by EIPIX ENTERTAINMENT; BIGFISH GAMES
Story: [As a H.E.L.P. Operative] You’ve been called to China to help in the excavation of the ancient Emperor Qin’s final resting place. What starts as a simple mission quickly turns into the experience of a lifetime when your colleague’s lives are put in danger. Can you uncover the secrets of the Qin dynasty and save your friends before your time runs out? (Big Fish Sales Blurb)
Options & Main Menu: These are both good – Options are complex with many choices. The MM is well arranged, with enticing, colourful graphics inviting you to press Play.
Music & Voice-Overs: These are excellent, and extremely appropriate, though as usual I turned the Music down as I don’t want it to take over the playing experience.
Extras: Play Puzzle, Play HOP, Collectibles, Play Bonus Chapter, Video, Pictures, Music, Souvenir Room.
Play Modes: Explorer, Adventurer, H.E.L.P. Operative, Custom (with lots of choices, including turning OFF the Penalties).
Desktop: These have become quite complex lately in most games with multiple access often requiring all sides of the screen.
H.E.L.P. Box (Achievements, Message, History) Fact Cards, Map, Guide, Menu (L); Inventory and Lists (C); Collectibles, Hints, and Morphing Objects in HOPs.
Tutorial: Well worth using – I just used the Special Features Only option.
Graphics: Delicious. Vibrantly colourful. Imaginative. Innovative. Authentically Chinese. Creative settings that make you feel you are really immersing yourself into and exploring Chinese locations. They are a huge factor for the success of this game. If only the Video Graphics weren’t fuzzy due to low Pixel count.
Map: Interactive, fairly logical so easy to use once you’ve grasped their format. Also informative and saves a lot of time and back & forth clicking.
HOPs: Interactive. There are not a huge number of these, but many of them are Multiples – sites where you find a few shaped items, then move to another part of the page, or zoom in, often more than once. Each main HOP has a Morphing Object that you need to find – though upon completion of both games you can go to Play HOPs in Extras Menu, and find the missed Morphs as you replay each location. There are also Story HOPs – the Fact Cards give you provide background stories of the Emperor’s rule and you find elements within them.
Puzzles: These are on the whole enjoyable and logical. They usually serve a variety of purposes, e.g. to open a locked gate, to assist you on your way through the game. But they can be Skipped, especially if they are of the few random-clicking kind.
Collections: Dragons (40); Fact Cards. These continue into Bonus Chapter. Any missed ones can be found upon completion of the Main and Bonus games. They then unlock the Souvenir Room, where you revisit locations to find one more Item in each.
Game-play: This flows well, driven by the story as it should be. There are times when you think the game is drawing to a conclusion, but then of course there is another twist that sends you after the villain or accomplice again. It is a bit predictable, but that’s okay. And of course don’t be surprised to find yourself talking to the characters when you can’t make them do what you think they should be doing – this is just a great way to let off the Frustration Factor steam. Some things need to be done in a certain order. Though you might be able to see what should be done, you may not be able to do it until something else is found or opened first. A bit FF.
Player Participation: This is full on. You are completely involved down to little details, opening things yourself, climbing walls, etc.
Frustration Factors: Mainly caused by the odd Puzzle, by the need for some things to be done in a certain order, and by the low-quality graphics of the Movies.
Satisfaction Factor: This is high – despite its predictability it is very satisfying reaching the end, though the culmination is over very quickly after your final battle puzzle. I wish they wouldn’t do that. The fact that the Bonus Chapter follows concluding it properly, doesn’t help someone who has only bought the Standard game.
Bonus Game: As mentioned, this concludes the game, once again predictably with the nuisance character from the main game. (I’m trying not to cause a SPOILER here.)
I highly recommend this game.
Jud House 15/09/2016
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