Game review: Silence – simple brain-teasers and lack of challenge tarnish a beautiful idea
A cool concept and gobsmacking visuals hint at greatness, but a mostly dull story and crappy gameplay fail to lift this point-and-click adventure from ordinary to awesome
Martin Scorsese has a new film out this winter titled Silence – that’s kind of what turned me onto this game of the same name. I had hoped that maybe an art-house film about Portuguese missionaries in Japan would have a video game adaptation. No such luck – the marketing folks don’t think gamers are that advanced, apparently
But this game isn’t half bad. It looks absolutely beautiful, a stunning blend of hand-painted 2D and computer-generated 3D that puts many of the major developers to shame. I could just look at the game all day without actually playing it. But that’d be boring, so let’s continue.
Silence is a sequel to The Whispered World, a point-and-click adventure game from 2009 that I’d never heard of, but it seemingly has a cult following. Fans have been pretty disappointed by the follow-up so far, judging from the reviews, but if you come into it without any preconceived notions, you’ll be rewarded with a game that hints at greatness.
Players follow a couple of kids hiding out in a bunker while a war goes on overhead. Once they get out, they drift into a world between worlds, one where life and death are just empty ideas. It’s point-and-click again, with a bit of puzzle solving thrown in, and while the story emphasises peril, none of it ever feels urgent, exciting or even that interesting, really.
The problem? It just isn’t very challenging and most of your time is spent solving simple brainteasers through trial and error. It’s unfortunate because it could have been a wonderful game if it were a bit more complex.
So why is it still good? The atmosphere it creates is astounding, a throwback to classic children’s adventure books and films, where the innocence and wonderment of the vast world is a thing of beauty.
While the gobsmacking visuals, half-decent voice acting that alternates between cutesy and annoying, and an average storyline that hints at something far greater, the folks at
Daedalic Entertainment seem to have taken a cool throwback concept, dumbed it down with a mostly dull story, built it stunningly back up through astonishing visuals, and then pulled it all apart again through crappy gameplay.
It’d almost be pretty funny, if it wasn’t so damn sad. Maybe I should have just kept quiet about the whole thing.