Monday, 11 May 2009

PC Game Review - Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures Episode Two: The Last Resort

The second episode in TellTale Games' Wallace & Gromit: Grand Adventures, entitled "The Last Resort", brings to fruitition much of the potential shown, but not realised, by the first episode ("Fright of the Bumble Bees"). Everything about this second episode seems to be an improvement over the first, and the end result is a very satisfactory game.

Wallace and Gromit are, of course, the absent-minded inventor and his long-suffering dog from the popular claymation movies by Aardman Animation. In The Last Resort they are both very much in keeping with the characters we know and love from the films. There is a supporting cast of characters who may not be from the movies but who would fit into them easily enough, and the whole cast is voiced very well. The voice of Wallace is provided by an Aardman-provided replacement, and actually he's pretty convincing. With the game being better and, I think, the actor getting more into the part, it was actually easy to forget that it wasn't actually Peter Salis. (The voice actor in question is Ben Whitehead, who voiced Mr Leaching in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.)

The music is great, and another improvement over Episode One is that it never threatened to drown out the speech - though I still think having the option of controlling the music and speech volume separately would be better. I was already a fan of Jared Emerson-Johnson‘s music thanks to the Sam & Max games, and here he continues to show a superb talent for creating great music that perfectly fits the mood of the game.

Graphically it's good, with nice background graphics, a good level of graphical detail and great representations of the characters. The animation seems a little off at times, but nothing major. The lip-synching is greatly improved compared to the first episode, and this makes a lot of difference to the player's immersion into the game.

While it's one thing to perfectly capture the spirit of the Wallace & Gromit films, it's quite another to also create a good computer game. Happily TellTale Games have managed to do that as well - there are a good variety of puzzles and though the game won't take very long to complete, it's enjoyable all the way along. There's a lot of humour incorporated into the puzzle solutions themselves at times, and some are quite ingenious. The only drawback for seasoned adventure gamers is that they may feel the game is too easy - we completed this fairly quickly and never felt the need to look up any hints. However this combined with its fairly short length means that it's ideal for anyone new to the genre to get into adventure games.

The plot starts out simply enough - Gromit needs a break and so they decide to go to the seaside - but as you'd expect with Wallace in the picture, things never turn out quite as planned. Soon enough there's a disaster, and one madcap idea after another leads to Wallace setting up his own seaside holiday resort - in his cellar! Much eyeball-rolling by Gromit ensues, with Wallace somehow permanently unaware of how much he perplexes his faithful canine companion. There are plenty of errant inventions to add to the fun, dissatisfied customers aplenty, and a couple of very cute puppies who turn into little demons when their owner isn't looking.

As far as the interface goes, it's still not entirely satisfactory but having played the first episode already it didn't seem so bad. Using the keyboard for movement and the mouse for selecting objects on-screen (though the keyboard can be used for everything if you want), it's okay and you definitely do get used to it after a fairly short time, but it's still not as good as the purely mouse-driven interface used in most adventure games. Still it's not the worse input system ever devised for a game and it stops being annoying once you get used to it.

This second episode certainly improves on the first and makes me really look forward to the next episode. Anyone who likes Wallace & Gromit and / or adventure games is bound to enjoy it, only those gamers who feel that really tough puzzles are necessary in and adventure game may find it lacking.

System Requirements:

Operating system: Windows XP / Vista (Vista64 unsupported)
Processor: 2.0 GHz or better (3 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent recommended)
Memory: 512MB (1GB recommended)
Video: 64MB DirectX 8.1-compliant video card (128MB recommended)
Sound: DirectX 8.1 sound device
DirectX: Version 9.0c or better

Subtitles in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

See Also:

More Adventure Game Reviews

1 comment:

Desiree said...

Get any Telltale episodes for just $5 each.


promotion ends on June 17.

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