Short version: 79%
While lots of the fans who enjoyed the astounding visuals and the over-the-top silliness in the first two games will be hugely disappointed on how “normal” Runaway 3 is, the game really does everything to get rid of all the bad things that plagued The Dream of the Turtle and give us an enjoyable and good-paced crime/thriller story in the form of a much more traditional point-and-click adventure game, which also includes the best characterisation of the two main protagonist, as well as huge improvements in gameplay and puzzles.Long version:
Runaway: A Twist of Fate is the third and (so far) final instalment of the series. One of the most obvious features of the game is that lots, if not all aspects of it were changed quite dramatically: the bad things improved and the good things became worse.
But the good news is that this means the developers turned the god-awful Runaway 2 into a really enjoyable game.
Yes, the background graphics are duller, somewhat more boring. The lush and colourful backdrops are a thing of the past, most of the game takes place in very realistic places.
Same goes for soundtrack. While the first two games had very catchy (albeit dated) main themes, A Twist of Fate uses more traditional songs.
And on the other hand…
You can forget the aliens. You can forget the super-secret government agency with its badly designed Bond-villain rejects. You can forget the ugly faces which would have been thrown out from a bad Nickelodeon cartoon. You can forget the painfully bad voice acting. You can forget the needlessly overcomplicated and outlandishly illogical puzzles. You can forget the plot twist and event turns that come out of nowhere and lead nowhere. And most importantly: you can forget Joshua, who you can see for a few seconds only if you ever use the built-in hint system. That, s right: the most annoying piece of the Runaway franchise isn’t even mentioned in this game’s story.
You can also forget the frustrating pixel-hunting: all hotspots can be highlighted now, so instead of combing through every microdot of every screen, you can focus on solving the puzzles and advancing in the story.
The only thing that barely changed is that large portion of the dialogues are still forced plot-dumps, but the quality of the writing improved so much it may take three or more chapters until you really start noticing it.
And have I mentioned that the new plot offers a way to completely retcon the aliens and all the nonsense that we saw in the last game and act like if it was a simple delusion? It even lets us think that the more cartoonish elements in the first game (like conversing with the dead) were only the result of a wild imagination trying to spice up a simple mafia story.
Because the new story yet again bases itself in reality. In a Hollywood-ish reality, but still reality: you are on the run from a bunch of assassins who plot to kill you all the while they are trying to make lots of money. No bowling ball teleporters, no telepathic aliens, just a very sound thriller story.
With a good load of campy and cheesy humour that is put only where it should be, not forcing itself into situations that are intense or dramatic. No over-the top Monkey Island imitations, just a little spoof here and there.
Still, the game is far from perfect of course, hence the “score”. For one thing, it is considerably shorter than the first or second one. The plot is still shoddy sometimes, the puzzles are a little bit forced (for example you just happen to find a rare statue ten meters away when you are asked to find one) and the voice acting still falls flat for the new main actor, but overall the game is a major improvement and a really exciting and worthy conclusion of the Runaway trilogy
Too bad you have to suffer through the second instalment to fully understand the story.