Grim Tales 6: The Vengeance
Release Date: 2014
Developer: Elephant Games
There’s Just No Excuse...****
BASED ON DEMO
For what Elephant have done to the beset Gray family this time. They’ve gratuitously changed the names in utterly ridiculous ways! And without any cause I can fathom. It really is quite unforgivable. Luckily, they have introduced a new dimension to the story – now we are not the only one who can travel back in time to significant events in a person’s lifetime.
SIGHTS & SOUNDS
As you’d expect from Elephant, the artwork in this game is brilliant. The style is beautiful, colourful, detailed. The Dobermans are way scary, and the creep behind them is ominous too. The voiceovers and acting are both excellent. Ambient sounds of a courtroom are pretty unnerving – all this shuffling and coughing, everything waiting on my ability to ‘read’ personal objects. Much of the music, though, really bugs me. Too loud and jarring. I am normally a person who finds music essential to the gaming experience, but in this case I think I’d rather silence. It is not for the whole game, though, and the rest of the quieter music is actually soothing and pleasant. There are 4 sliders for altering sound, plus gamma, and the usual mix.
Well, see, here’s where I get cranky. The “McGray” (previously known as the Gray) family is now minus my sister and her husband (remember, the first game, all those years ago, started with their wedding), who have died unceremoniously and left a will that leaves the entire estate to Elizabeth – reasons unknown. Even worse, Elizabeth is now also dead and our dear nephew James is accused of her murder! We, as Aunt Gray (what? My sis married into the Gray family, not me), are subpoenaed to give evidence to the court, based on our ability to use important objects as a kind of doorway to significant events in the past.
After finding an old photograph of the Black Rock (wasn’t it Black Lock?) mansion, we are transported back to a moment sometime before our niece’s death, to find James looking exceedingly angry and threatening Elizabeth. While they remain suspended in time, we must seek evidence of James’ innocence to show the judge. But we are not alone. Impossibly, something or someone is moving it this normally frozen environment. And it is getting nasty.
One thing I dislike about this game is that there is a confusing and contradictory back story to go with all this, with family trees and so forth, all delivered in an amazing assortment of media, that could have made the backstory interesting and involving. Again, why couldn’t they just stick to what we know and build from there?
Standard Grim Tales fare. Each location has an interactive word list HOP, as well as a puzzle/mini-game here and there. Nothing too demanding, and usually nicely integrated and imaginative. The adventure component is also not too difficult, and there is a teleporting hint system, as well as the interactive jump map. The map shows where they are active objectives, but also where there are none. The action flows nicely, but there is a lot of to and fro even this early into the game, so that map really is necessary. There is no notebook. The demo lasts for 2 out of 6 chapters.
The inventory is lockable, and there are items which can be combined in it. There is no journal, and there are only 3 levels of difficulty. The unique elements in the game play are the evidence items you must bring back from each excursion into the past. There are 5 items that must be found, and each has a story attached to it that may affect the judgement on James. These are indicated along the right side of the monitor and are separate from any other searches. That doesn’t explain how different this method of investigating is – you really need to have a go at it.
There are two types of collectible. There are 13 figurines, each with a story attached, and in groups of two or three, a film reel is played, giving further information. I played the beta for this game, where there are also 35 morphing objects and I didn’t find any in the demo. There are 10 achievements, based on performance.
The gallery has 9 wallpapers, including the Dobermans, 8 saveable concept art, 5 music tracks, and a screensaver of the beautiful waterfall.
Grim Tales has always been a simpler series of games than most of the other Elephant games, and this one ought to be too. The mechanism of testifying in court as a method of structuring the flashbacks is great, but all the changes, differences and contradictions that are to be found in this game spoilt it quite a bit for me.
Certainly not one of their best games, not a world beater, but a good game, if you can ignore these story-related issues.
I recommend this game!