Your host for this evening.
The Utopia -- a magnificent building of imposing merit designed by the
architect Baron Wittard -- stands unoccupied and abandoned to decay a
mere few years since its aborted grand opening day. One thousand luxury
apartments, shopping malls, entertainment complexes -- and rumour of a
malevolent ghostly energy which may or may not be responsible for a
series of mysterious civilian disappearances within the area.
You, as a magazine photographer ostensibly on a new assignment to shoot
the grounds and interiors of the forgotten building, become embroiled
with discovering the truth and putting past events to rights before the
evil forces within spiral out of control.
Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok is an immersive first person
adventure from developers Wax Lyrical Games and publishers Iceberg
The Baron will have his trinkets.
So here’s the score. The game plays with full 360 panning, with forward
movement by left clicking. Mouse sensitivity can be adjusted. Getting
around is perhaps a little ponderous; there is a slight pause after each
left click before anything happens. The cursor is centrally locked;
however a right click will allow independent cursor movement and access
to the main menu icon and inventory at the top of the screen. A further
right click returns the cursor to central locking position.
Gameplay is solitary and nonlinear, with pleasingly atmospheric and
nonintrusive intermittent music. Your only companion (if you can
consider him as such) is the Baron in the form of a talking amulet, who
guides and offers advice along the way. The game is subtitled. There are
just eight save slots which may be overwritten.
Baron Wittard has to be experienced to truly appreciate its
ambition and scope. The Utopia is sprawling, immense and intricately
detailed. You can tangibly breathe the dust and neglect, the peeling
paint, the scattered and long forgotten personal belongings of visitors,
workmen, employees. And yet some plants thrive, or at least hang on to
some tenuous thread of life. How could the building itself decay so
terribly and so quickly? As the player capers down flaking corridors --
pockets stuffed with magical runes discovered en route, which must all
be “dissolved” within specific and various other objects in order to
ultimately defeat the negative energy -- well, it’s easy to be sucked
entirely into the whole enjoyable ridiculousness of it all. You’re
buddies with a talking amulet! Lesser mortals than you would have turned
tail long ago. Have a cookie.
Very little needs picking up into inventory other than the runestones,
as a result of which there is far too much essential note-taking. I
filled pages with screeds of scribbles, muttering darkly as to why it
was not possible to pick up documents into inventory and examine them
there at leisure. Baron Wittard is an extremely information-heavy
game; having such a feature would have helped immensely.
There are two possible game endings, good or bad, the only difference to
the end cut scene being a few lines of dialogue.
Sliders and levers and Hanoi, oh my.
My mental equilibrium is in temporary tatters. The puzzles in Baron
Wittard are a Bit Hard and require Much Thought. That’s a wonderful
prospect for some, an intimidating one for others. If your gaming needs
call for quick gratification and easy results then this is likely not
the adventure for you, unless you prefer to press your nose to the
walkthrough. There are number puzzles, spatial, memory, a Hanoi of evil
repute, and levers and buttons of the “push one and see how others are
affected” type. Two particularly demonic sliders will poke their tongues
out, one of which being the game’s conclusional puzzle. Professor Rubik
himself would burst into tears at the sight of it. Having said all that,
the resulting triumph and pleasure of solving a testing puzzle is well
worth the twinge of the entrance fee.
There are no mazes, timed puzzles or game over scenarios.
My eyes! My beautiful eyes!
Permission requested to affably poke either the Baron or his ghostly
Nemesis in the virtual solar plexus for the most appallingly deliberate
flickering lighting in certain areas of the game. I do appreciate that
the Utopia is now running from its emergency power generator and
therefore (no doubt) there must be flickerage of some sort -- but
verily, I say "Ouch!" I found it physically painful to deal with. Not
only that, but the player is on occasion expected to examine, read and
decode documents in the same lighting, which is many times worse and
merits a further prod.
That which should work but regrettably does not.
Happily, I uncovered no hiccups, bugs or glitches whilst playing
Baron Wittard, which ran smoothly from start to finish.
Overall, a game packed with visual delights and cerebral
stimulation/bamboozlement for the brave hearted adventurer.
I played on:
Windows XP Media Center Edition SP3
Intel[R] CPU T2050 @ 1.60GHz
2.00 GB of RAM
NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE, 512MB
GameBoomers Review Guidelines