It really is a Still Life…2

Posted by: Doffy90

It really is a Still Life…2 - 07/25/09 01:36 PM

It really is a Still Life…2

“Unfortunately those intriguing cut scenes can’t save the game as a whole.”

Our sassy detective Victoria ”Vic” McPherson returns in the second installment of the Still Life series. Still Life 2 is actually the last game of a trilogy which consists of Post Mortem, Still Life and Still Life 2. The game features some of the same characters from Still Life as well as introducing new ones. The biggest change from the previous game is that the other main character besides Victoria is not Gus McPherson but a journalist named Paloma Hernandez.

The game picks up three years after where Still Life ended. The identity of Mr. X is still unknown (to us) and our heroine is investigation a new series of murder in Maine. The killer is dubbed the East Coast Killer and Victoria is as always determined to catch the psycho. While investigating Vic gets a phone call from Paloma who says she has news about the killer. Unfortunately Paloma is kidnapped before they have the chance to meet. When Hernandez regains consciousness she finds herself trapped in an old house and must face several tests created by the kidnapper. In addition to the new serial killer, we uncover bit by bit the identity of the killer in Still Life by flashbacks. Now I found this to be confusing because there are three things happening at the same time. First there’s Vic’s investigation into the identity of Mr. X. Secondly there is Paloma’s story while being kidnapped and last there is Vic’s investigation of the killings.

As I mentioned before there is both old and new characters in the game. Victoria has got a new voice which in my opinion is not very good. She doesn’t sound genuine and when Victoria’s temper gets the best of her, the voice sounds absolutely wrong. Like in the first game she has sarcastic and ironic remarks but for some reason it just does not feel right this time. The new addition of Hernandez was also a disappointment, but I know that it was crucial to the new story. Nonetheless I felt absolutely no connection to her whatsoever. Her voice is even worse then Victoria’s and when I played the game I was constantly irritated by her emphasis on particular words. In adventure games we get to hear the characters voice more then in FPS so having a good voice actor is crucial. I compared Victoria’s voice to Nina’s new voice in Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis because her voice was also not very good. For some reason Nina’s voice grew on me and I was more forgiving but that is not the case in Still Life 2. Maybe I’m just being really picky but I really can’t accept Victoria’s and Paloma’s voices. I also found something very weird, maybe it’s just a glitch but when I was playing as Victoria and used the wrong tool on something, Paloma’s voice said “That will never work!” and all of those lines! It is very weird! There’s just one new character who didn’t disappoint me and that’s the East Coast Killer. Like the previous game the criminal has a mask, but since they obviously need to cover up their face and due to the fact that this time it’s a gasmask I’m willing to accept it. His voice is also satisfying as it’s masked by the mask (pun intended).

Unlike Still Life, Still Life 2 has a numerous problems, mostly game-wise. The most annoying thing is the new inventory system. You now have limited inventory space and sometimes you can’t pick up items because they take up too much space. This means that you’ll have to make room for them. The developers have planted several storage units in the game where you can store your inventory if you are unable to pick up new items due to the lack of space. This is insanely frustration, especially because it causes you to backtrack a lot. When I was playing as Hernandez I put this fire extinguisher into the storage unit because it took too much space but then I discovered that I needed it for something. After that I put it back into the storage, but then I found out that I had to use it once more. See now why I don’t like it?

They have also introduced something which seems to be more and more integrated into adventure games, namely timed puzzles. I really don’t like them, but as long as there’s just one I can bring myself to look past. But that’s not what happened in this game, there are several timed puzzles and in the third one you must backtrack quite a long way to do what is necessary. I don’t recall there being any timed puzzles in Still Life and thank god for that.

