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A New Beginning review

A New Beginning

Discovering adventure or losing translation?

The adventure game genre has undergone a resurgence lately with the wonderful and terrible The Walking Dead from Telltale Games. Rising from what many thought to be its grave, adventure has stepped back into the fold with each new game hoping to solidify its rebirth. Enter A New Beginning from Daedalic Games. Classic point-and-click adventure gameplay down to its roots, the game does its best to be provocative and gutsy. It is a cautionary tale of environmental awareness; it is a science fiction thriller with time travel and world destruction; it is a compilation of interesting and hard-to-complete puzzles. The blend seems ripe for a quality game, but does it live up to its goal and earn a place as a genre-saving great? Sadly, no.

Classic Gameplay


Given how long the adventure genre has rested outside the limelight, it would be a mistake to assume today's reader knows what adventure even _means_, when the night-and-day action genre also gets tagged with “action-adventure.” Suffice it to say, A New Beginning is not Tomb Raider or Uncharted. It's not even three-dimensional, as a matter of fact.

A New Beginning is a point-and-click puzzle-solver set in a hand-drawn world. Players navigate characters through their environments by clicking where they would like to walk and clicking again to examine items in the environment. Clicking a picture, for example, might see the character explaining a piece of his history or reveal a clue. Holding the mouse button will open a radial menu that will occasionally provide options for interacting with objects or adding items to your inventory for later use. Right-clicking opens and closes an inventory bar. A New Beginning packs its environments full of interactable objects, so only a few areas (or rooms, if you will) are available at any given time.

As you progress through the story, problem after problem with arise requiring puzzle solving to move ahead. Completing these challenges will require exploring areas in their entirety. It is important to keep a keen eye for strange qualities in the items you examine as they might be clues for puzzles you haven't solved yet. A New Beginning features some deep puzzles in its latter half and exploring your environment before you have unveiled them can sometimes lead to frustrating sticking points. If you aren't sure what to look for, it is easy to miss clues and find yourself re-examining things multiple times over. Thankfully, the hardest of the game's puzzles can be skipped after a short amount of time has lapsed.

A New Beginning stays close to its roots in how it plays. It is classic in the truest sense of the word. In essence, gameplay can be broken into three parts: click to interact with objects or hear some dialogue, react to what is said and done with further interaction, and add and use items from your inventory to complete it. Some gamers will love this, and indeed, it's not necessarily a negative. It was disappointing to see Daedalic play it so safe, though. Established fans will surely find few issues to take with it; however, it does nothing to enrapture new players who may not be sold on the genre. Coming from the wonderful storytelling experiences the medium has produced in the last several years – Mass Effect, Skyrim, etc. – the gameplay can seem crawling, which makes the story all that more important.

A Story For Generations?


A New Beginning makes no bones about the social commentary occurring in its story. It opens in the future with a team of scientists discussing an impending extinction of mankind. Man has so destroyed the environment that the sun's flares can no longer be absorbed and what remains of society, already ravished by the depletion of Earth's natural resources, stands on the verge of annihilation. They send Fay, a scientist, back in time to correct the poor decisions of our own near future by teaming up with the depressed and defeated environmental genius, Bent. Together they embark on a mission to save our world, because mankind is careless in its care for the planet.
Fun score 5.0

Pros

Interesting premise, classic gameplay, beautiful and effecting soundtrack

Cons

Terrible dialogue, polarizing and difficult to ignore message, inconsistent artwork

Game Screenshots