In 2016 the time of the LucasArts Adventure style game has long passed. The era of the open world character stories have taken over. So when we do get a game with the classic adventure feel, it is a heartwarming homecoming. Or at least it should be. Sadly, this is not the case for Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenhood.
Let’s start off with a strong component of the game, the graphics. The game takes a step away from the cartoon style of most adventure games and presents a powerful engine that renders believable environments and strong character models. The environments shift from the pristine well-kept look of a national park to the abandoned grounds of a horror film environment. The game is exemplified by the strong visual style presented throughout. Character models, for the most part, convey a good sense of what each character represents to the story whether they be an innocent girl or a menacing villain (except for a slight problem of no one blinking during cutscenes). The only problem with the graphics is that it seems like that is where the entire budget for the game has gone but it still lacks any distinct style to push them from good to great. The environments build the narrative for the player well enough but no area is truly memorable.
For adventure games, the two key identities of the genre are its puzzles and story. Enigmatis 2 story will leave the player wanting more and wondering how so little story could actually be told over the game’s length. Some premises are interesting, such as the “Silence of the Lambs” type of relationship you have with the mystery man behind a door. Or the supernatural theme of the disappearances that bring you to the park, but none are fully fleshed out: you work to gather clues to see the mystery come together but in glaring obvious ways as the character eventually figures out the secret of the park, a secret that the player already deduced 30 minutes beforehand. The overarching theme of the story feels a bit out of nowhere as your character at first doesn’t believe in any of the supernatural happenings around her but then comes to be very calm and emotionless in their reaction to the big story reveal.
There is not much to say about the sound of this game because it fails to make much of an impact at all. I never noticed a meaningful score behind the game and any sound effects are so standard they don’t add anything. Perhaps the one glaring delivery of the sound is the poor voice acting in the game. Each character in the story sounds as if they are different variations of Siri reading lines in a voice over booth. At times characters move through dialogue answering or reacting to lines of questions that were never actually stated by the main character. The flat delivery of every line in the game leaves players thankful that the adventure in Enigmatis 2 is a short one.
Gameplay for adventure games comes down to one important factor, puzzles. Whether they serve as clever design or unbelievably frustrating difficulty spikes, adventure games are measured by the puzzles the environment creates and Enigmatis 2 again fails to deliver anything memorable. While it does have a decent range of puzzles throughout the game they are too few and far between with the one recurring puzzle being the game’s unsatisfying version of “where’s waldo” in nearly every room, even back to back at times. The perfect example of just how boring and repetitive the puzzle structure is in this game is the fact that the hint tool on the casual difficulty allows you skip the puzzles entirely after waiting barely one minute showing that even the developers knew the puzzles would not be satisfying.
Replay value is always a culmination of each of our categories. Does the game’s graphics or art style make you want to revisit its world? Does its sound or story keep dragging you back for more? Is its gameplay too enticing to put down? For Enigmatis 2 it is a clear no for every category. Unless you are a big fan of the series, this installment will leave players wanting to stay far away from the mists of Ravenwood.
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