It’s a rare occasion that someone brings an adventure game to a console, but the aptly named The Adventure Company has done just that with the release of Still Life for Xbox. While the game may not get the adrenaline flowing for twitch-gamers, it’s certainly a nice diversion for gamers looking for a more cerebral experience.
Still Life, being a detective-adventure game, is all about the story, which is engrossing enough to keep you playing through the game. In the game, you play as FBI Special Agent Victoria MchPherson, who’s heading up an investigation into a series of brutal murders in modern Chicago. Victoria’s got a heaping helping of clues to work with, but they don’t seem to be helping, until she comes upon some notes kept by her grandfather. It seems grandpa was investigating a similar series of crimes in 1920’s Prague. At this point, the real research begins, with the player jumping between modern Chicago and early 20th century Prague to collect clues.
Clue collection is the core of the game, and it’s a simple point and click deal. Every time you stumble upon what you believe might be a clue, you just pass the cursor over it, and if it is a clue, the clue icon will appear. Click on the icon, and you’ll investigate the item, note or other clue. To collect evidence, you take photos of it. Finally, you head back to the lab to examine the evidence. This is where the real puzzle elements of the game come together, as you’ll attend autopsies (getting clues by talking to the coroner) and use CSI type gear to examine other clues. Some of the puzzles in the game can be overly difficult, if not downright frustrating. Though just when you’re about to give up, there always seems to be an “aha!” moment that saves you sanity.
The environments in Still Life are good looking, with some pretty nice textures. Unfortunately, the character animations are laughably puppet-like. Characters make on the spot 180-degree turnarounds, instant pivots and well, just plain move like marionettes. The audio is equally stiff, with voice acting that can barely be called “acting.” A lot of it sounds like stuff you’d have folks from the office read for you when you’ve run out of cash to hire real voice actors.
Still Life is one of those games that should prove entertaining for those looking for a little break from the constant stream of Xbox shooters. While it is a fairly short game, you’ll easily get your $20 (U.S.) worth.
- Gameplay: 7
- Easy to grasp control scheme and enjoyable sleuthing
- Graphics: 6.5
- Nice texturing in the environments, but character models are disturbingly stiff
- Sound: 5
- Turn the volume off and just read the on screen dialog, trust me
- Replay: 6
- Once done, there’s no need to play it again. But it’s one very good play through
- Overall: 7
- An enjoyable Xbox title that actually doesn’t have a single gun in it
— Craig Falstaff