I don’t even know where to start with this. I’ve been throwing ideas around in my head of how to start this or even where to come from. I guess the level of desperation I’ve had with point and click adventure games is a fairly big hindrance in this. It has been a long time since my last Sam and Max and I haven’t really been drawn to anything in this vein of gaming since, but Chains of Satinav had something so striking about its possibilities that I couldn’t put my finger on. I just had to tear into it.
The whole time while playing I had the arguments of the razor line that divides people into viewing video games as either art or simply a product. That set the tone for my to wander through the product of this game of art. The presentation of Chains of Satinav was so aesthetically pleasing that I found myself lost in the visual world presented before me almost instantly. The excessive amount of detail to bring life to the story laid before me and give a sort of sense of purpose to everything was so fantastic that I decided to delve further into the world of The Dark Eye. At the time I was unfamiliar with it, but I came to find that is the European equivalent of the Dungeons and Dragons series that I am a bit more familiar with. The world is inhabited by all the old standards. Mythical beasts, elves, fairies and much more. This push my love of Chains of Satinav, because the creators seemed to take a specific direction in that world. Rather than saturate the player with all these beings it limited the playing field for the sake of the story. After all, you weren’t a battle hardened adventurer. You were a clumsy son of a bird catcher who had learned a very basic spell of breaking. What are you in the face of an ogre. Instead a story gets weaved from this fabric. A not all to unfamiliar story. Boy meets girl and has to go to great lengths for her safety. A story told a million times, but in the end it all comes down to the listeners connection to the characters involved. I associated with Geron fairly quickly, seeing as he is an outsider trying to carve a place out for himself. Maybe that what kept me entranced.
I understand that this sort of pushes the game in the direction of “niche”, but in this day and age I am beginning to doubt that companies who set out to do something other than an action game or an fps are really aiming to be universal. With that in mind though there are some criticisms I have towards the US release of the game. Most of it is just minor quips that would have but the game on a pedestal in my mind but then they would have focused the aim of Chains of Satinav to a true minority in the market, but there is one big issue. The voice work. I feel that if more effort went into the voice recording and mixing into the game it would have pushed all the beautiful aspects of the game to soaring heights. Its one thing to see the great art direction of the vibrant world, or the sepia toned nightmare or the intelligently illustrated cut scenes. If the voiced felt like part of the world and didn’t sound like the game yelling over the top of the ambient noise at me all the pieces would have fallen into place and created a world with true character. Keeping in mind this is a game with German heritage I am unsure of how Chains of Satinav came into being or even how it was released state-side. Maybe somewhere along the way there was a disconnect that caused this to happen, but this arrow missing its mark dragged the rest of the experience down for me.
I’m not going to say this is a game for everyone. Its an adventure game. If you’re looking for something with guns and explosions or lots of quick movement and huge attacks that end in a sort of uber-violent amount of force, then an adventure game is not for you. If you’re thinking of getting into this style of game, Chains of Satinav is a great way to go. And if you are a true fan of the genre this should most definitely be added to your collection. It really reminded me of the fun I had playing LucasArts’ Dig, but carried with it the maturity of the medium that was used to deliver the story.