Monday, December 21, 2009

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 Review

ANOTHER DS GAME? Yes...that's all I play now.

Hotel Dusk is another adventure game similar to the Phoenix Wright series. It's heavy in dialogue and to progress you need to know the right words to say. The story sets in around the 1970s, just after Christmas. Kyle Hyde, an ex-detective who is now a salesman travels to Hotel Dusk to do business as well as to find out whatever happened to his old partner, Brian Bradley. His only clue is a old crappy hotel called Hotel Dusk, and from there he learns the answers to all his by one.

Detailed review is below:

Story: HIGHLY COMPLEX, in sum. I can't put a start and end to how this goes, but it's not complex to the point that you don't understand what's going on. The game was designed in such a way that you learn these facts little by little (explains why there are 10 chapters in the game) and after every chapter you do a review. While the pop-quiz thing was kinda "WTH" to me, I thought it was a good way to make sure the player understands the situation in the game. Plus, it's not like you're punished for it. You can keep guessing.

The setting and theme of this game is darker and more serious compared to the colorful and animated theme of the Phoenix Wright series. The colors are very bland and...normal.

Characters: I can't really say that they had a rich personality, but putting all these characters in one game makes it kind of amusing. I'm amused at how their dialogue reflects their personality by using slang or something.

Now, about the main character...if there's one thing I remember in Game Design, it's that you should make your main character like-able. Why? Because if you don't you'll piss the player off and the player won't want to play the game. Kyle Hyde, in my opinion was sometimes a jerk. He pretty much played "dark bad cop" for the most part, which irritated me a bit because it didn't feel justified to me. He wasn't a total asshole of course. Just that the way he handles conversations was kinda annoying. Luckily, you can sorta control that attitude by choosing what he should say, but then again, you can just choose "No thanks" and then see Kyle Hyde mention how annoying the person was and so he's not interested.

Gameplay If you broke down the gameplay to simple terms, it's similar to the Phoenix Wright series. You need to talk to people, show them items so they talk more, and investigate the area for clues. What made it different was the UI and some minor details. Is it better? No. It worked for this game.

Unlike the Phoenix Wright series though, Hotel Dusk has mini-games or puzzles that you need to solve to get by. These CANNOT be skipped, but these games are just so simple I'd rather call them micro-games than mini-games. These mini-games have something to do with the story, not some game that they just inserted for the hell of it.

Oh, interesting thing about this game is you can experience a "GAME OVER" by choosing the wrong answer to say in a dialogue. Yes, this has happened. Sometimes it's merely just not listening to the characters hinting to you that could make you repeat the chapter or last savepoint.

Overall, what do I think of it? Well, I had high hopes that this game would be something spooky or creepy given how it was presented in the title cover and how it was summarized. I was sadly disappointed because that's not how the story went and compared to what I thought it was going to be it was kinda...dull. So, let me put your expectations in a proper place: IT'S NOT A HORROR GAME. IT'S A MYSTERY GAME.

Since I categorize this to something similar to a visual novel, I say it was pretty well done. The game still makes the player interact with the game and it brings back the whole dating-sim feature where conversations can count in progressing further...and it didn't have to be a dating sim game.

If you're not fond of heavy dialogue and lots of reading, this may not be the game for you. If you like mystery stories though and don't mind an interactive environment to it, I suggest you try this out.

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