Broken Age: Act 1 Review

Broken Age: Act 1 Review

A promising start to Double Fine's adventuresome enterprise.

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Well i suppose it is just that, a start. They've brought forward a portion of their full ambitious idea and it's a pretty great success by the looks of things. I'm really interested to see where the entire project goes from here.

For anybody looking into the game, an important note about pricing - Right now, only part 1 is available, but if you buy the game you will get part 2 as a free download once it becomes available, so you don't need to worry about getting hit up twice.

Broken Age is excellent. I kind of wish I had waited until Act II came out to start playing it, because Act I by itself does feel a little short, but it's still an excellent game, and I highly recommend it both to fans of adventure games, and people who like the idea of adventure games but are put off from all of the super tedious aspects of the classics. I can't wait until part II.

I'm not sure I'd call releasing half of the game early to help fund the second part "infamous", but I'm glad it's good. I'm glad I backed them and I look forward to launching it this weekend.

I really loved the game, and played through it in a single sitting as soon as I got my beta key. I will disagree with Jim about the puzzles though. It could have done with a notch or two towards the complex side. I don't want pixel hunting or insane logical leaps, but having a few more elements of puzzles going on at a time, making it feel like you have a whole load of things to do and if you could just work out one element it would all fall into place, that's the real magic of adventure games.

They're very linear and simplistic in that sense, and there were only one or two moments that made me swap to the other character so I could think on them some more.

But, regardless of that the game as a whole isn't held back, and I really can't wait to dive into the second half.

Nice review Jim!

I really liked this game and my pledge has been totally worth it so far!

I absolutely cannot wait until Act 2, the wait is going to kill me! :x

Lightknight:
I'm not sure I'd call releasing half of the game early to help fund the second part "infamous", but I'm glad it's good. I'm glad I backed them and I look forward to launching it this weekend.

The game sparked heated debate for more than one reason. I think its long story of mixed messages and money murkiness qualifies it for infamy status.

Jimothy Sterling:

Lightknight:
I'm not sure I'd call releasing half of the game early to help fund the second part "infamous", but I'm glad it's good. I'm glad I backed them and I look forward to launching it this weekend.

The game sparked heated debate for more than one reason. I think its long story of mixed messages and money murkiness qualifies it for infamy status.

Always seemed like quite a forced scandal to me, more of an invitiation for generic Crowdfunding Theory debates, than any problem with what they actually did.

If Double Fine were to present this first half as "The Broken Age game" instead, they would still be entirely honest that this is what the adventure game that $3.5 million could buy looks like. If after that, they were to announce Broken Age 2, people would be lining up to pay for that "sequel". Hell, they would fund a second Kickstarter for it.

But instead, they are going out of their way to increase their sales enough that every player can get a bigger game that we kickstarted without paying more, and suddenly it is a scandal about how they are "running out of money", and one step from this, "needing more money than what they first asked for".

I really liked this game. It seems to be a game aimed at a younger audience (teen at the latest) so easier puzzles are kind of expected. It's also a bad idea to have insanely difficult logic puzzles when adventure games are only recently getting a small revival. Hell, a lot of my co-workers at my theater job don't even know what adventure games are. I'm also pretty glad that they stuck to exactly what they promised and didn't try anything too experimental like throwing in a space combat mini game or something.

The thing that hit be the most here though was just a wave of nostalgia. While there have been quite a few decent adventure games since Grim Fandango, there's a certain Shaffer tone I've always loved in his games and can't help but get warm and fuzzy about seeing again. I also have to love the main characters here, they're pretty cool.

It's definitely not going to be game of the year (unless this turns out to be a terrible year for both indie and console games), but I do think it was worth backing and plan on backing Double Fine's future projects.

Regarding the technical issues mentioned in the review, these are likely to be fixed during the beta.

I've been looking forward to this. So far the only game of Double Fines that I didn't particularly like was Iron Brigade and that has less to do with the quality of the game and more to do that I wish they'd taken the concept and made it something far more then a multi-player oriented tower defense game.

I also feel like one of the few people on earth who liked Brutal Legend.It wasn't perfect but it did a lot of things right. Taking it's concept and just running with it helped a lot.

So going back to Broken age.....

Is the soundtrack worth buying with the game on steam?

Dalisclock:
Is the soundtrack worth buying with the game on steam?

It's composed by Peter McConnell and performed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It's absolutely worth it.

I'm kinda reluctant to pick it up, watched a couple of gameplay videos, I dislike the art-style, child voice-actors and comedy is kinda bad. Recently replayed Grim Fandango and it was just so much better in the story, atmosphere and humour department. I don't know whether Schafer and co. simply burned out or am I simply not their target audience. Either way if it sells good for them.

Jimothy Sterling:

Lightknight:
I'm not sure I'd call releasing half of the game early to help fund the second part "infamous", but I'm glad it's good. I'm glad I backed them and I look forward to launching it this weekend.

