04.02.2014 10:02

Game review Broken Age: Act I

Yes, this is the game that started the notorious Kickstarter epic in game development. Tim Schafer and three and a half million dollars. Direct contact with the audience and pure creative vision. Vintage revival of the genre, and the triumph of creative design. In short, indie in all its splendor. How Schafer and his studio were worth their trust? Dreams come true whether iridescent fans igroproma a new era? Or, on the contrary, confirmed malevolent forecasts Hayter? Definitely not say. Yes, it’s a real quest from Tim Schafer … but frankly unfinished.

Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Propagation model: digital delivery
Official website: Open
Genres: Adventure

Companion in misfortune

System Requirements
Win Xp 32
E2160 1.80GHz/Athlon 64 X2 4000 +
GeForce GTX 260/Radeon HD 4870
1.5 GB HDD
Win 7 64
E7600 3.06GHz/Athlon 64 X2 6400 +
GeForce GTX 460/Radeon HD 6850 XFX
1.5 GB HDD

Broken Age tells the story of two teenagers. Shay spent his entire life on a spaceship where caregiver artificial intelligence.Maxwell was born and raised in the village of confectioners, surrounded by loving family.Both, however, serious problems. Space romance not brightens gloom imprisoned in a “golden cage” Shay – young astronaut nowhere to go from overly doting Mommy computer.A carefree pastoral mitigates the terrible fate Vella – beautiful countryside going to sacrifice a giant monster.

Problems Vella and Shay in a sense mirror each other. Lone astronaut computer every day toy entertains disasters (Oh no! Defenseless knitted men came under an avalanche of ice cream: To save them, have to eat all this ice cream!), And there is nothing new – somewhere behind the scenes trivia safe passes real life. And, on the contrary, is not a toy trouble comes to life Vella, but the surrounding pretend her death – is utter nonsense, and save the village with his life – a great honor.

Both young people, of course, will radically change your fate. Typical at first glance the story of growing up – about courage, healthy non-conformism and other search yourself … Only it did not Disney, andDouble Fine. Surah little bit of satire, a little tragedy – yes, it Shafer, as we know and love. Then, if desired, you can at least metaphor developed countries and the Third World to consider, though criticism of theological determinism see. “Cartoon” Double Fine games are always deceptive: Broken Age – the story is the same “child” as Psychonauts .


Storylines between characters can freely switch, and in the final turns out that they are connected by some witty way. Touching the bar – the game a couple of times trying to put us on the wrong track in the unraveling of this intrigue. In terms of mechanics and adventure Shay Vella did each other no influence, but less interesting, they do not get from this.

On a grand scale

Slowness – one of the main charms of the old school quests. Broken Age also almost never puts pressure on the player. Even in matters seemingly life and death can not play along with the unfolding drama, and calmly consider backgrounds or say thoughtfully apply conditional shoe from inventory turns to all interactive points on the screen to hear the funny remarks. Especially that replicas for “wrong decisions” provides weight and backgrounds more than worthy of scrutiny.


Broken Age looks great, like the author’s cartoon – one of those that collect prizes at festivals. In each picture a lot of detail – maybe you do not pay attention to them, but they add up to a feeling of “living” space, where everything is thought out and nothing gets out of the carefully calibrated composition. Each animation is adapted to the context and what was going on – mimicry characters, gestures interlocutors.

Dialogues here will definitely highlight of the program; largely due to successful casting. Elijah Wood has invested a lot of its charm in Shay, unmatched Jennifer Hale did a computer Mum very real, and a little-known, but no less charming Macaca Moyo revived Vellu. Plus a number of remarkable cameo: who played a major role in Br ü tal Legend Jack Black voicing Raza in Psychonauts  Richard Horwitz , and even Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward .

Here and most episodic characters are written and played so masterfully that just a couple of replicas have time to understand them and their mood, and prehistory, and intentions. Even interface teleportatora sparkles character: first neuro laments “only without a glitch, but without a glitch!”, And after casually reports that decreases with teleportation head – it’s not a fad of quantum physics, but just lined shoddy wiring.


Finally, the composer Peter McConnell ( Psychonauts  , Grim Fandango  and lots of other games LucasArts) wrote quite magical soundtrack . Music has been very varied, from chamber to orchestral.Thanks to her two-dimensional location acquire an additional dimension.Theme in the bedroom Shay – gentle melancholy of lost childhood, yearning for freedom, cautious optimism – just tear the soul, I’m not kidding.

Not a good life

Thus, despite the whole village in the clouds, the picture so far consists exclusively rosy. Everything is so subtle, deep and licked to shine – it remains only to substitute palm, and there will fall awards. Here, however, we are faced with the problem of scale.

Yes, the studio has received considerable – by the standards of indie projects – money on Kickstarter. But Shafer, by his own admission, does not know how to do the short game. He does not want to build a stylish retro sketch, he wants to tell a really interesting story. He is passionate about. He is ready to create a new masterpiece. And all of us, in fact, only “for”. But more content means more time to develop. More time – more money.

What to do? Donate duration? Or quality of finish? First estimates for the $ 3.6 million is not relevant for a long time – the studio had already spent nearly twice as much. But the money ran out. Now their independence, financial future, the fate of the remaining projects – all at stake. They are forced to resort to a strange decision: start selling unfinished game. Broken Age: Act I.

Well, fractional release – not so shocking phenomenon in our days;Telltale has demonstrated the benefits of this format. The problem, however, that the structure of the game was originally not prepared for such a separation. And if in narrative terms of the first act ends with the best kliffhengerom , the game design suffers much stronger: the learning curve is cut off at the most interesting. Only seemingly begun really interesting puzzles – and then the game ends. What was intended, apparently as unobtrusive tutorial for newcomers to the genre, it turned out just a showcase of gameplay.

Whatever may have been luxurious dialogues, acting or artistic production, toothless puzzles in a quest – an automatic “unsatisfactory”. Shafer promises that in the second act is much more complicated puzzles – and we believe him! – But on the unbearable lightness of passage of the first act is not affected.


The second problem – the duration. Broken Age: Act I is longer than a typical episode of the TV series of the same Telltale, but “Full Movies” does not pull. If you take the game very purposefully and not be distracted by extraneous nonsense, it probably will not take more than a couple of hours (after which you can run farther, the competition “Who quickly gobbled up a bucket of delicious delicacies of the world, not liquid”). My first unhurried passage – with attentive staring backgrounds, listening to dialogues and brutforsingom all possible combinations of character-thing – 8:00. “Normal” is passing somewhere near 4. Plugging with puzzles at this timing can not lay – they are unlikely to arise.


Will not dissemble: despite the claims voiced, charm Broken Age difficult to resist. With so much love she done so carefully, so much charm in it, so much wit. Yes, a new quest Tim Schafer turned frankly unfinished – in the sense that its incompleteness he said frankly. In this sense, “Our Choice” and the highest rating given to the game as an advance – the quality of the first half did not cast doubt on the merits of the second, but it is still an independent work is not.

Release of the first act, however, can only be regarded as “early access for those who are restless.” The price includes both parts of the game, do not pay extra for the continued need. If you are worried about the fate of Schafer and his studio, but you would like to see is a holistic immediately ready product, you should just buy the first act and wait for the second. So you can help the studio with her financial problems and make sure that authors will be able to finish the game as intended.Only have a few months to protect yourself from spoilers.