The Moment of Silence

aka: MoS
Moby ID: 15726

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 76% (based on 48 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 37 ratings with 3 reviews)

Inadequate path finding tarnishes an otherwise good game

The Good
Our technological age is really in its infancy. No one can foresee what will happen in the next generation or two .. say 40 years from now. The Moment of Silence explores the mysteries of what the future in a technology-rich society could be like. In that society, people zip to and fro in streamlined vehicles, virtual communication has made the pen and paper obsolete and the use of robotics is part of everyday life. But, this futuristic world is not as utopic as it may seem.

The game has a decent length and a very engaging storyline. As you progress, you learn that Peter has just lost his wife and son in a plane crash. Taking a few weeks off from work because of the loss of his family, helping his neighbor find her husband is a good distraction. But, as he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation, he can't help but feel that the two incidents may be connected somehow. He learns of a governmental conspiracy, and the plot of intrigue thickens.

I played the US version from The Adventure Company, which came to me with 4 CD-Roms. After installation, the discs can be stored away and are never called by the software at all. Starting the game, saving and loading is a breeze.

Gameplay in The Moment of Silence is decidedly different than most point-and-click adventure games these days. Get ready to do a whole lot of reading, because the entire story will unfold only by talking at length to other characters. The only puzzles you'll find are object-based.

Graphics depict people, places and things very well. The cut-scenes are really great, in my opinion. The actors and actresses portrayed their characters exceptionally well. The musical score is also very good. There seems to be no limit to the number of games you can save, and they can be named. Subtitles can be turned on or off, which I like. And, like House of Tales' previous game, Mystery of the Druids, you are automatically returned to your exact location when you begin the game again.

The Bad
Although I liked this game, there are some very irritating things about it that bring down its overall score. I'll try to explain.

Say you're in a nice large room with numerous pathways branching off tempting you to explore them. Click in any direction and your character should walk there .. but in MoS, that doesn't happen. In fact, he might take a completely unexpected turn or even reverse back to where he started. The lack of enough directional cursors is blatantly obvious throughout. The camera angles change as he walks and actually hinder instead of help.

Pixel-hunting is also a problem in this game. Hot spots are tiny and well hidden. If you receive a "hand icon", Peter should at least comment upon it, but doesn't in most cases. You are actually expected to use an inventory object on any spot like that. I just found the "silence" annoying.

I also found clues for the puzzles almost non-existent.

The Bottom Line
This could have been so much better! It has a great story, graphics, sound and good puzzles, but those weren't enough to make it great. What should have been effortless "point-and-click" actions became more like hard work.

I would recommend this game to adventure fans, but be prepared for its shortcomings.

Windows · by Jeanne (75367) · 2005

Has good moments... but overall not very satisfying

The Good
In recent years we have seen some serious contributions to the adventure genre from various European developers. The Longest Journey and Syberia have gained world-wide popularity. Moment of Silence is yet another European (German) adventure game, trying, as most of its contemporaries, to revive the stagnating genre.

The setting of the game is probably its most attractive aspect. New York of 2040 looks neither like your typical dark post-apocalyptic city, nor is it overridden with senseless sci-fi elements. The designers cleverly utilized one of the most evident tendencies of our time, turning it into the dominating power of the future world: the overwhelmingly rapid development of communication techniques. A decade ago only a few freaks knew what internet was, and now any little kid can go ahead and browse the web. So in Moment of Silence, you have an interesting picture of the future: everything is digital, each person has his own "messenger" which replaces all other devices (used for such different activities as calling people, paying money, identifying oneself, etc.), and one of the most wide-spread activities is chatting online with people you know nothing about, except their "avatars": animated faces, voice, and everything else.

A lot of thought has been put into the game's dialogues. While many of them are standard adventure fare ("Do you have the item I need?"... "What should I do to get it?.."), there are some in-depth conversations which are written really well. For example, Oswald's diary is quite a fascinating piece of fiction. It is rather long and contains vital information, but it is the style of the diary which raises it above average.

