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Here we are! The final part of the long awaited Kickstarter adventure game from the talented Tim Schafer. Like I said in my favorite games from Paris Games Week list, I love Tim Schafer, but do think he needs control in his creativity. I also admit that Double Fine needs to know how to balance out their finances more. Now then, we are here to review the final part of Broken Age. I enjoyed the first act despite some technical issues. It was the first good game of 2014, and even though it was a bummer the team at Double Fine Productions had to break up the game into two acts, the game is now finally complete, and is out on the PlayStation 4. So, let’s get started!
The second act of Broken Age takes place where act one ended, with Shay, voiced by Elijah Woods, outside the monstrous ship, and Vella, voiced by Masasa Moyo now inside the monster/ship thing. Reveals are huge with Shay’s parents actually being alive, the guy in the wolf suit being a bad guy, and much more. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who may or may not have played it. I will say that the story, while having some pacing problems, is still entertaining, and has a lot of the great writing you would expect form Double Fine Production. I was still interested in the entire story even if I had to wait a year or so to get the second act.
If you have played anything in Tim Schafer’s Lucasarts’ library, then you know this is an adventure game. While this adventure game design is more of the same from the first act, with inventory-style puzzles and humorous dialogue, the game now has some nods to Sierra-style puzzles. These puzzles require a little more brain power to solve as you continue to switch between Shay and Vella. If you can’t move on through one puzzle, you should try swapping characters and solve some puzzles with someone else. If you count both acts, Broken Age is about 10 or so hours. Like most adventure games, you can probably cut down that time, depending on how you have memorized the individual puzzles.
I don’t have much to say about the game’s graphical presentation. It’s just as good looking as the day I installed it on my PC and recently on my PlayStation 4. The art style will give this game a timeless feel, and the atmospheric music is wonderful. The voice cast, including big names like Elijah Woods, Jack Black Pendleton Ward, and Masasa Moyo, bring in great performances, and like I said above, the humor is spot-on. It’s a game that knows how to balance its script with both humor and drama. It’s one of the reasons why I play games by Double Fine Productions.
Now, with all that said, and after all the praise and love for this game, I have some complaints. Like I said, I love Tim Schafer, but he needed someone to tell him that these puzzles are tedious! A lot of these puzzles in the second act are a chore to go through, and feel like something from Sierra’s backlog of “how to screw over a player”. This is even more annoying with the rewiring puzzle and rope puzzle that are randomized! Yeah, the one thing you do not want in an adventure game - heavy puzzle solving. It slows the pace down, and it made me almost pull my hair out of my head a couple of times. I wish this wasn’t such an issue with adventure games, but the second act, while good, is not as great in terms of pacing as the first act. Why is this a major issue with adventure games? You can make a game long, but if it starts to overstay its welcome because of padding or bad pacing, then no one is going to want to complete the game, or they will feel like the developers didn’t put their all into the end product.
Now then, we’ve got both halves of Broken Age. How is the experience as a whole? Do I still love the game? Well, yes I do. Is the total experience my favorite game of all time? No. I have explained what’s wrong with the game, but a lot of games I love have problems with them. Plus, the people calling Double Fine Productions con artists because of the unfortunate issues they had with making this game, how about you tell me how your copies of The Stomping Land, Yogventures, CLANG, Code Hero, Xeko, and Limit Theory are. Oh wait, you can’t because those Kickstarters/developers couldn’t make the end product! So, yeah, sometimes think before you speak. I do wish Double Fine Productions handled the money better, but I do think it’s unfair to call them con artists when so many more developers went on Kickstarter and failed horribly. Plus, tell me one game that you Kickstarted that went without a hitch? Doesn’t matter how big or small it is, no hitch. The game is readily available on the PlayStation 4 and PC. It’s on the OUYA, but who the heck is playing on that disappointment of a Kickstarted console? If you love adventure games, and are looking forward to the third part of The Journey Down or the second episode of Bertram Fiddle, then you should definitely check this adventure out.
Act 2 gets a 7 out of 10. The Overall Broken Age experience gets an 8 out of 10