The game also features a C.S.I aspect like the previous game. This time however it’s much easier. You have this 3D scanner which lets you scan fingerprints, footsteps and etc. I would have personally liked it better if it was the old fashion way with the plastic gloves, the white stickers which lifts fingerprints and all that instead of just magically lifting something by scanning it. I realize however that this was necessary when you’re investigating the house because there’s like an insanely number of evidence to view and process. When I first saw that we were going to investigate the house where Paloma was held captive, I was really excited but once again I was disappointed. Like I said, there’s just too much things that needs to be done in the house and half of them are barely visible to the naked eye. The game is a magnificent example of pixel hunting.

Like any other crime adventure games there is much to be read. The problem is that some of the text is blurry. You can still read the text but it is really annoying, especially if you’re a detail freak like me. I kept trying to change the settings on my screen but nothing made a difference which means it is the game. This also brings me to the next point which is the resolution. In the menu you can change the quality of the texture and shadow; you can also turn anti-aliasing off or on but there is no resolution options. You are forced to play the game with the default resolution which is unfortunate for people who have older computers. I mean come on, people who play adventure games doesn’t really care about graphics as much as someone who plays on the Xbox 360. I personally feel that games should have both high and low settings so anyone can play it. Still Life 2 however has low graphics but I imagine that due to the resolution it will still lag badly.

The game isn’t all bad; there are some positive things about the game. The idea of the story for an example is very good. Who doesn’t like playing a detective who investigates a creepy and cunning serial killer? The cut scenes are also beautifully executed. They are very cinematic and the graphics are awesome.

So what do you get when you mix a whole bunch of problems with a good story? Do you get a decent game or do you get a horrible game? In this case I wouldn’t say it’s horrible, but it is definitely far from good. Unfortunately those intriguing cut scenes can’t save the game as a whole.
Posted by: Lynnypoo2

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 07/25/09 03:53 PM

I totally agree zombie
Posted by: looney4labs

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 07/25/09 09:40 PM

Thanks Doffy wave

I'm sorry you were disappointed puppy
Posted by: Doffy90

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 07/25/09 10:15 PM

I just finished the game and I must say that I was wrong
Click to reveal..
about when I said that Paloma was crucial to the story, she was just a victim so there was no need for that specific character.
Anyway I will applaud them for the tension and suspense they have created. The idea of using the house and the anti-nuclear shealter is brilliant. I absolutely love that almost everything took place inside the house and buncker. However there was a lot of rooms and such so it was confusing to find the correct rooms.

I have a lot more things to say that annoyed me, since I now finished the game, but meh Ill stick by my first review. But it definitely does NOT deserve the name Still Life, it's a totally different game, almost a psychological thriller.
Posted by: Volkana

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 07/27/09 03:56 AM

Thanks doffy90 for the review. I was dissapointed too with this game. Too bad...
Posted by: jorja

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 11/30/09 04:52 PM

...and I thought it was me!
Posted by: jorja

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 11/30/09 07:18 PM

Vent: Place the plastic can below the vent

Where is vent?
Posted by: Becky

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 11/30/09 09:10 PM

Jorja -- if you're asking how to do a challenge in the game -- the experts in the Hints forum can help you.
Posted by: Mad

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 12/04/09 06:48 AM

"So what do you get when you mix a whole bunch of problems with a good story? Do you get a decent game or do you get a horrible game? In this case I wouldn’t say it’s horrible, but it is definitely far from good. Unfortunately those intriguing cut scenes can’t save the game as a whole."

How disappointing frown

But I'm still going to give it a go yes
Posted by: MaG

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 12/04/09 08:58 AM

I enjoyed the game. Maybe I got lucky having minimal glitches (yes - I had them too) and like the first Still Life - it is a very tense psychological thriller game. I enjoyed the puzzles and they are well integrated in the story.
Posted by: chrissie

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 12/08/09 02:29 PM

Thank you for your review Doffy90, I found it really open & interesting! I loved the first game & like many others couldn't wait for a sequel!