The game sparked heated debate for more than one reason. I think its long story of mixed messages and money murkiness qualifies it for infamy status.

See, I didn't get that. I've been in the backer forums the whole time, enjoying the updates and documentaries. From what I understand Double Fine has always had a problem sticking to budget in most of their games. They had a fairly straightfoward budget at the start and things just kind of spiraled away as they often do with them where they want things to look more professional and fail to prioritize in a way that maintains the budget.

Since then, they've been using the profit from all their other games to fund this themselves going forward. That's why we've seen so many DF Humble Bundles and such. Frankly, I'm more concerned that they'll run themselves under with the project than I am that they're doing something shady with the money. The release of the first half of the game early never seemed like an issue to me. The second half is still going to come out on time and backers still get both. I think the scandal was almost entirely the making of people running with too little information.

Thanks for the response Jim, I know your time is valuable and I appreciate the thought you put into your reviews even after you post them. I've come to rely on them because I trust you to say what you think.

james.sponge:
I'm kinda reluctant to pick it up, watched a couple of gameplay videos, I dislike the art-style, child voice-actors and comedy is kinda bad. Recently replayed Grim Fandango and it was just so much better in the story, atmosphere and humour department. I don't know whether Schafer and co. simply burned out or am I simply not their target audience. Either way if it sells good for them.

The game is probably just not for you. A lot of the appeal to the game for me (I've played it already) was the art style, animations, music, and voice acting. All of them were FANTASTIC in my opinion. But since those things are all subjective, and you said you don't like the art style or the child voice acting (not sure what you mean by this since all the voice actors except maybe Vella's sister were adults who do this professionally?) those are both a big part of the game and if you don't like them then a large part of what I enjoyed about the game is missing for you.

The puzzles are logical and make you think but I never got stuck on any except one riddle towards the end. The story is good but could easily be enjoyed by children so it could be described as childish, but it's executed extremely well and has plenty of hooks for older players. The jokes come naturally and the game isn't trying to make you laugh at every line, which makes the actual jokes that much more enjoyable IMO.

Also dat spoon. Character of the year anyone?

Sight Unseen:

james.sponge:
I'm kinda reluctant to pick it up, watched a couple of gameplay videos, I dislike the art-style, child voice-actors and comedy is kinda bad. Recently replayed Grim Fandango and it was just so much better in the story, atmosphere and humour department. I don't know whether Schafer and co. simply burned out or am I simply not their target audience. Either way if it sells good for them.

The game is probably just not for you. A lot of the appeal to the game for me (I've played it already) was the art style, animations, music, and voice acting. All of them were FANTASTIC in my opinion. But since those things are all subjective, and you said you don't like the art style or the child voice acting (not sure what you mean by this since all the voice actors except maybe Vella's sister were adults who do this professionally?)

Indeed, perhaps actors are modulating their voice to sound a bit childish, naturally not all of them, but that's still kinda annoying for me. Anyway thanks for the reply, glad you are enjoying the game.

james.sponge:

Sight Unseen:

james.sponge:
I'm kinda reluctant to pick it up, watched a couple of gameplay videos, I dislike the art-style, child voice-actors and comedy is kinda bad. Recently replayed Grim Fandango and it was just so much better in the story, atmosphere and humour department. I don't know whether Schafer and co. simply burned out or am I simply not their target audience. Either way if it sells good for them.

The game is probably just not for you. A lot of the appeal to the game for me (I've played it already) was the art style, animations, music, and voice acting. All of them were FANTASTIC in my opinion. But since those things are all subjective, and you said you don't like the art style or the child voice acting (not sure what you mean by this since all the voice actors except maybe Vella's sister were adults who do this professionally?)

Indeed, perhaps actors are modulating their voice to sound a bit childish, naturally not all of them, but that's still kinda annoying for me. Anyway thanks for the reply, glad you are enjoying the game.

Well the voice actor for Shay is Elijah Wood, who just has a naturally childish voice. The actor for Vella is also an adult but her voice work is well done IMO and not obnoxiously childish at all to me. But yeah subjective opinions. If it really ruins the game for you then I guess you should give it a pass, but the game is really fun and hopefully you can pick it up on sale or something and play it.

If nothing else the game is great because you get to hear Commander Shepherd call you "Sweetie".
That alone had me in hysterics.

The only voices that were childish were those of the yarn pals and that was deliberate, since they were part of the nurserypunk aesthetic of the world Shay was trapped in.

Just finished the first part. It's been a long time since a game made me go "Whaaaaaaaat!?" I think the last time was Bioshock. I can't wait for part two!

Frozengale:
If nothing else the game is great because you get to hear Commander Shepherd call you "Sweetie".
That alone had me in hysterics.

I never played Mass Effect, but the way Jennifer Hale said "Sweetie" had me smiling. Absolutely lost it at Captain Sweetie.

 

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