There are lots of conversations in the game, which is of course a good thing, and most of them are not obligatory. Of course, you'll want to deplete all the dialogue trees to make sure you haven't missed some important clues, but actually only a small part of those conversations is necessary to advance the story.

The gameplay of Moment of Silence is traditional third-person adventure style, but with more emphasis on conversations than on puzzles. It is not as "puzzle-less" as for example Blade Runner, nor is it heavy on clue-combining like Discworld Noir; you could best describe it as a "light" adventure game with a good balance of dialogue and inventory-based gameplay. Most of the puzzles are quite logical and can be solved without too much frustration (although many of them are marred by some serious pixel-hunting). The game also has a good tempo, you are neither stuck in one location for a long time, nor do you have to backtrack during the entire game. The first part is more open-ended, and you'll be traveling a lot from location to location in it, but the second part is very streamlined.

The graphics may be outdated, but some of the areas look pretty nice. More impressive are the pre-rendered cutscenes, which are quite dramatic and bring a lot of action into the game. There aren't many of them during the first part of the game, but later there are places where cutscenes abound.

The Bad
Even though there is nothing truly bad about the game (except path-finding!), there is also nothing great. Occasional satire and interesting setting are not enough to make this game stand head and shoulders above the bleak adventure community of today, let alone bring the glory back to the genre.

But first let's refer to what is really bad in the game... you guessed it, it's path-finding. As Jeanne stated in her review, path-finding is so terrible that it ruins the entire game, and while path-finding alone was not what ruined the game for me, I found it irritating to the utmost degree. You want Peter to move to the left, but he moves to the right. You want him to leave a location, but he gets stuck in front of an empty place. You want to navigate him somewhere, but all he does is running in circles. This aspect of the game is really unprofessionally done. I can't adequately describe how annoying it is to control the hero in this game.

What's more, like in many adventure games, the world of Moment of Silence looks much bigger than it really is. You see lots of cool places, but you can't go there. You can't move closer to something that looks interesting to you. Often you move in weird lines instead of just walking directly to the goal. And the camera is terrible. For some reason they decided to make Peter so extremely small in some locations, that he becomes almost invisible, a poor little pixel on the background, so you have to click somewhere on the screen just to find out where the damn guy is. And instead of making the backgrounds scroll, they let the camera change angles every few steps. You enter a large room from the right and see a table to the left. You click in the direction of that table, and suddenly the camera changes, and you find out it is now to the right! You click again, and discover the table has moved down! You frantically click everywhere, only to have Peter dance like a drunk idiot and run to the opposite direction.

As I said above, graphics are outdated. I really would expect real-time 3D from a game released in late 2004. Only character models, some objects, and very few places are in real 3D, while the rest are your usual pre-rendered backgrounds. And as almost always in such cases, the character models look as if they were cut out of another game and pasted into the pre-rendered world. Some places are nicely animated, but overall the graphics are really not that hot, and most locations look frozen and soulless. Worse than the technical quality of the graphics is the layout of the places; for some reason lots of things look small, camera angles are awkward almost everywhere, and the proportions are somewhat weird. Many locations are stuffed with important items, which you can discover only by slowly moving your mouse cursor around, stopping on every item. This of course leads to frustrating pixel-hunting.

The puzzles are intuitive for the most part, but there are also some stone-age relics which made me raise my eyebrows in disbelief. Think of how you had to enter that old geezer's shop - a ridiculous puzzle taken out of a Monkey Island game. Only there it fit perfectly the setting and the style, while here it feels like a neanderthal in a society of scientists. I think even the infamous cat puzzle from Gabriel Knight III wasn't as bad. And while this puzzle is fortunately not too typical for the game, there are enough boring inventory item combinations and improbable tasks which undermine the otherwise logical structure of the game's puzzles.

But what I missed most in the game was a good story. As a whole, the story is thin and unsatisfying. First of all, the main idea of the game has been recycled thousand times and has little to no originality. Okay, we have a world which is controlled by some organization/government/emperor/whatever. We have a rebel group which are first considered bad, and then turn out to be not so bad after all. Instead, it is the organization/government/etc. which is bad. If this sounds familiar, that might be because you have played some video games before. Since Orwell's "1984" such stories started appearing like mushrooms after rain.

But even such a standard story could have been told in a much better way. It seems the developers dedicated all their creativity to minor setting details and occasional small-scope satire, forgetting to add some pepper into the story. If you expect a "whoddunit?" thriller, you'll be sorely disappointed by Moment of Silence. The game's plot is absolutely two-dimensional. There is no true confrontation, not even an ideology worth mentioning. This is particularly pity because there are clever conversations and hints to in-depth ideological analysis, but none of it is evident in the development of the plot.

The story also lacks support from interesting characters. The hero, Peter Wright, is your average "protagonist" guy: there is nothing appealing about him, even his determination to help the family of arrested Oswald doesn't evoke enough sympathy. He has no own ideology, can only get witty in minor discussions, his vision of the world is totally unclear, and I must also add he sounds like an idiot during the conversation with the ultimate enemy, unable to find any convincing arguments against him.

The Bottom Line
Moment of Silence is not a bad game, but irritating gameplay elements, outdated visual style, and lack of a good narrative make it a strictly average adventure that can't be compared to the classics of the genre.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (180476) · 2012

For a newer adventure game, AMAZING!

The Good
I loved the story, the story was very good and all about conspiracies and a guy basically who has just lived his life the way society is and just thought basically because someone was listed as "bad" that they simply were "bad". Peter Wright is who you play and he believed the society he lived in was fine the way it was until his neighbors apartment was raided by a SWAT team and police denied it ever happening, this is where Peter Wright learns what a corrupt world he lives in. The graphics were really good background wise though some of the character models looked kinda strange against the really good looking backgrounds. One fat lady with a teacup terrier dog reminded me of my aunts friend, thought that was hilarious as well as a coincidence. Without spoiling to much there are real areas in the game you visit like SETI and the Bermuda Triangle which I thought was a cool touchup. Voice acting was pretty good except a few of the less known actors which could get on my nerves. Overall I thought the game was really good and drew me in.

The Bad
Some of the voiceacting was bad, Some of the navigation drove me nuts, when I tried to get to another part in the game it sometimes would be a hassle which is probably my main complaint, not a lot of animations. The pros outweigh the cons.

The Bottom Line
Oh man where to start, I first heard about the game about 3 days ago in G4TV and they rated it pretty bad but since it was adventure it looked really good. I downloaded the demo and I wanted more so I bought the game at my local gamestop. I love adventure games but the newer ones are really lacking, the last ones I played were Syberia and Wild West and they weren't that great but The Moment Of Silence was awesome and I couldn't stop playing. Played 2 days straight and finally beat it. Story is basically about a guy named Peter Wright who works at a Communication Center and is responsible for posting political messages on these "telescreens" (Similar to lcd or plasmas) all over the city. He lives his life normally and figures society is good. He changes his idea about society when his neighbor is arrested and police deny of any arrests in the area. Throughout his adventure to find out where his neighbor went he learns much about his past and the conspiracy to "control" the nation. A very interesting game, most adventure games made today are very lacking but this feels like an oldschool adventure game with very good graphics. Definitely get this game as it's very cheap on ebay.

Windows · by matt cohen (10) · 2005

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Gonchi, Wizo, Jeanne, Zeppin, Riemann80, Xoleras, Patrick Bregger, Cantillon, nyccrg, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Víctor Martínez, EonFear, Thomas Helsing, jaXen, COBRA-COBRETTI, POMAH, tarmo888, Cavalary, Alsy, Alaedrain.