11/DEC/13

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pierben's Reviews
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pierben reviews Policenauts (PS)

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pierben said...

Policenauts, the Hideo Kojima game before that other Hideo Kojima game, had non-Japanese speaking gamers waiting for no less than fifteen years (or thirteen, if we're going by the Playstation version). Translation efforts were made by Konami, but ultimately proved fruitless until a bunch of people in their sparetime decided that enough is enough and subtitled the whole thing by themselves so everyone with a copy of Policenauts and internet access could finally find out where the six notes from the Konami logo in Metal Gear Solid originally came from.

First and foremost, Policenauts is an adventure game. It is very heavy on the story-telling and very light on the puzzles, perhaps more similar to a visual novel than the type of point-and-click adventure popularized by the likes of LucasArts. Yes, you will point, and yes, you will click, but there are no items to be taken, combined and given to other characters. Mostly you just identify hot spots on the given location (which is remarkably unfrustrating despite the level of detail in every scene) and then go through your options (such as 'Look', 'Touch', etc.) until the game proceeds. In order to keep things from becoming too dull, shoot-outs regularly disrupt the more quiet aspects of police work. They're fun and sit comfortably in the middle between being too easy to care about and making it too hard to continue with the story.

What is even more important about the shoot-outs is that they create a masterful pacing that is unparalleled in adventure games - urgent situations actually feel dramatic and quiet moments give you a well deserved breather. Of course pacing is nothing if the story doesn't deliver, but don't worry, it does. Policenauts is a mashup of genres encompassing film noir, buddy cop movies and hard science fiction. The story begins with a woman requesting the help of the smoking kind-of-detective who goes on to join an old friend with whom he shares wisecracks and one-liners while investigating a case on a space station where everything from aritifcial gravity to ecosystem is thoroughly explained. There are laughs, there is action, there are tears and there's something to think about, too - it's a well rounded, very complete package.

Couple all this with beautiful hand-drawn graphics and a great score and you've got a game that deserves to be played by anyone, regardless of personal preferences. The wait has been worth it.

Game Traits applied to Policenauts (PS) by pierben

  • The Setting:
    sci-fi, hand-drawn
  • Playing As:
     
  • Playing Against:
     
  • How it's Played:
    adventure
  • General Tone:
    Hard boiled
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