As a first impression,
Prominence makes a grand one. I loved the opening cutscene, reminiscent
of many other deep space adventures (whatever the medium). While what
followed never quite lived up to that first buzz, and some opportunities
seemed missed, it was nonetheless an “old skool” adventure worth the
The Letarri live a nomadic life,
not by choice but to stay one step ahead of persecution. They set their
sights on escaping once and for all, sending a ship of scientists and
engineers to a far off planet, to pave the way for the arrival of
everyone else. Needless to say, the mission goes awry, and you wake up,
alone and needing to sort out what has happened.
What one does when one wakes up
is what any adventurer worth their salt does – just get to poking
around. There is not much to poke at first, but gradually you start to
open doors, expand the playing environment, power up parts of the ship,
get access to on-line systems, and eventually find ANNIE (Advanced
Neural Network Information Entity), the AI at the centre of the ship’s
ANNIE was a bit of a letdown.
She isn’t HAL, which isn’t a bad thing, but she was not much of anything
else either. Describing her as a running commentary rather than an
active participant would be a bit harsh though, and she is good at
getting you access to other parts of the ship, helping re-route power,
and enabling things like infra-red vision. However her moment to step up
to the plate in any forceful way was missed, and while it would be
telling too much to go into more detail (and perhaps she acted exactly
how AIs would act), she was a tad too bland.
Which is a description that
could be applied to the visuals (stark is another one) but not the
puzzles. These I thought were the strength of Prominence, plentiful and
generally well integrated into the goings-on. Lots of things to pick up
and use, lots of things to get powered up, lots of computer consoles to
prod and poke. The data archives were particularly enjoyable, including
the access “ride”. Some looked a little like a mini-game but weren’t, a
number involved accessing various new “abilities” and the staircase in
the dark particularly appealed. The solutions walked the balance between
too hard and too easy and overall I would defy you not to be pleased.
While the main plot line is as
described (with a twist and then a choice), bits and pieces of detail
and back story can be found in the computer files and messages
throughout the ship. The lives and personalities of the missing crew are
revealed, and the maker's website also has a range of prologues that
provide much further detail about the universe in which the game is set.
I did think some more of that could have found its way into the game
itself, but accept that exposition might have been tricky.
Animations in the game world are
in keeping with the sparseness of the visuals, but the ambient sound
palette is much more elaborate. As a result, the soundtrack is much less
so, or else I didn’t really notice it, save for the data archives which
was suitable trippy.
Prominence plays in the first
person, using node to node locomotion, and you can turn off the
transitions between nodes if you want to. There is 360 degree panning
around a fixed centre cursor, with the default cursor changing to
indicate things you can interact with, and directions you can move.
Right press to bring up the inventory, where you can examine and combine
objects, tab to bring up the current objective. You can save at will,
which is always a plus, and make sure you do when the choice comes
around. The game branches at that point, and going back will add about
another hour or so of gameplay. I reckon there were about 12 in any
Intriguingly, the Steam
accomplishments seem to be parts of something bigger. I have yet to work
that out, and getting the rest might well help.
Overall, Prominence was a very
solid adventure indeed.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon
HD 7800 2048MB
GameBoomers Review Guidelines
design copyright© 2015