The Samaritan Paradox
This is an ambitious game,
perhaps a little too so, but it’s a solid and more cerebral experience
than a lot of others out there.
Ord Salamon is a cryptologist,
urged by his buddy to read something other than a book about codes. Said
book is The Last Secret, the last book by a renowned Swedish
author who recently committed suicide. Except on page one is a code, one
that leads to a hunt for the next book, and a possible inheritance. And
other things as well.
When you first play, enter set
up, or else the game will play in a very small window. It uses blocky
old style 2D graphics, so play around until you get a resolution you
like. While you are in there, tweak a few other settings to suit you.
Then settle down and get on with things.
What starts reasonably
straightforwardly becomes a little fanciful, but it tends to hang
together rather than spin out of control. The conversation mechanism is,
however, somewhat convoluted; perhaps I am going soft but I never quite
warmed to the ever expanding list of topics, with next to nothing to
indicate an earlier topic can take you in a new direction.
The puzzles though I did warm
to. Generally they were of the figure it out brainteaser type as opposed
to the randomly trying and combining items type. Some are timed and some
will kill you, and while there can be a bit of rework involved, I was
well pleased with this aspect.
The characters are a little one
dimensional (there are no George and Nico’s here) but I wasn’t overly
fussed. The voice actors and the music bring the game to life, and
despite the graphic style, it’s quite a vibrant and varied game world.
It proves once again (think the Blackwell games or Gemini Rue) that you
can make something engaging and interesting without having to rely on
state of the art animations and renderings.
Another aspect I did like was
the way the book “plays” out. Reading the novel takes you into a fantasy
game within a game, one where you get to slay dragons and the like. It
also parallels things that have happened in the “real” world, and there
are intersections that are relevant in both locations. It not only adds
a point of difference, it adds layers, like that parfait the donkey goes
Game play in the Samaritan
Paradox is simplicity in itself. It’s all mouse driven, left click to
explore and interact, right click to examine rather than use. Move the
mouse to the bottom of the screen to have the inventory slide into view,
which is where you also access the menu screen. Save and load and
fiddling with settings is done here, as well as exiting (it’s the red
cross next to the music slider by the way), or you can exit using
Near as I
can tell, this is Faravid’s first game. (Time out – Faravid is
apparently a character in
The Long Ships, one of the most read
Swedish novels, as well as a king in a place called Kvänland, part of an
Icelandic saga. Apparently too, the name could mean the act of
travelling far and much in Swedish. I always like to know these things).
Hopefully there will be more, as they do press a lot of the right
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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