Most people I’ve talked to have no idea what this game is, despite it being featured in a recent Humble Bundle. Allow me to illuminate you – it’s a point&click adventure game in the vein of the Monkey Island series about a group of people going back in time in order to prevent an ecological disaster that drives humanity close to extinction. That’s a mouthful. In addition, it’s presented in a beautiful graphic novel art-style.
Now, to get a bit deeper into it, A New Beginning – Final Cut from Daedalic Entertainment tells the story of a “save the Earth” effort undertaken from multiple points of view (at least as far as I’ve gotten). You get the jaded retired scientist Bent Svensson (heh, you get Bent), the guy responsible for the alternate energy technology based on algae, as well as fair friend Fay (from the banner), a younger, more hopeful and optimistic time travelling radio operator from the future. The character you are playing as your tool – you can inspect stuff in the environment with them, interact however you are able as well as retrieve items, combine them and use them to solve various puzzles and tasks. Herein lies the crux of the problem that many other adventure games have – some puzzles are so obtuse that you simply don’t know what you are to do next unless you consult some kind of a walkthrough. ANB doesn’t suffer from this problem (even though I eventually had to use a guide myself) much, as most of the puzzles are logical and easy enough to figure out, not to mention brilliantly designed from time to time.
Coming up with the solution on your own is invariably satisfying, although sometimes you may start to question the preparedness of Fay. Example – she’s a radio operator, but she completely forgets to recharge the battery of her radio-operating tablet-thing. She is portrayed to be somewhat of a klutz, but this is a “Save the world” situation here, one for which they’ve apparently prepared for 5 years or something. While these things may build character, it may also take you out of the immersion. That is a problem – the atmosphere is amazing and beautiful, taking you from setting to setting, with a fitting sound scape wherever you may be.
You will not get attached to the characters as you may have to Clem from The Walking Dead series – the reason will be apparent from the moment they start talking for more than 5 minutes. All the lines in the game have voice-overs, and eventually you will want to skip them, tired of the poor performance of the actors (and probably the translation as well). The voices aren’t grating to very high degrees, but they do represent the weak link in what is generally a great game. Also, you may think that a game about an environmental disaster may get preachy, but it doesn’t, at all.
For the 5 hours I’ve played, I’ve had fun with the game. I was engaged and interested, and I’ve still only gotten through about 40% thus far. You can get it here for 10 Euros/USD.
If you like point and click adventure games, you can’t go wrong with this one.