Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today
This is a tale of stories – the
stories of those in a post-apocalyptic world, the sort that we see and
read about in many guises across many media platforms.
They aren’t nice stories. One
does what one must to survive/get by/prosper/dominate. Even you.
You are Michael, who “wakes”
with no recollection of the Great Wave that has devastated and
transformed the Earth. Like Rick leaving the hospital, once outside the
trailer the enormity of what has occurred is apparent. The “camp” he is
in is a forlorn place, a refuge in name only, and perhaps not even then.
It doesn’t take long for the reality to set in.
The visions just add to the
impact. Except once, when they offer a solution.
I loved the way this looked. The
angular figures and graphic novel style presentation served the
dysfunctional landscape well. It also allowed for the more graphic
scenes to be less confronting than they might otherwise have been,
although some actions may well remain unsavoury.
It also sounded good, a few
characters notwithstanding. I wasn’t sure about the frenetic, frenzied
musical piece the first time I heard it, but its discordance grew on me
in terms of adding to the mix.
Dead Synchronicity is a wordy
piece, as much story as it is a game. It’s well written, and grapples
with some big ideas, but be prepared for some lengthy passages. I
thought it was well and truly part and parcel of what this is all about,
and rarely felt any impatience, but it’s worth mentioning.
It is though a game, so there
are things to do. Finding and using items in the correct way is what it
is all about. By and large it was reasonably good at making sense of
what to look for and what to do, but as always some solves were a tad
far-fetched. There were instances of aimlessness and to-ing and fro-ing,
and I confess to some doing stuff with other stuff just cos, and to
needing a walkthrough two or three times to prevent total frustration.
But what game like this doesn’t have those moments, and I also freely
admit to my own failings contributing to some of them.
The strengths though of Dead
Synchronicity easily compensate for any puzzling foibles.
Which is/are the stories and the
depiction of a world turned upside down. It’s gritty, bleak, even
confronting, and morality is something to be judged by the end to be
The camp is a world within a
world, with rules and procedures determined by those in charge or those
with force. Outside the camp is a city, which Michael will eventually
reach, but it isn’t a whole lot better, especially after curfew. There
is also the rumour of a cure for the sickness that creates “the
dissolved”, an ailment about which you can find more yourself, but which
suggests more than just a horrible death.
While Michael is the central
character, others have strong parts to play. The world is the sum of
those who live in it, and worlds gone mad allow the best and worst to
flourish. Some you will despise but will work with, some you will help
but only to achieve your own end, some you will pity and some you will
use. Rose, a childlike woman in a white dress, stands out.
It does end with things
unresolved, but if there was no more I would be happy with how it
finished. Let’s hope though there is Part 2. The tale is intriguing, and
some of the ideas about what happened and why warrant further
exposition. Real world analogies just add to the mix.
The game is third person point
and click, with hotspots giving access to a range of cursors to indicate
actions. The space bar highlights all hotspots. Many things can only be
looked at (you might pick up a steam achievement or three) but will
elicit background detail or information, or even some metaphorical
musings by Michael, which all adds depth to the surroundings and events.
Your inventory is a suitcase top left, in which you can examine and
combine items, and which also contains a journal keeping track of what
you need to do. A new entry is signalled by a little writing animation.
Cut scenes occur throughout, but stay true to the comic book style
Dead Synchronicity is a goodly
length, even if you don’t get stuck, and well worth your attention.
Grade: A minus.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
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