I'm not a great fan of timed puzzles but mind less if they are integrated well & pertinent to the game progress - also it's helpful if you can skip them if you want smile - was this a possibility? The other question I wanted to ask was you mentioned a 3D scanner, did you think the game would have benefitted from a little more detailed approach there? - you seemed disappointed with it? I will just add that I haven't played the game yet & thought that your review was great! thumbsup

Posted by: mj2c

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 12/10/09 09:20 AM

No you cant skip the timed puzzles unfortunately. When I first started playing the game I thought the graphics were very clunky for a modern game and I didnt think the "new" inventery mechanism added anything to the Adventure genre (the old ways are sometimes the best). But I was gutted when I came across the first timed sequence. It`s something that usually kills a game for me and this was no exception. I uninstalled it and played something else. However, a few months later I thought I would give it another go. I cheated my way through the first couple of timed sequences and then there werent any more for a big chunk of the game, so much so that I actually started to enjoy it. But then towards the end...BANG!!! timed sequence after the other. Awful stuff. Lost all interest in the game from then on. Uninstalled it again and watched the ending on Youtube instead:-). Replayed the first Still Life a few weeks ago - now that one *is* a corker.
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 02/01/10 11:14 PM

Excellent well detailed review Doffy90. What struck me with Still Life 1 was how they could take a potential classic and wreck it in the end. There is no doubt Still Life 1 came close but it won't sit on the same shelf as Gabriel and Tex. Because gave us a made for TV movie finish without any satisfying answers for the purpose of selling you a sequel cost the game it's classic standing. Otherwise up to that point they nailed it.

You get the sequel which had people waiting years and they give you a disconnected jumble. They kept you waiting years and only succeeded in reducing the worth of the first game. A thoughtful wrap up of game one would have elevated Still Life. When reviewing the seldom complimented Art of Murder 1 & 2 which gets little respect I discover both of them to be superior to this highly anticipated failure.
Posted by: Feeb88

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 02/02/10 12:03 AM

That the game was Microids' (the true Microids') swan song has a lot to do with the abrupt ending; they simply didn't have the resources available to finish the game as originally intended. Does it excuse the shameless cliffhanger entirely? No, but regardless, Still Life is a classic to me, one of my top games of all time on any platform.

The so-called "sequel" was destined to fail - or at least to disappoint - from the start: a new (and largely inexperienced) team, a clunky 3D engine in place of the gorgeous pre-rendered backdrops, and the high standards set by the original saw to that. As for Art of Murder, what I played of it seemed to just be going through the motions, in places; certainly far from terrible, but nothing spectacular. But again, I haven't completed it, and to each their own. smile

(Though it goes without saying that AoM is definitely a better produced game than SL2, even half-played!)
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 02/02/10 12:14 AM


I mentioned Art of Murder because they are better than average, glitch free, and are complete games. I found them better because of the cob job ending of Still Life. Microids may have had issues with resources and may have rushed the game but the result was a inexcusable ending and degrades the entire project. It was an outstanding game but a classic is the result of doing everything right. Few games achieve that, that is why they are set aside as classics and that is why Still Life is excluded. It can still be a favorite but it is not a classic.

Of course opinions are fickle things and we each have one. Those are my reasons why it does not sit next to Tex and Gab.
Posted by: Feeb88

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 02/02/10 12:29 AM

Fair enough.
But no game is entirely perfect. If a game is good enough, and the flaws in the gameplay minimal enough, to have me playing and replaying again, then it's 'classic' material for me, literal definition or no. wink And Tex and Gabe have achieved that sort of timeless, nostalgic quality that only comes with years of fame and fans; so only time will tell. grin
I guess I found the journey to be more compelling than AoM, in spite of the ending. I can definitely sympathize with your disappointment, but if the only way to release the game was in its current state, then I'm glad to have played it at all.

Anyway! At least we can agree on SL2. laugh
Posted by: oldmariner

Re: It really is a Still Life…2 - 02/02/10 12:38 AM

As you say fair enough