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SummaryKeepsake is as bright as a shiny new penny to please anyone who loves adventures
The GoodI really enjoyed Keepsake. Here are some of the highlights:
- 3rd-Person Perspective
- An Intriguingly Captivating Story
- Imaginative, Breathtaking Graphics
- Mood Enhancing Music & Atmospheric Sound Effects
- Crisp, Clean & Simple Interface
- Challenging and interesting puzzles
- Lengthy Gameplay
- In-Game Hint System with Puzzle Auto Solve
- Innovative Inventory System
- Viewable Maps
The BadWicked Studios should be applauded for such a wonderful first game. But, there are a few things worth commenting on that take points off of a perfect score.
- Lengthy Installation (20-30 minutes)
- "Visions" Graphics aren't up to par with the rest of the game
- No "Load Game" while playing (you can only load an old game with a restart)
- No naming of saved games
- System Freezes in Windows XP (fixed with patch 1.6)
- Voice volume inconsistency (possibly fixed with Language Pack patch)
The Bottom LineThere have been so many mediocre adventure games released during the past few years, but fans of the genre are insatiable. They gobble up everything that comes along hoping for one that will satisfy in all categories - story, graphics and gameplay. Enter Wicked Studios, a brand new company on the scene, and surprise! ... Keepsake, their initial offering to the world, gives adventure lovers something to sink their teeth into.
All that is different is the same .. or IS it?
Searching a deserted locale, attempting to solve obscure puzzles to figure out what is going on - this premise is nothing new. Neither are beautiful graphics, digitally mastered music or well-integrated, varied puzzles. Keepsake contains all of these things plus the most important element in any adventure - a solid story line with a conclusive ending. Conversations between Lydia and her sidekick, Zak, form the backbone of the tale. As the game progresses, players learn about Lydia's background through that interaction - her life, her history and her feelings for her lost friend, Celeste. We all know it is rare and difficult to invoke player emotions within a game. Well, in the end, players may find that they actually care about Lydia and what has happened to her friend.
Several other aspects make this game shine above other 2006 releases. Keepsake brings some new innovations to the table that make gameplay a pleasure. For one thing, objects placed in inventory are used automatically - mentioned when necessary in conversations and applied to appropriate puzzles. While viewing your inventory you can see vague, faded-out versions of the objects you have yet to find. This provides incite and clues.
Another intuitive feature is the in-game hint system. During gameplay, click on the "?" icon and you will be shown your next objective (what you should do and where). While inside the puzzle-solve window, you can receive 3 hints .. and decide to "auto solve" (something I admit having to do on several of them).
It's a major plus when a game containing all of the key elements also works well. Unfortunately, some companies simply ignore problems and move on to the next project. Wicked Studios didn't hide or abandon their customers. They showed us their integrity by facing the challenges head-on and promptly releasing patches.
To summarize - Beauty is not skin-deep here. Treats for your eyes, ears, imagination, your mind, and your emotions await you in Keepsake. Although there are a few things that knocked off points towards a perfect score, I think you'll find, like I did, that the good far outweighs the bad.
By the way, the ending concludes this particular story very well - but it also leaves us wondering about Lydia's future at Dragonvale Academy. Is a sequel planned, perhaps? I'll be watching .. and hoping!