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Most helpful reviews

I wish I could say I enjoyed Return of the Obra Dinn as much as other players. There's definitely an innovative core here - how many games have you viewing the moment of someone's death and attempting to piece together context with no hinting to confirm when you're getting close? RotOD will feel favorable to many people who feel detective games barely request any intelligence of the player ("Which was the murder weapon? This piece of testimony, the bag of gummy bears, or this bloody knife?") I can also say that the old MacOS style graphical filter did more to give the game a unique look than harm it. But I definitely feel like there's problems here for a game that finally learns to ask a lot of you as a detective. The biggest problem at work is one of pacing. The game outwardly reveals the manner of death of a person, and their killer's face, as soon as you find their body. This normally follows with a timed/forced sequence leading to the reveal of another body via that flashback; sometimes multiple times in a row, leaving no time for you to parse the clues you're being given. This can be exciting, discovering what sorts of unexpected events lead to someone's death, but as soon as you have seen these scenes and are handed the notebook to get to work, that's when the game kind of drops off in interest. You've been shown these interesting turns of events, and then your only task is to place the name, rank, and method of death of the person you found. There's no questioning of motivations, no reveals about how things actually happened, and generally except for one or two scenes no hints at a deeper lore than "These people tragically died to freak occurrences"; and you're not even asked about these curious elements when they're shown. Names to faces - that's all you're ever doing. This can be tricky at times, reliant on finding someone's name being mentioned in a sparse scene earlier, or making inferences based on ship role (or worse, race assumptions). Far too often it seems to rely on process of elimination among a certain crew rank, or on knowledge not easily identified from within the game (my game had glitches with alt-tabbing to make this worse). But you can safely know the whole time that you're not going to earn any more interesting twists or reveals besides whatever invented lore you can write onto . I think I could understand how someone especially clever might feel Ace Attorney's formula of finding contradictions in statements can be sometimes too easy, but I think while Obra Dinn's core mechanic has more innovation and difficulty to it, it's ultimately not very satisfying. Seeing the "Three more names correct!" notification and a very slow progress bar on the overall completion felt far less compelling than others. The game for some bizarre reason gives you a pointless option to voluntarily have a "bad ending" when you're midway through, and I took this as an invitation to say I'd had enough and that this wasn't any fun. The woman who contracted the journal's completion couldn't pay me enough to finish this work.
1013 developers
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