Written by  :  vicrabb (7299)
Written on  :  Aug 24, 2008
Rating  :  4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars

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It's Divine Law, Mr Jordan

The Good

Ben Jordan is a paranormal investigator, graduated in International Relations. But not wanting to work at the local grocery, he decided to conduct investigations... involving paranormal - after all, it was his passion...

Ben is spending Christmas with his family when Alessandro Renzi, an Italian living in Rome, phones him for helping him in clearing his name in a murder where the victim is a priest. Our hero calls Simon Booth and Alice Wilkins, two friends sharing his passion of the paranormal, for help and soon, the trio is investigating the case... Renzi thinks he's being possessed by a demon... Will Ben solve this mystery before it's too late?

Ben Jordan Paranormal Investigator - Case 7: The Cardinal Sins is the seventh case in the Ben Jordan series and is a free and independent game who can be downloaded from the official site. Next case will be the last and will be expected by many players. Grundislav says that we will have to wait for this one, so we can expect a date in the Q4 2009 or Q1 2010. Hope that it will not be the case.

Anyway back to Cardinal Sins. Gameplay is still the same. Players take control of Ben Jordan and can make him interact with his environment. For making him move, they had just to select the "walk" action and then click on where they want to see Ben. Ben can also talk (!), interrogate (?), observe (eyes) or pick up (finger) objects by doing the same scheme: choosing the action and then clicking on the chosen person or object. Ben can also combine objects in his inventory new look: a cursor for choosing the one you want to use, the eyes for observing and the finger for interacting with it. There is also a new thing in the banner action: the object you've currently chosen. As you remember, the Case 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 didn't had a map for moving from a location to another. The Deluxe Edition of Case 1 introduced the concept and you can find a map in Case 5. Moving in Case 6 was different because Ben had to visit some islands, so, instead of a map, you had to "chart a course for" by asking the boat captain. Case 7 sees the reappearance of the map. If you want to unlock locations, you have to speak with characters and than ask Simon to do some research for you.

You have also a setting menu for choosing voice only, voice and subtitles or subtitles only. As the game is fully voiced in English, having the choice to have the subtitles will be useful for non-English native speaking like me. Case 1 Deluxe was difficult to understand and unless knowing that you had a manipulation to do for making appear the subtitles was enough to frustrate me. Also, Grundislav has put an option to hear his commentaries like you find in Half-Life E1 and E2 - since Lost Coast in fact.

Graphics didn't really change if you except the eyes icon. But being in Rome, in a religious story, can bring some churchs interiors. And well, Grundislav was very good at designing them. Ben Jordan being a free game, you can't expect graphics like Half-Life can provide. Perhaps the confessional isn't well done and that the actors lounge is a little void but apart from that, it was a very good job.

Soundtrack is marvelous. The theatre sounds like a classic opera for example and going into a church brings you into a religious ambiance. I loved the soundtrack from the menu and the closing song. Add the very good music from Ben's room in his parents's house and from the police station and you have a flawless soundtrack.

Voice acting is good when coming to Alice, Simon, Percy or Ben. I can't say that the Italian characters sounded like Italian, being myself one (I'm Belgian and Italian) and having taken vacations since 6 in Italy. But you can feel that the actors behind it are trying to do their best. You can hear the interferences for some voices (like when you open the mic or shut it down) but it's easily forgiven when you know that Ben Jordan is an independent game made mainly by one person.

Grundislav answers some questions in the game like the famous thing with the two Alice Wilkins (Ben's girlfriend and the oldest resident of Smailholm) or with the disappearance of an unknown object on the Minotaur Island in case 6.

The Bad

My main negative point is that cliffhanger ending: you want to know what will happen to Ben now that we know who is the traitor, that we can suspect one of the trio being another traitor (I don't support this theory though) and that Grandpa Arthur seemed strange in the picture.

The ending itself was very sad with an "unexpected" death (Grundislav having done a poll on his forum has given a clue to a life lost in the game). It was a cruel thing but the leader of the secret cult involved in the story says that it was in the Bible: an eye for an eye. "It's Divine Law" comes from this bad guy as if killing someone dear to Ben was an answer to the death of his main follower.

A minor flaw is the "Italian" voice, as I've said, it doesn't sound Italian and well, even if voice acting is good, it's like in case 5 and the Japanese people not looking like it.

The Bottom Line

As good as can be this episode, I felt that it was inferior to the two previous cases, perhaps because it's my two favourites ones. But it's still a good case, even with this sad end and I'm waiting for the 8th case. I just hope that Alice is on the good side, that Percy is just infiltrating this order and that Simon will come back in one piece. Anyone can dream, no?