First Look at Quest for Infamy -- by gremlin
What have we here?
There is a new player in the modern world of game publishing: crowd-funding. A fantastic idea that allows game enthusiasts to pledge their support up front for the development of games that they want to see made, and that allows them to support that development directly by handing over their cash if the project's funding target is met. This model has led to a number of quality games being developed that were previously ignored by the traditional publisher-controlled model of production - the model that seems to have resulted in the modern glut of sequels and spin-offs.
Of course, this new approach doesn't actually guarantee that the resulting game is exactly what you originally expected it to be, nor does it enforce any particular quality in the product (though this has not yet been tested against any law on the subject, to the best of my knowledge).
So, on the one hand, we have successful projects such as Jane Jensen's Moebius Empire Rising getting funded, and resulting in a high quality game (see my earlier review
) but we also have more frustrating results as in Quest for Infamy.
Quest for Infamy is described as a classic point and click adventure game
, in which you assume the identity of a reprobate named Roehm, who's trying to escape his shady past in the town of Volksville.
Notes from a short journey
Alarm bells started ringing when I realised that the game isn't a point and click adventure at all, it's an RPG (role-playing game), with three classes. Not that I would normally baulk at playing an RPG, it's just that when a game is as thoroughly mis-labelled like this, I do wonder what to expect. Anyway, you can play the game as a rogue, as a sorcerer, or as a fighter (though they call it a 'brigand', which in my dictionary is pretty much synonymous with 'rogue', but there you go).
As it happens, you don't immediately decide which path to take until about half an hour into the game. But those paths basically affect the skills you have available in combat. I'm not sure what else they affect because of what happened five hours in... when the game was automatically updated and invalidated all of my saves.
Ok, so what else could I discover in five hours of the game? The graphics are hand-drawn, and pretty detailed for all that. The style is very reminiscent of the games of the late 1990s, but with a better standard of animation. There is a lot of content. The game is clearly large, with many locations in the town of Volksville, and plenty beyond, including an extensive grave-yard, forests, and countryside around the town. The world goes further out towards another city, though I never reached it. The world also contains many people, a good number of whom you can interact with.
The characters that are actually involved in the story all have detailed close-up head-shots for when you're talking with them that are of a significantly greater detail than in the normal view.
Speaking of dialogue, there's a lot of that too. A goodly amount has been fully voiced by a varied cast of vocal performers, but the standard of those performers is not consistent, nor is the quality of the sound recording, though given the indie nature of the production company, this is more forgivable than if it were, say, an Ubisoft game.
The downside to the dialogue and narration is the terribly puerile humour employed, particularly in the narration. An 11 year old boy might be amused by it, but subtle it is not.
A second set of alarm bells went off in my mind when I discovered that this 'adventure' game contains a significant amount of combat. This doesn't chime with the 'classic point and click adventure game' label the developers and publishers use. What I found particularly frustrating about the combat is that it's quite hard to win in the early stages (though that's all I really have to go on), and not only that, random bad guys show up without warning when you walk onto a screen. So much so that it is almost worth saving your game just before you walk off the side of a screen, every time!
Combat is turn-based; i.e. you take turns with your opponent to attack or defend or cast a spell (if you have spells). I only ever saw combat with one opponent at a time, so I don't know if there are ever occasions when you have to fight more than one at a time.
And finally, speaking of 'walking off the side of the screen' ... that's usually how you find the exits. Many of the exits are not simple clickable hot-spots - you have to use the cursor keys to move in the direction of the edge of the screen and hope that there's an exit there. This got so frustrating when I got trapped in the Inn for 15 minutes, before I realised the exit was UNMARKED and UNCLICKABLE at the bottom of the screen.
Jumping to conclusions?
Did I enjoy my early experiences with Quest for Infamy? No I did not.
Will I try to play the rest of the classes? Nope.
But, as ever with just about every game, your mileage may vary.