by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
A dream world
Back in 2010, players travelled the Whispered World as the young clown Sadwick, pointing and clicking their way through an adventure as lengthy as it was entertaining. Sadwick will return early 2015 in a sequel called Silence: The Whispered World 2, but this time around he will have grown up a bit. We will be playing as the 16 year old Noah (Sadwick's real name) and as Renie, his younger sister. The short demo we were show at Gamescom highlighted the differences between each of the two characters as well as the ways in which they can solve puzzles together.
Silence: The Whispered World 2 throws players back into its dream world, and it looks even more gorgeous than the original. Using a technique called art projection, Daedalic is projecting 2D art onto 3D models, creating a beautiful world and great looking characters that are among the best I have seen in any adventure game.
Two for one
The tutorial section introduced the idea of having the player perform actions rather than simple point and click procedures. Renie builds a snowman by holding down left click, and then dragging to the left to roll the snow up into a head. Next, she reaches up to grab some items to use for the face. This isn’t a game where you’ll be collecting every object you can possibly interact with. In fact, you don’t have an inventory at all save for a small pouch that you can carry one or two items around in. The frolicking in the snow doesn’t last for long though. War breaks out, and Renie and Noah barely manage to find each other in the chaos. This is when they’re transported back to the Whispered World.
We jumped ahead to where Noah and Renie have been split up in the dream world. We saw the kids go through the exact same area separately. Using their strengths and overcoming their weaknesses, the way they progressed was completely different. Noah is tall and strong, and can move a big stone door out of the way with ease. However when Renie comes along later, she’s far too small for that same task. That does mean she can uncover and use a small tunnel in the wall though - one that Noah would never fit through, or even dare to given the experience of age. Renie is still young, and that makes her fearless - but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
We’re also introduced to Spot, a small, lovable sidekick which returns from the first game. He’s a cute little creature that can morph into three states. He has his normal, caterpillar-like state, can blow himself up into a ball and roll around or he can become completely flat. We saw how he was used to block out some sunlight coming through a window, which was causing a flower to release hallucinogenic pollen. The pollen had been causing the sticks that Noah was using as ladder rungs to be turned to snakes in his mind, making them unusable. With the allergies dampened, the hallucination disappeared and he could proceed as planned. Noah can play musical instruments to charm the snakes back into a rigid form though - something his younger sister is unable to do.
It’s all about immersion. From the way the players perform actions with their mouse rather than the simple point and click days of old, to the way we no longer have a bottomless bag for endless items. Also the way the story is written and told, and how nice the art style looks contribute to the overall cute yet somehow sombre style we all know and love from the original game. Daedalic continues to revolutionise adventure games, and in a way that’s completely different from say Telltale. It’s an exciting time for the genre, and Silence: The Whispered World 2 will certainly add to that.