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Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story (Collectors Edition) (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  piltdown_man (68844)
Written on  :  Apr 01, 2013
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars
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Summary

More of the same - which isn't a bad thing

The Good

This is the Collectors Edition so in this review I'm mainly commenting on the additional content and not the main game.

The bonus content consists of an interactive game guide, which is available from the start of the game, and additional content which gives access to the game's cut scenes, wallpapers, deleted scenes, the full storyline and the music files some of which are only available when the bonus chapter has been completed.

Of these the game guide and the bonus chapter are what would what I would pay extra for. Seeing the game's storyline written out in full only made me realise how silly it is. The wallpapers are nice and I may even use one for a while but they are not something I'd keep and the music is fine in the game but it's not something I'm going to kick back and listen to.

The game guide is well done. It starts by explaining the game and then takes the player through every scene. It explains the solution to the lock puzzles, says where inventory items are to be found and where they are used, and shows the location of every hidden object.

The bonus chapter is also well done. It offers little in the way of new content but the re-use of existing scenes is well done. Overall, depriving the game of the opening chapter is what gives it its mystery element and providing the starting point at the end finishes the game off nicely. Quite a neat trick.

The Bad

The bonus chapter was shorter than I would have liked, I completed it in around half an hour.

The hint system recharged instantly. I'd have preferred it to be consistent with the difficulty setting of the main game.

There is no replay value in the bonus content or in the main game. There's no points system and no record of how fast the game was completed so there's nothing to beat next time around. As the game guide helpfully lists the location of all the hidden objects this means the game is static and there can be no variation on the next time through.

The Bottom Line

Playing the main game on it's own is OK but the additional content with the bonus chapter rounds off the story nicely. By giving the story a beginning the designers make sense of the ending.

The strategy guide is well done and tells the player everything they need to know to get through with a perfect score - if there were a scoring system that is. It sounds essential but it's not really necessary, after looking at it early on to see how the game played I didn't refer to it again.