Demon Hunter 3 has a proud pedigree to live up to. While the first two games in the series weren’t the best HOGs I’ve ever played, they were by far the most endearingly strange. The first game will always hold a place in my heart due to its use of a photo of Jeffrey Combs as one of its villains, as well as introducing me to my spirit animal, Scarecrow Dentist.
Enigmatis ended on something of a cliffhanger – the evil Preacher escaped, leaving the detective to chase him to another town, where he would doubtless to use his hypnotic church bell to restart his serial killing. To be honest, it wasn’t a fantastic ending. Enigmatis had been primarily notable for a super solid and surprisingly dark narratives, but I didn’t see any logic or value in playing the same story over again. So i was understandably delighted to discover that Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood had something entirely different in store.
I just can’t get enough of Alchemy-themed games, it would seem. In addition to my well-established love of the Atelier series of games – JRPGs in which an alchemist has to create her way out of troublesome situations – I’ve enjoyed every one of the botany/alchemy games that Artifex Mundi has put out.
I’m now six games – halfway through, as of the release of Silent Waters – into the Haunted Hotel franchise, and I still don’t have a sense of exactly what the franchise is yet. Obviously the first trilogy tells a relatively coherent story, while Charles Dexter Ward is just the brand name being slapped on a Lovecraft adaptation for marketing purposes.
After the Botanist hero’s success in saving the Slavic theme park and saving a rare plant in Eventide, it’s time for a mountain-climbing vacation with her niece. Her mistake – going mountain climbing in the same region where the first game took place, an area she knows full well is packed with goblins, imps, and villainous magic.
The year: 1955. The situation: mobsters are being abducted by clouds of green fog, leaving patches of swamp and a single butterfly on the ground where they’d stood a moment earlier. Also, children are disappearing at the same time, leaving behind drawings of the exact butterflies that showed up at the mobsters’ feet! Who could hear about that mystery and not want to see it immediately solved!
Wow, does this game look good. That’s its main selling point, and it really is a strong foot to put forward. Every character, location, and HOS in the game is drawn in a distinctively soft pastel-influenced style that makes it stand out from the strict realism that so many other titles are shooting for. I’d say that the art was the only thing the game had going for it, but that wouldn’t be exactly fair, as the story, short though it may be, actually does have its nice moments.
This is kind of a crossover, as in one of my non-HOGuru lives I run the internet’s most popular destination for Criminal Minds reviews. Worlds are colliding, though, and it’s time for me to put aside my knowledge of (and fondness for) the show and focus on how well it works as a HOG. So, let’s join Greg and the gang as they attempt to solve some serial murders!
A woman with amnesia gets a clue to her past and heads to a mysterious town populated only by robots… and secrets! That’s the intriguing premise behind Riddles of the Past, which is one of the cleanest and most focused HOGs I’ve ever encountered. There’s a great location, some creepy robot designs, and a genuinely solid story that tracks all the way through.