Ok, my remarks/review now that I finished the game:INTRODUCTION:
DONNA: Avenger of Blood is easily one of the best point and click adventure games I've played to date. With graphics suiting the overall environment, a compelling plot and some of the most logical and solvable puzzles, this is one of those must-plays that only comes around every few years. The length of the game is long enough to be considered a full-length game (although I've only been playing since Saturday but I couldn't stop till I finished!)WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THE GAME:
There are two main reasons I rate the game so highly. First, as I said, the puzzles are logical enough to be solved with some thinking, trial and error and persistence. Unlike games where you just shake your head thinking "how the hell was anyone supposed to guess that", the flow and direction of the game keeps moving at a pace where you actually feel progress combined with the satisfaction of having solved a good puzzle. This experience, of course, is what makes the genre of adventure game compelling. The puzzles are generally a good balance of dialogue choices with inventory items. Many are unique to this game (at least I haven't seen them before). When stuck, there are several in-game hint resources that get your brain spinning to lead you to solve the puzzle. If I had to summarize what made this so good, I found myself almost never wondering "ok, NOW what am I supposed to do? I have no objective or anything to solve now" which is what happens in poorly-designed games.
The second strong point of the game is the plot. It's complex, unpredictable and immersive enough to make you want to keep playing without having so much detail that it becomes impossible to track (or you just don't care anymore about tracking) what's going on. Despite the length of the game, it never gets repetitive or boring. The pulse-quickening unexpected ending is well-suited for the game.
Some other appealing features:
- the photographic, dark/greyscale graphics are perfect for the game.
- The worry-meter (whatever it's called!) and blood meter add to the playabilty.
- Character development was very good
- The detail of the animation and effects was not overlooked. WEAKNESSES OF THE GAME:
- Despite the strengths of the puzzles I mentioned, (I know I have to nit-pick to complain!) there were a few points that I was completely stumped with nothing to do and no leads. The reason for this was because I missed one detail in an animated scene. Not a good idea to have the game at a dead-end because the player sneezed.
Another was similar: I missed one small point in a dialogue and ended up having no leads as a result.
- I mentioned the dialogue combinations as being a good tool in puzzles. I found that many of the dialogue options basically get you to the same place and really did not serve much purpose to advancing the game and were just a drag.
- It's clear that a lot of effort went into the graphics and it's a pleasing style found in a number of games (I'm thinking of Raindog Story) and it works most of the time. However, at times the clipped photographs put together have a certain unappealing choppiness, particularly when there is motion.
- I'm sure that some people will disagree with this point but I'll make it anyway. Although the people playing the game, myself included, are not offended by the nudity/sexuality/language, it limits the game to a smaller audience. This game is not suited for younger players or people who find those items as offensive. Of course there are ample warnings and those people don't need to play the game, but in rating the game I have to put an element that diminishes the appeal to a wider audience in the negative column.BUGS:
(you knew this was coming!)
The amount of work and attention to detail in the plot and flow of this game, combined with creativity and excellent gameplay, polish and execution makes Donna: Avenger of Blood a compelling must-play for any adventure game fan.
Bravo, Blaze! You have a lot to be proud of!