Video Games

 

Still Life

created and published by Microïds in 2005-05-02, running on Windows
type: adventure
perspective: 3rd person
player options: single player
languages: eng fre ger ita spa
3.9/5

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Personal review
Summary
This is a good game. It challenged me and it's clues are subtle, i.e. the main character does not say 'I'll use this information to solve the riddle that opens this door', that connection has to be made by the player. It has a lot going for it, I do use the word 'good a lot' in the following paragraphs, but for me it lacked the spark that would make it stand out. from about two thirds of the way through I was playing it just to get to the end and, having completed it, I would not play it again.

The good.
The game starts and ends with a lengthy video sequence and there are other, shorter, sequences throughout the game. The artwork here is very good and that standard is maintained throughout the game. It also sets the standard for the game's music which is excellent. It sets the mood without being overpowering, by that I mean it's not cinematic and so good that I'd put it on my iPod, it's good enough to be noticed without taking attention away from the game.
Something I didn't realise until I'd completed the game and looked at my screenshots is that Gustav's investigation in Prague uses more of a sepia colour palette than is used in Victoria's Chicago investigation. It's subtle and it adds to the atmosphere.

Though there is a maze puzzle and a sliding block puzzle the majority of the puzzles largely fall into two main types, lock puzzles and procedural puzzles. One puzzle that I haven't seen anywhere else, and which I could not get past without a cheat sheet, is the excellent lock-picking puzzle. The procedural puzzles are basically performing a task in the correct order. So it's not enough to collect all the right items to solve a puzzle they must be positioned in the right order. There are in-game clues for the puzzles but they're not always recognisable as clues.

The storyline is good and the plot(s) unfold slowly as you progress but I cannot recall any time where I thought 'I didn't see that coming'. The clues are subtle and it did feel like a developing investigation rather than a contrived plot. The script is good and sounds as though it was written in English rather than in another language and localised. The voice acting for the main characters is clearly enunciated and solid, but not exceptional, and there is always on screen text. Some of the bit characters can be a bit unconvincing in a sort of 'I AM SPEAKING LOUDLY BECAUSE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE ANGRY IN THIS SCENE' kind of way.

There is swearing, and this may put some people off, but it is consistent with the story. There is also nudity and scenes of violence done to women but it too is part of the story and the game does not dwell on or sensationalise these scenes. They come up in their correct place in the story and when that scene is complete the game moves on.

The bad
As I said in the summary just didn't do it for me but there's really nothing much wrong with this game and I only have two irritations to report.
The game runs on rails and does not allow deviation. There were a couple of times where I knew what I had to do next but couldn't do it because another character hadn't suggested it to me.
The ending sees Victoria going off to Los Angeles to investigate a similar case and both the manual and the closing credits refer to the game continuing on-line but the web site no longer exists which is a bit of a let down. Does this mean that I've only played half the game?

Completion time
Without rushing it I finished the game in around twelve to fourteen hours playing time. However I did use a cheat sheet a couple of times and without that I could have taken days.

# 2013-10-03 09:48:03
Description
THE PRODUCERS OF SYBERIA I AND II ARE PROUD TO PRESENT STILL LIFE

Victoria McPherson, is a brilliant young FBI agent who's investigating a serial murder case. The body count is now at five and with the lack of real leads and a moutain of circumstantial evidence, Victoria is beginning to show signs of fatigue and stress.
She decides to take a break and go rest at her father's home in suburban Chicago; after all, it is close to the Christmas holidays. However, Victoria does not find rest. Instead, she finds one of her grandfather's old case files and begins to read. Oddly enough, Victoria's present case resembles the one from the past, right down to the killer's MO...

Still Life will provide a huge dose of what adventure gamers are looking for:
• Compelling storyline set in modern Chicago and Prague in the late 20's
• Rich and intriguing characters.
• Crime scene investigations of gruesome homicides
• Challenging puzzles finely integrated into the storyline
• Beautifully detailed environments
• Breathtaking cinematics.
Piltdown_Man # 2013-10-03 08:42:36 - source
Technical specs
display: textured polygons
External reviews (2) - average: 74.5%
review sourcecountryissuedatescore   
IGN2005*7.4/1074%
Metacritic2005*75/10075%
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