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SummaryA Good Game, but could have been SO much better...
The GoodBlade Runner the game is, at first glance, a wonder to behold. Particularly, if you're a fan of the 1982 movie starring Harrison Ford. Here is a game that plunks you into the steamy, gloomy world of Los Angeles 2019.
Visually speaking the game nails the look of the movie perfectly. The graphic artists were able to emulate the dark urban landscape created by Syd Mead and Ridley Scott in the original movie with aplomb.
The story isn't half-bad either, and somehow it is able to tip-toe around the continuity of the original movie without mussing it up. That's quite a feat!
To a lesser degree the replayability the game offers is a nice feature but unfortunately this is partly based on your own actions, as some of the alternative sequences and endings are dependent on random variables set at the start of a new game.
The BadI must agree with another reviewer on this site that remarks that the game lacks a "logical progression" to obstacles and challenges. When chasing a suspect down an alleyway that ends at a closed door, the game just expects you to just leave it at that. It isn't until you return to your character's apartment that the suspect finds you... HUH?!?
I would go one step further and say that all the other problems of logic this game has stem from one source. Perhaps the game designers wanted to keep their game interface simple, or perhaps they didn't want to bother with a level of interaction more complex. The interface is extremely dumbed-down. Talking to characters is a simple matter of point-and-click. You don't really choose the topic, your character "decides" for you. The options screen gives you the ability to alter your character's "mood" that can affect the outcome of your conversations, but the outcomes aren't very apparent and again don't really give you control over what your character really should be saying.
Same goes for collecting evidence. It's a simple point and click affair, as well as hit and miss. Sometimes you'll pick up a key piece of evidence that will unlock additional dialogue with a character. Other times you'll pick up evidence that SHOULD be relevant, but the characters are oblivious. An excellent example of this would be the various photos that one scans into the ESPER machine. One of the photos clearly shows a suspect that your character needs to meet, but try as you might you cannot get an acknowledgment of this from anyone.
Things like this will have you running around the game's Los Angeles landscape for hours in frustration because you honestly don't know what to do. There's no excuse for this either since at this point in history, adventure games had matured considerably.
As I've stated the game's visuals for its various locations and scene transitions are dead on when it comes to the movies. However, I wish Westwood would have future-proofed the graphics a little more. Characters are generated using something akin to Voxel technology, but while this might have been state-of-the-art in 1997, today they are an eyesore.
Audio is excellent with Vangelis' soundtrack reproduced faithfully here by Frank Klepacki. However voice work is spotty, even by the supposed A+ Hollywood Talent. Sean Young makes a brief "cameo" here as her character Rachael, and her reading sounds stiff and wooden as if she's merely reading the words off the script rather than acting. This was a huge disappointment.
The Bottom LineAs a veteran of adventure games I can say that Blade Runner is decent, if a bit short. Once you know your way through the plot you could probably beat it in less than three or four hours. First time around might take you five to ten hours.
If you're a fan of the source material, it's likely you can look past the games inherent problems. It has lots of great Blade Runner moments that will have fans smiling knowing full well the developers are giving them a wink and a nod.
For those who aren't familiar with the movie, you might have a tougher time appreciating this, and for good reason, since there are other games out there that are longer, more complex, and better designed.
Overall, Blade Runner is not a bad game by far. I can't help but wonder what kind of game it could have been if done properly, with a more complex interface, and a more fleshed out story line. Perhaps Blade Runner was just too ahead of its time for its own good, and could have benefited from today's technology.
I guess we'll never know...