MOEBIUS: EMPIRE RISING
By Pinkerton Road Studio Gog version
I thought I’d throw in my two cents with a useful, I hope, game player review. As in previous ‘opinions’, I leave it up to the reader to decide if this game is for you. The focus here will be on how the game works. Are there mechanical problems? Does it run smooth or loaded with bugs? What are the graphics like? Do you need to be a joystick gymnasts to navigate or can anyone work the mouse? Things like that is what I focus on.
Visually, this game looks very good. Everything is clear, easy to see and navigate. I thought the character's movements were awkward in presentation, though they looked good. They moved around reminiscent of mechanical robots. That’s rather harsh, it’s more accurate to say their movement is not all that fluid. I got used to it after a bit finding it not to be a major distraction.
The interface is somewhat off putting though again, it is not something to hammer it over. What I found clumsy is use of Rector’s cell phone. On the upper right hand corner your inventory icon appears. The graphic is of whatever the character is carrying ready for use. Clicking on it brings up a panel showing the entire inventory. With this panel you can interact with all possessions. There are take, examine, and look icons enabling you to explore items you are carrying.
This leads me to using the phone which you do a lot. In any game I can recall opening your inventory and clicking on the phone either through look, examine or some other tool enables you to operate your phone. Not in this case. No manual comes with this download. At least there is none that I found. To operate the phone you push your letter (P) on the keyboard. A screen pops up enabling you to interact with the phone.
I read in Mag’s walk through these instructions, “At bottom of game screen are the menu, save and play buttons. At top left of screen a pull out bar shows: in game menu icon, cellphone, map and hotspots target icon. Below the icons is the Chapter in play and the game play score.”
My version is the Gog download. Nothing appeared at the bottom of the screen. Could it have been my video settings? I used the game default so I doubt it. What suggests the issue may be more than a simple video setting is the other feature Mag points to. At the top left of the screen a pull out bar shows. In my case that showed, sometimes. More often than not there was nothing there. I am only pointing this out in case you experience what I did. Mag is ninety nine percent right with all the marvelous things she does for us here. Mag, I’m not picking on you. If you run into this you can reach Saves, Quit, etc by hitting the escape key.
An important question is, Are there mechanical problems? I found a few minor issues but nothing to pull your hair out. When trying to interact with your inventory sometimes you had to click on the implement tools, look, take and so on a second or third time to activate it. Your items appear dull when not activated. They light up when you can interact. Sometimes it takes a bit to do that. I found the biggest culprit was when I attempted to merge two items to create a multiple tool such as connecting a rope to a hook. Often it did not reveal visually that your mixing was successful. I surprised to hear Rector say, “Now I have a,” or something like it telling you that the new item is created. Prior to his saying so, I was still trying to connect the things. So if they don’t light up click again.
There is annoying issue when you cannot take an object until you know you need it. The hand icon is there to pick it up but our boy refuses. Then he gets on a plane to fly to another city only to discover he needs it. So picture Rector talking to someone learning he needs an item. He leaves to get on a plane fly home, pick it up and return. The good news is the people he was talking to did not notice he flew across country then came back without missing a beat. I can understand not picking up something you don’t know you need but to this extent? Consider one scene where Mr. Walker hired as a body guard and is going into a questionable meeting decides not to pick up his weapon. He finds out he needs it and has to return for it. It is little things like this that could have been handled better. What body guard goes into a possible confrontation unarmed?
Do you need to be a joystick gymnasts to navigate or can anyone work the mouse? The answer is point and click with peaceful relaxation. There are a couple places where you can get killed. They are not exactly timed puzzles or scenes. They just require paying attention. If you get killed there is a try again button. Be warned it takes you back prior to a point where you did some prep. In other words you may be forced to reset the scene before your retry. Such as picking up a few objects or whatever.
Does it run smoothly or is it loaded with bugs? My Gog version ran smoothly without crashes or sputtering. In that regard the game apprised itself well. I cannot speak for the DRM loaded other versions as those additions are the cause of most mechanical problems.
What about the story, is it any good? It is a story driven game which offers an interesting twist. One must be willing to suspend their view of reality. Jensen makes a point of claiming this is not about reincarnation. It is about people who have identical attributes, personalities and goals as a famous person of the past. Our hero has to find a person who emulates one of these in the present. She claims this is the Moebius Theory. Phoenix Online offers a explanation of this theory on their website. Ok fine, it sounds like if one is reliving the life of a historical figure doing the same things with the same goals denying it is reincarnation is a stretch.
Regarding this game toss the entire Moebuis/reincarnation theory. Completely disregard it as Jensen Created an intriguing story that can entertain if you can accept Harry Potter without witches. Rector, is not an endearing character. In fact if he were your neighbor you’d likely avoid him. There is nothing warm and fuzzy about this guy. Let’s say he is an anti-hero. Walker, who you sometimes get to play is rather a typical military tough guy. Probably more likeable than our hero.
The puzzles are slightly different somewhat akin to what they did with Gray Matter without the annoying need to stop and get additional inventory. I thought the assessment puzzles were well done. They require no more than reasoning out your answers. There is a sliding picture puzzle, and of course the familiar figure out the password puzzle. I found the need to blow things up in one puzzle quite unique. It is point and click third person with a lot of items to explore. Of course the Jensen end game big puzzle is present. This one comes in form of a maze from H– –. There is one rather ill explained puzzle within the maze featuring revolving pictures. You can click away for a long time before you suddenly get there. I’m not sure I figured that one out yet but I got there and there was no rush.
Voice acting is good with not a lot of talking required. All in all it is an entertaining game if you do not over analyze. The conversations tend to lean a bit toward sexual innuendo but there is little to offend. I’d say in conclusion it’s a long way from Gabriel Knight. Gabe and Gracie have no need to feel threatened this game will replace them. On the other hand it’s a lot better than some of the recent games.
I left out one of my pet peeves. Where are the @*!# bloody saves hidden?
It really, really annoys me game producers can't agree upon where to place the saves folder. This one took me hours to find. I tried every search term imaginable and Windows search could not locate saves no matter what. Hard headed persistence managed to locate them. As a public service here is where the Gog version hid them in Windows 7. There is no point in keeping this info from you. After all what good is a review if it does not give you useful information?
Saves Folder Path
C:\Documents and settings\ User name\ AppData\Local Low\ Phoenix Online Studios\ Moebius
Edited by oldmariner (Yesterday at 01:44 PM)