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Friday, February 15, 2008

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Penumbra: Black Plague Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Strategy Informer has posted a review of the Windows version of Penumbra: Black Plague The final chapter in the Penumbra story will thrust players into a creepy environment of horror where they must solve puzzles to survive. SI gave the game a score of 7.5 out of 10.

From the review:

The unique selling point here is that the game attempts to convey a true sense of physicality in the environment. Opening a drawer for example, isn't simply a case of pressing a button at the right time. You have to walk over to the drawer, look at it, grab the handle, and move the mouse towards your point of view in order to pull it out. This is a concept that's fleshed out to be more than just a few tricks. Every door that you encounter will have to be opened in the same way, objects have weight and mass, enabling them to be stacked and manipulated in a realistic manner, and of course things can be thrown and swung around utilising the same system.

The area in which this shines most is undoubtedly the puzzles. These were a strong point of the first game, and they return here with increased frequency and believability. As each of the objects in the game behaves roughly as you would expect in the real world, the developers have been able to craft situations in which logical solutions are the only real way to progress. There will be hair-pullingly frustrating moments for sure, but the eventual solution is always well thought-out and utilises the environment in a consistent fashion.

The other main pull for the original title was the atmosphere. Creeping around in the darkness, powerless to defeat the enemies crawling directly around in front of you, entrenched the player with a keen sense of danger and made for some adrenalin-fuelled action. The same sense of foreboding, and the same stealth mechanic returns here, but with a lesser frequency of enemies to deal with. That's not to say they aren't there however, and some of the latter environments throw up some unique encounters, but the overall impact is undoubtedly softened. Given that the combat was always the weakest area of Overture, that has to be a conscious design decision, and a good one to boot.
Check out the full review at the site linked below.

Strategy Informer: Penumbra Black Plague Review
Frictional Games

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