It's sad when a game that is at heart a game of Simon Says is declared "innovative" and "quirky" by video game writers. While Indigo Prophecy may be different from your average game, it's not in a good way. This game was definitely one of the most overrated games of 2005.
The game goes for that "interactive movie" feel, which means it should have a riveting plot, right? Let's see...a murder takes place in the bathroom of a diner, and you play as the killer (Lucas) who comes to in the bathroom with no recollection of what he just did and desperately searches to find out who manipulated him to kill before he gets caught by the cops. This part of the plot gets more and more ridiculous as the game progresses, involving lots of stars in circles, spooky candles, mysterious people in hoods, and something called the Purple Clan. You also play as the two detectives on the case (Tyler and Carla). The story was compelling at first and I wanted to find out what happened until the plot spun out of control and lost its grounding in reality.
So strike the plot, does this "interactive movie" have fun gameplay at least? It's sort of promising in the beginning, but it sucks also. Action sequences are Simon Says...basically a circle thing with 4 buttons will show up on the screen. If the bottom one lights up, you have to press Down or S in a short amount of time for your character to complete that segment of the action sequence. This gets a bit more complicated later, but I don't feel like explaining it because it sucks and isn't fun. Not only are the action scenes usually lame (and sometimes with crappy Matrix moves that look like they mo-capped the Oracle rather than Neo), you can't even really pay attention to them because you're too busy playing Simon Says. Sometimes, scenes will require you to tap left and right as fast as you can. Fun.
Where the gameplay looked promising at first was the illusion of open-endedness. When Lucas is leaving the diner, he should wash his hands in the sink and remember to pay his bill, for example. I forgot to pay the bill and the waitress noticed. The few first levels give off the feeling of freedom, but it's just an illusion as levels continue to offer you some choices, but either they don't really make a difference or there is just one right answer or way to do things. Lame! True open-ended gameplay lets you do several things to complete an objective, and each have their pros and cons. This game isn't like that. After all it's supposed to be a movie and movies only turn out one way. If you want open-endedness, I suggest Hitman 2. The interrogation level was pretty creative though, but explaining why would spoil a lot of things.
While you might think it's cool to play both the cat and mouse in this game, it gets really stupid in that same interrogation scene, when you're forced to side with Lucas.
An "interactive movie" should have good graphics at least, no? Well maybe Indigo does on the Xbox but on the PC, it flat-out reeks. Now I know my laptop isn't high quality stuff, but it is well above the system requirements and looks crappy even on the highest settings. And every other computer game I've played has gotten more out of the ole' laptop. It's also really glitchy, with glimpses of the "blue hell" from GTA games where your character ends up going under the floor or in two places at once...it's kind of hard to explain, I guess. Also objects will keep appearing and disappearing. Often my player will disappear also, which complicates things. Some parts of the game are just hilarious graphically, such as facial expressions. Someone tell Atari that a smile is more than just shaping your lips a certain way; smiles in this game look downright spooky.
Even though I'm 21, I feel that I'm clearly not the demographic Atari was looking for in this game. Atari is looking for gamers that...
-love the Matrix right down its slo-mo moves and dramatic dialogue that doesn't make any sense
-like Simon Says
-like to tap left and right as fast as they can
-want to see Carla naked (though she has no nipples...dunno if it's a glitch or what)
-don't mind being tricked about open-ended gameplay that isn't so open
Sure Indigo Propechy stands out. Just not in any of the good ways.
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