Posts created by Audiohawk

Same developer as Briar Rose, but a much better result. The music is presented in full resolution, enabling its depth and subtlety to fully complement the game. There is almost always something going on in the sound design, providing a creepy atmosphere wherever you go. Frequent cinematics keep you on your toes. The hidden object scenes featuring fragments of a single useful object are back, as well as more traditional scenes which are populated with semi-interactive people. Very entertaining and well put-together. I recommend it!
 posted in Dark Parables: Curse of Briar Rose Collector's Edition on Aug 25, 11 5:05 PM
If this game sounded as good as it looks, it would be a real gem. But it was clear from the opening moments that it wasn't. We get the backstory about Briar Rose in an absolutely dry voice-over - no music or sound. Then the music & sound during game play is at too low of a resolution, sounding grainy and dull. Add 50 MB to the size of the game and make that stuff shine! Why hire Somatone to create wonderful sounds and music and then present them like that? It's like having an architect build you a house out of cardboard - no matter how good a job they do, it's going to look cheap.

The card at the opening introduced the setting as "Soctland." How does a mistake like that make it into the final game? Later there was a line about a swing creaking in the wind. When I read that, I want to hear creaking... and wind.

I really liked the look, and having to find a bunch of fragments of one thing I need was a refreshing variation for the hidden object scenes. But overall, this game wasn't nearly good enough for me.
 posted in Time Mysteries: Inheritance on Aug 21, 11 10:56 PM
I appreciated that an attempt was made to put appropriate music into each time period. It was mostly successful, especially with the glassy, astral sounding stuff related to the time machine. The developers didn't do anything with ambient sound, though. You can get away with that in an empty room, but not when you have a crowd at a medieval marketplace. The game would have been better had they devoted as much attention to that aspect as they did to the music.
 posted in Grim Tales: The Bride Collector's Edition on Aug 21, 11 10:48 PM
I appreciated that the in-game hints were so specific - it saved me the trouble of looking things up in the walk-through. I always find it a bit incongruous when there are electronica elements in the music for a game set a long time ago - sort of like if somebody put a steel and glass building in the middle of a 19th century European village. I was happy to encounter sacred sounding music when I entered the church, though. All in all, a pretty good game!
Interactive video was the next logical step after Dire Grove, so I'm glad you went there. It's a particular challenge to make those monologues feel natural, though. You'd think the actors should look right at the camera (thereby making eye contact with the player), but that doesn't work very well in practice. Most ordinary conversations don't involve that much eye contact, and most actors have a really tough time interacting with a camera as though it's a person. For example, it would be better if Mary were busy cleaning most of the time she's talking, but then stops and looks directly at the player when she's delivering a particularly juicy bit of gossip about the family or the house. I'd also rather have the clips prompted by a scripted question from the detective instead of the one-word headers. Then it would feel like more of a conversation.

All the usual stuff (sound, visuals, music) were up to the high standards you've established with the previous games in the series. I was pleased with the bayou rendition of the MCF theme song.

Keep pushing the envelope - I'm sure the next one will be even better!
 posted in Maestro: Music of Death Collector's Edition on Aug 21, 11 10:23 PM
This is the strongest game I've played from ERS so far. I like it when the puzzle scenes get their own music. With a title like this, the music had better be effective, and it is. The locations and supernatural events have a solid connection between the visuals and the sound effects. There are a few things to quibble with (I'd love it if the audio transitions between scenes were smoother, and I don't understand why people in 19th century Paris speak with British accents - or have names like Smith!), but overall I was impressed.
 posted in Grim Facade: Mystery of Venice Collector's Edition on Aug 13, 11 11:43 PM
Playing the Mac trial version, my ears were frequently assaulted by accidental bursts of music when I transitioned between locations. That was a pretty obvious and annoying programming glitch that should have been corrected before the game was released. There were lots of other little imprecisions: Doge should be pronounced with a "j" sound, I saw a bell ring three times but only heard it once, the cat was mixed distractingly loudly relative to the VO, etc. If I'm going to spend $14-$20 on a game, it needs to sound a lot more professional than this one does.
 posted in Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst ™ on Aug 13, 11 11:37 PM
I knew I had to buy this game after about one minute. It looks great, but the sound is what really sets it apart. The score is wonderful and the live orchestra is beautifully recorded. Every scene has an appropriate ambience and the transitions between them are smooth. I'm not sure why the recorded VO isn't in synch with the video of the character's speech (though the subtitles are - go figure!), but otherwise this was an immersive and well-executed experience. Every hidden object game should sound this good!
 posted in Mystery Case Files®: Dire Grove™ on Aug 13, 11 11:35 PM
I was so impressed with "Return to Ravenhearst" that I had to see if the Big Fish Studio team had topped it with the next installment. They definitely did! The music is expertly produced and evocative of the chilly atmosphere. The ambient sounds are seamlessly integrated with the visuals - as snow blows across the screen you hear the wind pick up. This is the standard to which every other developer should be aspiring. I can't wait to try "13th Skull!"
 posted in Hidden Mysteries: Notre Dame - Secrets of Paris on Aug 13, 11 11:32 PM
This was the first hidden object game I played all the way through, and it seems like it was a pretty good introduction. I liked the pace of it, and the reasonable difficulty level of the puzzles. The sound elements that it had were appropriate to the setting and mood of the game. I would have liked a lot more sonic detail, though. A giant, reverberant space like the inside of a cathedral should sound a lot different than a cave, or a rectory, or a Paris street (even in the middle of the night). Making an effort to differentiate the spaces would have helped to make the game a more immersive experience. As it was, it was enjoyable enough, but also a little bit flat.
 posted in Redemption Cemetery: Curse of the Raven on Aug 13, 11 11:28 PM
On the Mac version the audio elements went in and out. Sometimes there would be a sound effect for finding a hidden object, other times not. I came across an animation of a dog barking and heard nothing. Opening doors always made a noise, though. I guess it was worth the $3 I paid for it, but maybe that's not saying much.
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