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Scheherazade Review (PC)

 
Scheherazade Review (PC) image
Scheherazade Review (PC) image
Scheherazade Review (PC) image

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
3.0
3/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


Enjoyable yarn and characters
Some nice art deco stylings

Not so much?


Tedious gameplay
Jarring anime character art
Painful repetition throughout


Final Fiendish Findings?

With Scheherazade, there is no doubt that you have a gripping and enjoyable yarn filled with an interesting cast of characters, not to mention the bubbly and bright protagonist herself. But as a game it draws out what little gameplay it has for an unacceptably long time, and places too much emphasis on repeated mouse clicks to progress the text and story along.

0
Posted October 13, 2012 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

There’s a bit of a lie in the title of this review, as the game  is actually called, deep breath now… 1931: Scheherazade and the Library of Pergamum… yeah.

The title is not the only thing that’s overly verbose in this game, in fact whilst playing through it constantly made me ask the question “why would you make a game when you could just write a book” – which is essentially what the developers, Black Chicken Studios, should have done. Especially as the route to self publication is so easy today thanks to the Amazon Kindle store.

You play a young socialite orphan named Scheherazade Keating, or Sadie for short. She’s very much in the same vein is Tintin… a globetrotting College student with a fondness for Archaeology and history and many other interests that are a little bit more on the athletic side.

Scheherazade Review (PC) image

You play the role of this hyper-intelligent young lady throughout one year of her life as she makes her way not only through College, but also seeks to uncover a long forgotten mystery that her parents stumbled upon many years ago.

The thing is, the story is quite whimsical and breezy and pleasant enough. You could see a novel of this selling well amongst older kids and young teenagers (particularly amongst girls)… the main character is a charming and engaging protagonist, the scope of the plot takes you across the world and meeting with various individuals and there is a bit of mystery and intrigue which helps drive that narrative along . But the actual gameplay itself is relatively defunct at best and non-existent at worse.

You can probably see that this video is fairly stilted – that’s pretty much how the game is though. You read a couple of lines of text or dialogue, then click the mouse button and read another few lines of text. And that’s it… nothing else to it.

No matter how engaging the story, this soon becomes rather tedious, not helped by the frequent copy and paste of game artefacts which means that what you are looking at right now is a sizable percentage of the overall game. I felt if I’d have been handed a book instead of a game then this would have scored quite highly. The story is all well and good but it’s been integrated into what barely passes as a game.

Scheherazade Review (PC) image

The art-deco style is well executed, but sharply contrasting this for the worst are the anime style characters which are quite jarring when you consider both the location and time period of the title.

The game liberally scatters missions across the year long time period, and gives you the option of obtaining bonus cards which can be used to help you through certain challenges. Things like avoiding ex-boyfriends, listening to a classical concert or thinking about your parents can help you build up a roster of cards which you can then deploy during the quests. Except the net result of doing any of these things are a bit of dialogue on the screen and that is it. You get to perform three actions during the day and unless the story itself takes over at key dates (a class trip to Egypt for instance) then the whole monotony of it all makes for a slow and tedious game.

The tutorial was next to useless, being placed right in the very beginning of the 1st chapter and slapped between the prose of the story, the game does a poor job of showing you how the concept of these cards and challenges actually works.

Scheherazade Review (PC) image

Scheherazade promises over 100 hours of gameplay and a range of different endings depending on your choices. What is nice is that at no point does the game completely block you off if you don’t have enough skill to pass through one of the challenges. You will fail but an alternative solution is easily found (which again may make you ask the question “what’s the point of playing it”) so you’re never stuck at any point, which is merciful given the obvious lack of engaging gameplay.

The only sound comes from the musical score which is quite nice, but sadly there are too fewer tracks and as a result you are subjected to the same few pieces of music repeatedly. When you stack that up against the drudgery of clicking through the text and the repeated graphics then it doesn’t do the title any favours.

With Scheherazade, there is no doubt that you have a gripping and enjoyable yarn filled with an interesting cast of characters, not to mention the bubbly and bright protagonist herself. But as a game it draws out what little gameplay it has for an unacceptably long time, and places too much emphasis on repeated mouse clicks to progress the text and story along.


Adam

 
Playing games since I'd developed enough motor functions to hold a joystick. From Commodore 64 all the way through to the latest gen. Favourite games to play are FPS games and anything with a deep and compelling story and a world that draws you in. I also enjoy writing, film making and playing bass in whatever band will have me :)