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Should I be excited about… 1954: Alcatraz?

Stuart’s in lock up, and he needs to get out

Alcatrazscreen005Daedalic Entertainment’s upcoming 1954:Alcatraz stays true to their point and click style as you try to escape incarceration from the worlds most difficult to escape from prison. You start off playing as Joe, a gangster, who along with his wife, Christine, are stirring up trouble with the wrong crowd. As Joe is locked up, it is up to his wife to help him, if you so choose to. The game allows you to play as both characters, but it’s all about the decisions in this game as you don’t have to follow a completely linear script. Should you be excited about 1954: Alcatraz?

At first glance no. This is a preview so some of the games features aren’t quite complete. For example not everything is in English. The subtitles are in English, however, but the in game instructions – I’m assuming – are in German. But when you start playing the game it does develop a certain charm around it. I really didn’t like the art style of the characters initially. I thought they looked crude and lazy. But it actually lends well to the story as you’re playing a no-good crook so you shouldn’t be pictured as an Adonis. Instead you’re visualized as a caricature 50’s bad guy. Big jaw, huge head body builder torso but tiny Bambi legs. You know the type. The caricature theme is really well carried out in the game, and flows over into the actual characters of the antagonists and protagonists.

1954AlcatrazThe best feature in game is that you’re able to switch between characters from the menu. You’re able to complete all the tasks for one of your team to help the other. Or you can go it alone and try to get everything done yourself to choose a solo destiny for one of the characters. However, this comes to my first personal niggle of the game. You are obviously going to do what is easiest for you to complete the game first time which takes something away from the game play. I feel that if the game was multiplayer, or if you played with someone else on the same PC, then the game would be better. This would allow for each player to play to what they think is best and if the restricted communication to solely through the game then it would keep them immersed.

The artwork is amazing, I always get a little biased when it comes to Daedalic games but I have to say the background artwork is fantastic. The animations of the characters are simple but plays so well with the style of the game that it draws you in with its charm. The actual character design starts off so-so, but as you’re introduced to more characters you see that the style is brilliant and you sort of feel bad for your initial reaction.

AlcatrazScreenGDC02The game has lots, and I mean lots, of tid-bits here and there that add to what you’d think the prison experience would be like. For example, and my personal favourite, comes as you’re put into solitary after slugging it out in the yard. You are in your tiny piece of personal hell as you hear a voice through a grate talk to you, the Ghost of the Island. Little bits like this grab me, as every where in the world there are myths and legends and The Rock is no different.

The game oozes charm and has lots of little extras that could go unnoticed, which is a shame as they are all carefully put in place to enhance the player experience. You truly feel that you are interacting with the past, as seen through movies anyway. Should I be excited about 1954: Alcatraz? Yes. However, if you enjoy point and click adventure games and want the same old Daedalic humour you’ll be left wanting.

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