I purchased The Adventure Company’s recent release, Evidence: The Last Ritual with high hopes that it would provide immersive gameplay that would appeal to the ARGer in me. Touted as an adventure/puzzle game, Evidence is a step towards a pre-packaged ARG: there are websites to discover with voluminous content as well as in-game emails that follow your progress through the game.
Boy, are there in-game emails. There are scads of in-game emails. In fact, within 10 hours after registering the game (a necessary step in order to proceed to gameplay), I had received a whopping 28 emails – 25 of those in the first two hours. I eventually got a mail saying, “No news from you for several hours now? Are you ditching us like a pair of old socks, or what? Please, we need your help…” Nothing like a little guilt trip to make me want to pop that game right back in! Most mail was to provide clues, and several times the timing was off so that I would get clues for puzzles I had already solved.
The story behind the game is that there is a serial killer on the prowl, and he has produced this teasing, taunting set of CDs with information and clues about his victims. The CDs contain a lot of well-acted video clips which the player is rewarded with after solving puzzles. The gameplay itself is almost reminiscent of the movies Se7en or Saw, with a gritty, surreal atmosphere. The puzzles range from piece-o-cake easy to insanely difficult, and there are little to no clues about solves in some cases. What I found most difficult at times was actually being able to “catch” the right icon in order to proceed to the next puzzle — the tiny icons bob up and down on the screen, and for those of us with bad reflexes it can be pretty frustrating.