Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review - 1954 Alcatraz

Alcatraz 1954 is a point and click adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment based in the mid 1950s as the title points out. You play as Joe and his wife Christine just as Joe is locked away in the famous maximum security prison Alcatraz for a heist that went wrong. Between the two characters you are entrusted with the tasks of solving a mystery behind Joe’s arrest Placing Christine in danger and getting Joe out of the inescapable prison. Now as always I will keep the spoilers down to a minimum for those of you who wish to go off and play this game so I will keep references to the main story to a minimum as much as possible.

Visual Style

I have to admit I really like the Visual style of this game. The characters are presented to you in a very interesting stylized kind of art work. And with many of the back drops to the game being hand drawn works of art I really enjoyed the way this game looked. There is a very 1950s feel to Alcatraz the way the environments are drawn and the atmosphere this creates is quite impressive. The characters and environments are colorful bit still manage to create the feeling of one of those old private eyes detective movies of the same era. The game has a very cool intro that helps set the style for the rest of the game and a lot of this game is based around that from that point on. Alcatraz has a rather interesting feature which adds to visual style of this title you are given the option of either playing it in the standard visual mode in which you start off in or at any time you can flick it to 1954 mode which places a brown tinge over the entire game and add the effect that you are playing the game in the same style as you would watch a old movie from this area.

Throughout the game the artists have clearly taken effort make the buildings, characters and surroundings feel like a genuine part of the time period this game is set in nothing feels out of place or misrepresented. You can tell that the look and style of Alcatraz 1954 was a big part in this titles development and I have to say I think the effort has paid off. Now Alcatraz might not be the best looking game in the world but in my opinion the art style and the way the game is represented is probably the strongest part of this title and it works it has the write balance of cartoon exaggeration, Stylisation and influence from that time period to just stand out and come across as something a little different.


As mentioned before Alcatraz 1954 is a point and click adventure and as such you can expect to see the usual traits hat you see in most point and click adventures that are in a similar vein as games like the earlier titles in the broken sword series. You have the option to mix and combine Items you find throughout the game, You have the ever present puzzles fetch quests and hidden object tasks that come with the territory of point and click games.
The basic features of Alcatraz are all pretty standard you will not find any surprises there , What is a nice change from point and click games I have played in the past is the balancing of the games difficulty, Some point and click games feel like they have been designed for a two year old could fly through it or they have been made by the Devil himself so that you will never get anywhere. This title however does not feel to easy and at the same time does not feel to difficult you will get some tasks which might leave you stumped for a bit or that you can solve pretty much straight away but overall Alcatraz if a fairly well balanced and entertaining game to play through.

Now so far Most of what I have described has been pretty straight forward stuff for a point and click adventures however one thing that this game does which is A little different from the other point and click games is this title gives you the ability to switch between Joe and Christine on the fly for the most part. This is a pretty cool feature as it means you can jump from character to character when ever you have some progress in the story and helps create the feeling that both characters are working towards the same objective together while still being in different areas.

Another cool feature I enjoyed was the fact that every now and then the game will throw choices at you, Now we have all seen morale choices thrown into countless games over the years but I think this games does it fairly well it does not constantly shove these options down your throat every five minutes and the game also does a great job of not making the presence of these choices a big deal they are just there and you make your choice and deal with what happens.
So that is the basic features of the gameplay but how does the game play!! Well top be honest it plays fine I never ran into any problems, the game did not crash and the features worked fine so all is good.


This is one area I have always had a bit of trouble with when it comes to Point and click adventures, I never really feel able to get to drawn into these games and Ninety percent of the time it is due to the lousy voice acting and stiff jittery animation and crappy story.
Alcatraz 1954 however does a pretty good job on these fronts, the game has good voice acting and a cool smooth visual style and although the story will not have you in tears it is still a decent story. The characters you meet all feel well designed and flushed out, the game does a great job of making the characters in this game feel like, well like characters really and they manage to do this without throwing a load of dialogue and info at you. Instead the give these NPC's all very unique personality's which i think is a great touch.That added with the Nice visual style of the game the dev's have done a pretty decent job of drawing you into this game.

Life span

So as you can imagine point and clicks can lose their appeal real fast so stretching a game out over a large amount of hours can be a real turn off and a never play the game again issue with these titles. Alcatraz was not to bad when it came to this I managed to get through one full playthrough in a little under eight hours while taking my time and maybe having a few vodka N orangeade....What it was a weekend!! So eight hours is not to bad I think it is just the write length to playthrough once and not to long to put you off another playthrough if you want to try out other options in another playthrough.

So overall Alcatraz 1954 is a decent point and click adventure with an interesting story great visual style, well designed characters and a entertaining story it is a nice break from all the huge heavy AAA games that are out there and is a nice pick up and play title although for £16 you might think its a tad high for a point and click but I think it is worth the money.

This game may not be the next biggest thing in gaming but it sure is a nice relaxing fun title to play if you are looking for something a bit slower paced than all that rushing around blowing stuff up, fighting demons and saving the world. Its nice to play something a little different at times.


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