons.