Sweet Home Alabama… Hello guys again with a new game review! Beautiful Desolation is a game from THE BROTHERHOOD, a small indie game studio that previously made STASIS and CAYNE games. As in their previous games, they designed a sci-fi adventure game with an isometric camera angle for Beautiful Desolation. I haven’t played their previous games yet. Shall I play after this game, let’s decide together.
Guys, our game begins in 1976 with a car accident. Something emerges in the sky, crashing close to our current position. As a result of this collision, we are affected by it and have an accident while driving on the road with our car. Meanwhile, we are losing our spouse. Of course, many years pass and many things change.
Of course, this extraterrestrial object caused a huge leap forward in technology. With the developing technology, many diseases have been cured. Robots have become a part of life in both security and social life. We can say that the technology in flying vehicles has reached its peak. With a development that I can call augmented technology, people are now able to turn their hands, arms, legs, and even their whole bodies into a human-robot mixture.
10 years later after the accident, we are in a town in South Africa. Our game begins when we got to visit our brother. We don’t know what he was thinking but our guy is deceiving his brother and convincing him to go investigate what fell into this world. I’ll leave it to your experience to avoid further spoilers.
Translated by Hasan Cihan Aylaz
DID YOU SAY FALLOUT?
I want to talk about the gameplay part. Game is an old-school isometric adventure game which reminds us of the Fallout games. We don’t get to use guns though. But it manages to attract old-school adventure lovers and Fallout lovers with its retro-punk vibe. We control only one person throughout the game. We are accompanied by our brother and a small robot (he starts hanging out with us after a part of the story). At the beginning of the story, we have a helicopter-like flying vehicle that we fixed and it allows us to go to other places. It’s name is Buffalo. It is one of the two things we will use the most throughout the game. The other is our PDA.
With this PDA, we can both follow the events and look at our missions. So this is the second thing we will use most in the game. The game is a point & click adventure game. Therefore, the thing that helps us the most in the puzzles we will solve is our PDA. And friends are updated with the items and new events we find around. Sometimes this is a drawing of the place you are going, and sometimes it can be a clue for the puzzle. We can even re-read our conversations here.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE ADD DUNE AND BLADE RUNNER TO SANITARIUM?
A special attention has been paid to the environment in the game. The post-apocalyptic world has been taken care of to be passed on to the player. In many places, there are explanations about that place or objects. Thus, the producer team tried to make the player feel the atmosphere. In doing so, they were inspired by many sci-fi cliches.
These guys love science fiction. Both in their previous games and in this game, they took advantage of all the blessings of science fiction. Various mutations, time travel, hunger, the new world order… There are many possible stereotypes. The most popular works that came to my mind while playing were the Blade Runner movie and the Dune book. If you play the game, I’m sure you can see these references too. I can also say that I sense some Sanitarium in the game. After all, when there are games of the same type, they approach each other and even resemble each other.
The dialogues we will enter in the game are up to us. We determine how we approach and react to people and events through the conversations we have. But if you ask “What effect does it have on the game?”, we see this at the end of the game. Of course, in conversations, we definetely learn the information we want to learn, the information we want to know. Whether you keep your ear close or far, we still learn the same things or the perspectives of the characters do not change. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t get into character depth. That doesn’t mean it lacks character depth. But I did not see such a deepening, probably because the conversations in the dialogues do not have an effect. There are already stereotypical dialogues in conversations. There were just a few places where I was surprised. You might just be a little surprised at the end of the game.
By the way, let me tell you that the producer team also thought about our language and added Turkish to the game. You can play the game in Turkish without the need for any additional patches, which is a nice feature in a game with so much dialogue and puzzles. Because there were many times I went back and listened to the talks on the PDA.
We also have an inventory where we keep the objects in the puzzles in the game. We can hide stuff there. In addition, we can combine some objects with each other or turn them into a new object. This is one of the indispensable features of adventure-puzzle games anyway. We can sell various materials we find in the environment to merchants in various venues. With the credits we get, we can buy new items from the merchant. These devices help us with our next missions in the game or they can be one of the things a character wants from us. If nothing happens, we can still modify the Buffalo, right?
Let’s come to the logic of the government office that we encounter a lot today in the game. While what I want is a simple device, I find myself in a lot of events and tasks. Just don’t get confused, this is how it goes: A man has a necessary device for a vehicle. When I go to this man and ask, he in return wants something else from me. If we can’t get what he wants with credit, we first start looking for what he wants from us. This search leaves us in the hands of another man. This time, we start looking for what he wants from us, in order to do what he wants and take what we want from him and give it to the previous man. Actually, it’s not that complicated, folks, just like blowing the whistle that gives the money, whoever wants it finds it, brings it together and delivers it (Death Stranding?!). Of course, words are not enough to describe the portership I made during this whole search.
If we look at the characters, the name of our main character, who is tired of life but still succumbing to his curiosity and researching this meteor, is Mark. Through the dialogues we choose in the speeches, we both get to know him and choose what type of character he will be. The name of our brother, whom we went to on the day of the accident, is Don. He had a small tour company of his own, before we got him involved. We get to know him as we progress through the story, and Don becomes one of the people whose character depth we see most clearly. As we progress, we learn what kind of man he became throughout his life. The name of our robot that does not go even though we try to get rid of it is Pouch. Now, don’t mind me saying that robots have hearts and souls too, friends (!). Throughout the story, we learn what happened to him. “Do Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” You shall find the answer. Bufallo is our vehicle that pulls all of our cargo and carries us from one place to another without making a fuss. During the game, after collecting everything that can be collected in the place and taking our receivables, we jump on it and tour the map.
MEMORY OF A JAMAICAN ROBOT
Apart from these characters, the characters I remember are our friend at the old train station, who amused me with both his speech and his thoughts, and the other character was Jarek, who also gave us a piece for the passage in the story, but the main thing was the Jamaican accent that caught my attention. Many other characters, of course, have their own accents. However, that was the thing that caught my attention the most.
The design of the atmosphere and environment is quite nice. I can say it was a post-apocalyptic world design. There is no interaction that we can get into the environment. But the sound of the surrounding radiation and designs of places are spot on. The atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in a post-apocalyptic world. There are also pop-up description texts on the maps. These descriptions keep us informed of what’s going on there. Unfortunately, there is no memorable music in the game (Maybe the final soundtrack is a bit.). The sounds are fine and good. The graphics feel old due to its retro look.
ARE PUZZLES MEANT TO BE SOLVED?
Is there nothing wrong with this game? Of course there are folks. Using the camera has been one of the issues that stuck with me the most. The reason I thought it was designed for a mouse only was that I couldn’t move the camera angle as I wanted, which I didn’t like very much in this case. Ok, a classic game may have been aimed, an attempt may have been made to follow the footsteps of the old giants, but new generation gaming should have been considered.
Another issue is the complexity of the tasks. But I can’t say too much about it. Like in old-fashioned adventures, NPCs don’t say “What you’re looking for is here, go get it!”. The game is very secretive about giving hints and helping the player. If you only knew how many times I went to the same places and searched for clues or objects. Of course, with a little research on the internet, you can look at the guides and see how people who have played and finished before. But then the pleasure of such games is lost. The key point here is to solve the puzzle and experience that satisfaction, isn’t it? What did I get from the job copying it from someone else? Considering these, it is a bit difficult to solve the puzzles, friends, and this can be a bit annoying.