19 April 2014

Moebius: Empire Rising

Moebius: Empire Rising is a Kickstarter-funded new adventure game by Jane Jensen (best known for the Gabriel Knight series about a New Orleans author/bookstore owner/'Shadow Hunter').

Moebius follows a somewhat similar pattern, focusing on Malachi Rector, an antique store owner who discovers he is something more, and is drawn into a search by a government agency researching repeating patterns of history.

Graphics
Graphics-wise, Moebius is pretty basic.  The 3D models are clunky in both animation and shape, and the comics-style cutscenes are no more than serviceable.

Gameplay
Agreeably well put together puzzles, with nothing too taxing.  Rather pointless cave-wandering exercise toward the end.  A couple of possible places to die, but otherwise nothing difficult.  On the Zork-factor scale, 2/10 in unforgiving.

Characters
Rector is rather blatantly styled on the BBC's Sherlock, with a superiority factor through the roof, sarcastic comments galore, and a tendency to display mental analysis in words popping up on the screen.  He is funny, but far from a nice person (definitely not the same model as the rogue-type of Gabriel Knight).  David, his primary off-sider, is the straight-laced soldier type.  There's a probable m/m romance going on between this pair, but it only takes the steps toward trust in this the first outing of a possible series.

Story
Rector is an antiques savant, and gets himself into physical danger by occasionally debunking fakes.  A new client wants him to turn his historical knowledge to a different end - establishing connections between the lives of existing people and famous people of the past (not reincarnation so much as parallels).

There is an oddness to this process, because we see Rector investigating the lives/murders of people, but being completely disinterested in solving the minor mysteries, only in establishing parallels.

Spoilery Bit
And the problem that rises in the story and the characters is the attitude towards women.

Rector (apparently an extremely desirable man) is theoretically pursued and wooed and spurns them all except for favouring the occasional woman with strictly one night stands only.  This includes with his assistant from his antiques store, who he treats with either contempt or courtesy, apparently depending on his whims.

The plot revolves around identifying the woman who will marry and support to power a future US President.  Someone has been trying to figure out who this woman will be - and kill her.

Women in the game do not come off well.  They are either jealous, there to support men to power, vapid, sex-hungry, or sex-starved.  [The only exceptions to this is a brief telephone conversation with a female senator, and two 'tough' Muslim women.]  There's even a plot point apparently revolving around how women shouldn't expect fidelity from their husbands.  Men are the people who do stuff in this story, and women are there to support them or present obstacles.

This is all a bit of a downer in comparison to the Gabriel Knight series, where we had Grace Nakimura, ever-ready to call Gabriel on his shit, and to get stuff done.

If it wasn't for all the negativity toward women, I'd call this a reasonable game, if nothing spectacular.  But, funny as his snark could occasionally be, Malachi Rector was simply too off-putting for me to want to take another outing in this world.

4 comments:

  1. Oh man. Not only do you write addicting books that I'm loving now that I've found them, but you also know about Moebius and Jane Jensen and Gabriel Knight?! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised - I definitely "squeed" when Cass mentions puzzle-based adventure games available through the interface. And escort quests. Would it be presumptuous of me to declare you a kindred soul? LOL

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  2. Ha - at the least you can call me a gamer. ;) I really like adventure games, though few of the recent revival attempts have really worked. This one's not a patch on the Gabriel Knight series, sadly.

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  3. I saw that you're a Dragon Age fan, too. I love those games. I wasn't hooked the first time I tried Mass Effect, but decided to give it another go when I was going through Dragon Age withdrawal after Origins, and those games turned out to be phenomenal, too. Have you ever played any of the Quantic Dream games? Fahrenheit (name changed to Indigo Prophecy in US), Heavy Rain, or Beyond: Two Souls? Some people don't care for them because they're a lot like interactive movies rather than a traditional style of gaming, but the stories are pretty amazing

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  4. I'm so sad I'm going to miss the DA: Inquisition release this year.

    I haven't played Fahrenheit, etc, although I have gone to pick up Heavy Rain once or twice and hit wrong console issues or something. I don't mind interactive story games, depending on what the story is.

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