Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: The Brotherhood
Release Date: 8/31/2015
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Point and click adventures are a dying breed. They used to rule the 90s when computers weren’t quite powerful enough to fully render beautiful and detailed environments. Instead, they would be pre-rendered images or animation that played out with triggered scripts. This was carried over into consoles with games like Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, and even Final Fantasy. You won’t see pre-rendered graphics anymore, but there’s a novelty about them. Stasis is a modern game but is built like it was in the 90s and gives it a certain charm. I have to say this is one of the best I have ever played and is so memorable.
With this kind of game, it’s all about the story and characters, as well as the atmosphere. Without those adventure games, yore is pointless and uninteresting. There’s very little gameplay involved with just you guiding your character around and solving puzzles as well as unraveling the story. Stasis does all this perfectly with very little inventory management. You just use your mouse to guide John around on the screen and click on things. Puzzles are actually quite good and make sense most of the time, but occasionally you get the one where you have to finally break out the walkthrough. This is an unfortunate staple of the genre and there’s no fighting it.
With the controls and gameplay aside let’s talk about the story and atmosphere, and man does it have a lot of that. The atmosphere is so scary and incredibly detailed that it trumps some AAA games today. John wakes up on a desolate ship that’s been torn apart. He wakes from stasis sleep and must find his daughter and wife. This involves talking to a character through radio content who guides you the whole way and the whole story folds out mostly through PDA log entries which are perfect for this kind of game. Without reading these logs you won’t care much about the story, but the logs are written so well that the characters come out. They are small entries that take a few minutes to read, but they really stick with you through the whole story.
Each area of the ship has a set of characters that were fighting about something or going through some sort of psychological issue prior to the ship being overrun by Hybrids. This tells you how life on the ship was before and during the disaster. The Groomlake is a mining vessel turned laboratory run by a corporation that specializes in human cloning and genetic research. This, of course, goes awry as their experiments break out and kill everything on the ship. It sounds cheesy, but it’s unfolded slowly and down very well. The atmosphere is pronounced with the great voice acting, sound design, and music that go along with it all. Gore is everywhere as well as some of the most disturbing imagery scenes in a game that would give anyone nightmares. The horror and ambiance of this game are bar none and really set some standards in my book.
When John screams or is in pain you really feel it despite it being a pre-rendered animation on the screen. The sound effects are just blood-curdling and make your skin crawl. From the weird robotic voices of the announcers to the blood splatters and screams you hear, it’s sound design to a whole new level. The Brotherhood really mastered the adventure genre and this game would have made headlines back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I don’t want to spoil anything but say more scary or horrifying moments, but I played this straight through and didn’t stop and that’s an accomplishment. Like I stated before, the gameplay is lacking, but that’s okay as the atmosphere and story keep you sucked in and you don’t want anything too complex that would detract you from that.
In the end, come for the story and atmosphere. If you don’t like adventure games this may just change your mind, and anyone who loves the genre has to play this. It sets a new standard for the genre and brings it back in my eyes.