Indsendt: 6. november 2014
TLDR: A low-quality point and click game with an awful story, terrible voice-acting and puzzle design that averages on poor. Only really recommended for those that loved the original game or are really desperate for an adventure game; and only then on a sale.
Long story: You play as Nina and Max once more, but after they have apparently broken up. Nina bumps into a guy minutes before he horribly dies, only to find that she has gotten his luggage by mistake. Cue secret sect which threatens the world and you have the makings of the most cliché story ever. Now, there is nothing wrong with a cliché story, as long as the details make it come alive and the characters make it memorable. Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis does not do that. The story is awful from the start until the very end. It does not seem to know whether it wants to be a more serious game (like Broken Sword which is seems heavily inspired by or is trying to mock… I don’t know which) or a light comedy… but the “if this was a computer game” jokes clash badly with the scenes where we are supposed to believe Nina is scared or feels guilty. It’s all a mishmash of different tones. This may in large part be due to the horrific voice acting. Some of the side-characters are fine, but the ones for Nina and Max are atrocious. Nina’s voice actress does not seem like she could hit a right intonation if it bit her in the throat. She butchers every half-decent joke the script throws at her. Max’s actor instead seems to have been told “speak slower… and douchier! No douchier!” The only saving grace is the fact that you can skip dialogue and cutscenes; if not for this I would not have finished the game at all. However, this still means that you’ll be skipping most of the dialogue and whatever atmosphere and hilarity they were trying to convey.
The puzzles then. Some of the puzzles not related to items are actually quite nice. Nothing too challenging, but good fun. The item puzzles are a bit more problematic. They are often obtuse or suffer from the same adventure game logic as other games in the genre (i.e. many puzzles should have been solvable with other objects), but that’s okay if not great. The real problem is that the game loves throwing a ton of items at you, but rarely explains your goals very well. This means that you are almost always combining items without any clue or reason why, and you’re forced to try them out randomly at whatever spots are available. It was exceedingly rare for me to feel like I was actually planning my actions in any logical sense. For example, on the boat you are supposed to build a European monument, but while you are given some cities from which you can build, you are given no examples of monuments from those cities. Maybe you know them all, maybe you don’t. Personally I had not visited the city from which the correct monument was from and only built it by randomly combining items. No thought, no plan required or even encouraged. The game is full of that kind of thing. The worst of which is probably when you are supposed to get a street cleaner to clean the street by getting him wet. *SPOILER* You do so by getting an alarm to go off which makes a guy run there, which makes his friends drive by and miss him, which makes them turn up on the bridge, into the puddle which makes the guy wet. *END SPOILER*. The solution would be fine, if there was any indication that this is what would happen if these events were set in motion. Instead the only reasonable way to figure it out is by doing everything possible with your items at the different locations and hope for the best. That is not good puzzle design.
I will not compare Secret Files 2 to the original game, because frankly I don’t remember it that well (though if I’m not mistaken they liked to drown you in items there too), but I did like it well enough to want to try the sequel… but only if it was on sale. Apparently I did not like the original so much that I thought the sequel must be worth 10 Euro. And I was right, it isn’t. In fact, I’m not sure it is worth the 2.5 Euro I paid. It’s not an awful game. Puzzlewise it is a very standard adventure game, not special in any way. It just happens to be coupled with a boring story and main characters which are either bad in of themselves, or are just made so by their horrific voice-actors. Anyway, I can’t recommend the game unless you are deeply in love with the series or desperately want an adventure game. But even then, there are definitely better ones out there.