Review: Adam’s Venture Chronicles (PS3)

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Title: Adam’s Venture Chronicles
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.5 GB)
Release Date: February 4, 2014 (NA) / February 5, 2014 (EU)
Publisher: Playlogic
Developer: Vertigo Games
Original MSRP: $11.99 / €11.99
ESRB Rating: E
Adam’s Venture Chronicles is a console exclusive for PlayStation Network on the PS3 only. It is available episodically for PC.
The PlayStation Network version was used for this review.

Gameplay:
In the 1920’s there were a couple of archeologists. One was Adam and the other was Evelyn, mostly to keep the player guessing, “Do they mean Eve?!” Let me help you with that feather-weight story-telling clue: yes.

They don’t get any better than that. Apart from needing the story elements to move the player from puzzle to puzzle and from dangle to dangle, the story is very weak. So weak, in fact, they’ve tried beefing it up with Christian dogmatic word puzzles to give this running around some gravitas. Somebody was feeling mighty highfalutin’. So much that they built treasure chests into the proceedings filled with Christian words like Savior and Faith to collect and then enter into the game’s website to get free DLC. The writers would have served the game better by replacing the awkward religious references and outdated misogyny by Adam and misanthropy by Eve with both more clever use of archeological facts and period Abbott & Costello-type humor.

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The mechanics of finding the puzzles, which are the meat of the game, and executing their solutions is a mixed bag. By way of example, in Jerusalem, maybe 3 hours into the game you and Eve find yourselves in a dead-end alley. Eve just crosses some junk bridge before it breaks trapping you in that alley. Eve tells you to go find another way out while she keeps climbing up.

I did what the game told me to do. I searched for any alternate way out. I spent about ten minutes jumping around every wall and trying to climb or jump on every box to find a way out. Then after all that time thinking I had screwed-up somewhere, Eve suddenly says, “Look! I found this box! Maybe you can use this!” and she throws it down to me where I put it against the wall and climb right out. Hence and in fact, the puzzle didn’t really exist. There was no way out until she gave me the tool to climb out. The game lied.

At other times the game takes a long time explaining what’s obvious, like the fact a set of scales needs a counterweight to move, and then drops you face-first into a puzzle with keys and Chinese Checkers style marbles and a lovely animal plus animal equals other animal with no explanation whatsoever.

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Some of the puzzles are ridiculously frustrating progress-halters while others are just-right in difficulty. While the game is rated E for EVERYONE take heed: your kid will need your help. And you may need to call MIT.

There is a strange uneven feeling throughout the game. While there are puzzles and low-level platforming there is no combat whatsoever. There may be a building sense of urgency but when the urgency hits its zenith a cut-scene saves everyone. Except the bad guys, you know.

One section was set-up as stealth and turned-out to be no-stealth-required through a maze-y warehouse as if the devs all have ADHD. Squirrel.

Visuals:
There was a game in 2002 for GameCube called Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. A beautiful game twelve years ago, ED:SR was ahead of its time by approximately six years. Adam’s Venture Chronicles has ventured back six years to meet that game half-way with a sprinkle of screen tearing for authenticity.

Don’t get me wrong. The game doesn’t look bad. It just looks dated.

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Audio:
The surround sound is quite good much of the time. I love very specific surround sound design. I love to hear completely different sounds from my left front and right rear speakers. I’m just old-fashioned that way. I understand “realism” and subtlety. I just don’t care that much for it. I have realism. It’s called “shut-off-the-TV-and-open-a-damned-window”.

The musical score is appropriate and derivative of Greg Edmonson’s fine work on the Uncharted series of games and the cult smash Joss Whedon show Firefly.

Both musical score and sound design are by award winning composer Jonathan van den Wijngaarden who worked on Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams which I reviewed last July. I prefer his work here. If you go back and read what I said of the sound in Giana Sisters you’ll find I found it too subtle.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only.

Conclusion:
Adam’s Venture Chronicles is the kind of game you might forget you have until you upgrade your hard drive and find it in your download list at which point you think, “Well, why not?!” And at twelve bucks I think that’s a great place for it! I think if you enjoy puzzle games then go ahead and grab it just to have it and tinker with it. Don’t expect too much.

And believe it or not, and I almost feel nauseated as I write this, if you wanted to trophy-ho this it would be so easy. YouTube videos with solutions of each puzzle are on the Official Game Site: Don’t Do It Yourself AVC Cheats.

Score:
6.5
 

Written by Keith Dunn-Fernández

Keith Dunn-Fernández

An actor/director and more lucratively an Administrative Assistant at a small paper company in NYC, Keith loves his games. And he loves to write. And he is a bit of a sarcasmo.

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