Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love/Hate Satellite 2 - An Intro: The Journey Down

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.

So 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.

See, 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.

The 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.

See, 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 laid-back-too-short-too-easy shit.

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.

And 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.


The 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.

And 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.

So 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?"

I 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.

Now 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.

In a 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment