Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:     Fusionsphere System

Publisher:    Deep Silver  

Released:  May 2009

PC Requirements:   Windows ME/2000/XP, 100% DirectX Compliant (EAX Recommended) sound card, 1 GHz Intel Pentium 3 processor or AMD Athlon processor, 32 MB 3D accelerated video card (NVIDIA GeForce or ATI), 4x (or PC DVD-ROM drive), 256 MB RAM (512 MB on Windows XP), DirectX 9.0

Walkthrough  Walkthrough

Additional Screenshots





by Becky


Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis opens with scenes from Ashford and Cambridge England, where peaceful sanctuaries are invaded by armed men seeking a parchment containing an ancient prophecy. Bishop Parrey of Christ’s College, sensing danger, conceals the parchment as death closes around him.

Scene change: Nina Kalenkov is boarding a ship for a vacation she had hoped to spend with Max (for Nina and Max’s previous adventures, see Secret Files: Tunguska). Life together has been bumpy for our hero and heroine. Nina has a redhead’s legendary temper and Max seems particularly suited to testing it.

As if echoing this lovers’ spat, the headlines trumpet a series of peculiar catastrophes. Nina goes on vacation alone, hoping to forget her personal worries, the current world unrest, and Max. Little does she suspect that she is not escaping, but heading straight for confrontations with all the above.

Where Will You Go?

The photorealistic 2.5D graphics in Puritas Cordis are especially eye-catching. You’ll see the interior of a luxury cruise ship, the jungles of Indonesia, and several locations in Paris. Light – sometimes brilliant, other times hazy or diffused – burnishes the landscapes. Details include realistic shadows, varied shapes and textures, and colorful reflections. Simply walking around in each exotic location is a pleasure.

Another strength – the cinematic cut scenes. These imitate the spectacular sequences we’ve come to expect in disaster movies, and they work well here. Music, heard mostly during these cut scenes, is orchestral and often dramatic. (For a second viewing, replay the cut scenes from the Cinema link in the Main Menu.)

Character animation has improved since Tunguska – Nina walks smoothly and alluringly, vacationers enjoy themselves aboard ship, animals move about the jungle and zoo, and hooded monk-like figures creep around an ancient chateau.

Who Will Be There?

The cast of characters is wide-ranging: from the “oily” travel contest promoter to the amusingly practical street cleaner and the intellectual hobo. My personal favorite is Rossi, a man (pre-Nina) who has good looks, friends, and a promising future. Post-Nina – well, redheads are a force of nature, aren’t they? Each character has sufficient backstory and personality to make him (or her) an intriguing temporary companion or adversary.

Characters are well portrayed, with Nina’s voice significantly improved compared to Tunguska. Conversations are lively and saucy, with the occasional mild expletive heard. The characters interact frequently, but the dialogs are not overly long. The writing is pretty good, especially for a game that was translated from the original German. Occasionally, an absurdist humor breaks through, particularly when Max or Nina comment on the gamer’s reasons for requesting certain actions.

You play most of the game as Nina, but spend a few sequences playing as Max, as Sam (a blonde female, not a police dog) and as Bishop Parrey.

What will you do?

Puzzles are mostly inventory based, including odd combinations of items. Among other things, you will disguise yourself, redecorate the walls, and construct a model of a famous landmark. The inventory is easy to use. The spacebar reveals all hotspots and exits.

In addition, you’ll encounter a few text and pattern sequence challenges, a directional challenge using a laser, and impromptu monkey training. A diary that recounts events also gives occasional puzzle help.

Will You Face Disappointments?

To game designers: enough with the conspiratorial crazies in monks’ clothing, okay? It may seem to be a handy disguise, but in the twenty-first century, a monk’s habit does not make a person less noticeable or cause the neighbors to be less suspicious. Video game characters will be relieved if these garments are permanently banned (gamers will experience the same relief).

My chief disappointment in Puritas Cordis is with the game’s epilogue. After a believably affecting time of despair and then an action-packed rescue attempt, suddenly we find some of the characters sitting and joking together, as though the whole game was just a lark. Animation in this epilogue sequence is noticeably clumsy. Why would the developers put the worst animation at the game’s conclusion? Other gamers may find the epilogue hilarious. I did not -- though if you see the game in its entirety as an homage to movie thrillers, with satire always lurking, the ending might work for you.

How Do Things Shake Out?

If you liked Secret Files: Tunguska, you will be pleased with Puritas Cordis. If you thought Tunguska was a mixed bag, you will appreciate the improvements in the sequel. The voiceovers for Nina are much easier on the ear and the puzzles require actions that are within the bounds of reality (well, mostly). If you haven’t played Tunguska, but enjoy third person point-and-click cinematic thrillers with a hint of tongue-in-cheek humor, it’s time to get acquainted with the Secret Files series.

Despite minor quibbles, Puritas Cordis is a successful adventure with an engaging plot and sympathetic characters. With this second game in the series, the developers have come close to perfecting the adventure thriller in the manner previously introduced by the Broken Sword games. By sticking to 2.5D and a traditional point-and-click interface, the Secret Files games maintain their photorealistic graphical sharpness and allow the gamer to appreciate the environments, story and puzzles, rather than battling awkward movement or a novel interface. Personally, I hope the 3D siren call never tempts the makers of this series.

What About a Quick List for Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis?

This is the second offering in the Secret Files series. Third person perspective, point-and-click interface. Significant (though not overwhelming) amounts of character interaction. You can click through the dialogs. About twenty hours of gameplay.

The spacebar reveals hotspots and exits. Good voiceovers. Unlimited save slots. No problems with installation. No glitches. One of the nicest full-color manuals I’ve seen.

Mostly inventory puzzles. Some pattern recognition challenges. No sliders, no mazes, a couple of color based puzzles. An end sequence that seems timed but can be repeated until you realize what needs to be done. Hints found in a diary are sometimes helpful.

Aimed at gamers who enjoy thrills, conspiracies, disasters, and sassy redheads.

Final Grade: A-

My Computer Specs:

Windows XP Professional

Pentium 2.80 GHz

2.00 GB RAM

Direct X 9.0c

512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX

SB X-Fi Audio


November, 2009

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