Think of noir and it brings to
mind grungy, cynical and blonde (the platinum type). Sultry too - the
blonde and the mood Ė languid and slow burning.
He is Marlowe or Spade, or in
this case Jack del Nero, and there is a bar and a dame a drink too many.
Plus a body, and some low rent investigating of who is kissing who.
The feel and the sound is noir,
chiaroscuro prominent, drenched in a jazzy, smoky soundtrack. It
meanders along, never breaking into a sweat (or a run), ambling towards
an abrupt not finished end.
There are clues, and here and
there you enter the deduction screen, where you cogitate on piecing
together the snippets of what you know. Itís a nice variant on a
dialogue tree, and a little bit like detecting, so kudos for that
The puzzling and associated
interactions are a little hit and miss. In some ways its rather
straightforward - thinking out loud helps with what to do next, the
lock picking minigames can be skipped, hotspots can all be shown.
However some of the interactions are a tad too intricate or fussy for
their own good, hotspots can be hard to find in the rather gloomy
settings (so you will probably need to reveal them whether you want to
or not) and a missed clue can lead to a lot of backtracking. There are
also some timing type puzzles that will likely irritate, if not
frustrate, some players.
While its fairly typical
adventure gaming fare, I did think a hard-nosed world weary PI would
have a better grasp of things (eg the combination to his gun box), and
to me there needed to be a better balance between sleuthing and fiddling
about. The minutia tended to outweigh being a detective, and I just
thought it effected the vibe of the thing.
It isnít though a terribly hard
game, and therefore you donít get too bogged down as you inexorably
unravel the goings-on.
Actually, you kinda know whatís
going on given an early flashback, or at least what will go on. Armed
with that foresight, itís more a question of what went on.
Itís a sum of the parts sort of
thing, and while it isnít flashy or genre breaking, it does what it
does, in the context it sets for itself, pretty well.
Except for the voice acting.
Jack is not too bad, but most
everyone else is either uninterested, unrealistic or horribly
stereotyped. The less said about the Chinese cab driver the better.
I also never have warmed to the
supposedly realistic ďlets open the draw by clicking, holding, and
pulling the mouse backwardsĒ approach to game interactions and it didnít
(warming that is) happen here.
I did like the comic book style
cells used to produce a cutscene, and while the muted colour pallet is
in keeping with a low rent PI, it is a little drab. It might not have
seemed so if there had been a little more animated realism in the
character modelling, but it does leave a little to be desired.
Yet whatever its plusses and
minuses, I quite enjoyed Face Noir. Unlike my eggs, I am partial to hard
boiled crime, and writers like Stuart Kaminsky, Raymond Chandler,
Dashiell Hammett and Lawrence Block all have their products on my
bookshelf. So while this isnít in their league, the writing is not at
all bad, and wrapped in an adventure skin there are lots worse ways to
spend a few weekends.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz