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Like most adventure games, the focus of Resonance is the story, and the game mostly succeeds from a writing and story standpoint. The game follows four characters as they investigate a lab explosion and an ensuing blackout. Each of the characters has their own motivations and reasons for investigating the incident, and you learn more about each of them as the game progresses. The characters are pretty well realized, and I found myself becoming invested in the plot as I played. Without getting too spoilery, I’ll just say that Resonance tells a compelling plot, with plenty of mystery and twists along the way. If your barometer for whether or not you’ll like an adventure is based solely on the quality of the story and writing, you’re likely to have a good time with Resonance.
However, this is still a game, and games need more than plot to be a complete success. Luckily, Resonance manages to execute quite well on all fronts. Design wise, the game is pretty much exactly what you’d expect out of an adventure game, meaning plenty of dialogue and puzzles dictated by the plot. Like other Wadjet games I’ve played, I was quite impressed with the quality of the puzzles. For me, the mark of a good adventure is having puzzles that feel natural and realistic while still remaining challenging. I am not a fan of adventure games that have obtuse puzzles that require blind trial and error, with solutions that don’t make any logical sense in the real world. However, for the most part Resonance has puzzles that make sense and seem like they would actually apply in reality. This is helped by the game’s unique inventory system.
Most adventure games have a basic inventory system where you simply pick up random objects for later use. You can still do that in Resonance, but the game also has two other types of inventory: short term memory and long term memory. Any object you can interact with can be added to your short term memory. You don’t physically take the object, but it will remain a topic of conversation for the duration of the current story sequence. In many cases, this means telling one of the other three characters (which you can switch between at will) to assist you in some way with the object. This facilitates a lot of the cooperative puzzle solving using multiple characters. Many times, one of the characters will have information or credentials that allows only them to solve a certain issue while the others assist in other ways.
The other inventory type, long term memory, contains vital information that is added when certain story events are triggered. You can view these memories at any time to refresh yourself of past events, and can use them as topics of conversation as well, helping greatly with keeping you appraised of the goal at hand. As far as the actual gameplay goes, it’s mostly puzzle solving and dialogue, which both involve large amounts of clicking on stuff. There were a few instances of changes to the basic gameplay, such as a top down maze sequence that lasted a little too long for my taste, but for the most part it is typical point and click adventuring.
On the presentation front, Resonance is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Wadjet Eye Games at this point. That of course being a very retro looking game in the style of ’90s Lucas Arts with well above average voice acting. If you’ve played a game from the studio before, you’ll definitely recognize some familiar voice actors, but they are just as good here as they have been in the past. As for the visuals, this is the type of thing you either appreciate or you don’t. If you’re a fan of classic adventure games, you’re likely to find the visual style endearing. If you’re unfamiliar with classic adventure games, the visuals may seem dated, but if that’s the case you probably have no business playing this game anyway.
Wadjet Eye Games is a studio that definitely knows what they want to make, and don’t make any compromises to reach some mythical wide audience. For fans of adventure games, this is truly a great thing, but Resonance isn’t likely to win over any detractors. With most adventures games seemingly going the way of Heavy Rain, L.A. Noire, and Telltale’s Walking Dead Games, sometimes it is nice to play a more traditional style of adventure game, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you can’t do much better Resonance.
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- Compelling Story
- Well Designed Puzzles
- Interesting Characters
- Great Voice Acting
- On the short side
- Visuals require context to be appreciated