Version Tested: PC
Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Developers: Microids, Artefacts Studios
Publishers: Gravity Europe SAS
Official Site: https://www.agathachristie.microids.com/?lang=en
Release Date: February 4th, 2016
Where to Buy: Steam, Xbox Store, or Playstation Network
I believe murder mysteries and point-click adventure games work exceedingly well together. Such successful titles to fall under the category or genre would be Detective Grimoire or The Cat Lady. Albeit, if done right through suspenseful storytelling and clever gameplay mechanic or puzzles could make any games under the specified genre more successful. Sadly, Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders swayed my opinion in the opposite direction of this specified style.
The story was not the problem as almost all Agatha Christie books are tremendously well-written through characterization and plot progression. The entirety of the tale was taken directly from the original book titled “Agatha Christie – The A.B.C. Murders“. The story began with a famous, Belgium detective under the name of Hercule Poirot, along with the help of his trusted associate and friend Arthur Hastings. They both team up and uncover mysterious deaths appearing around London area. The reason for the strange title, “The A.B.C. Murders” underlined the victim’s from an A.B.C. railway guide found laying on top of each of the dead bodies. The training book described the location and first letter of the victim’s name, alphabetically – an example being A for Andover and name Ascher.
Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders (video game) was told through the eyes of Poirot rather than Hastings (point of view from the book). The change in perspective was completely fine because of giving the player an opportunity in taking the role as detective Poirot. This added more depth in discovering what was the cause of the death and piece together information from scenes of the crime through a series of puzzles or analyzing interviews. Also, ego points were given to follow the direct actions of Poirot through the novel – the ego points have no significant value, though. The issue was how repetitive the puzzles, trapped to solve something in a given area, and inquire about each subject.
Take this scenario, for instance, I would arrive at the crime scene and be given the opportunity to click around the room. Observing my surroundings I was supposed to follow what I was given from correct dialogue I needed in order to proceed to the next task. Any other path I was to take – like backtracking to a previous area – would prevent me from doing so. Overall, this would put me under the impression I was forcibly being imprisoned to solve an undiscovered puzzle.
Next, I would proceed to investigate an area by highlighting 3 to 4 objects; These may pertain as a clue to discovering the next step into progressing through the case. Once I glanced at what my character needed to see I was given a puzzle or two to solve. The puzzles were the best part about Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders. They each had a quirky mechanic and challenge which would draw me into a state of determination and concentration. After the puzzle would be completed I would be given the phrase, ” Now let us try to get our gray cells to work” – direct dialogue from the game. This was repeated every time I would slip into investigation mode, a small mini game which had me piece together 2 to 3 theories and come to a conclusion of what happened.
Finally, a reconstruction of the crime scene would ensue and ultimately throw me into the shadowy eyes of the murderer. There was a right or wrong answer to these events and if failed, I would have to revert back to the beginning of the reconstruction until done correctly. This was how Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders played out for the past six and half hours it took me to beat the game. The title could be completed much quicker if I would have used the clues which automatically would direct me toward the next obstacle if I was ever stuck. These clues take around a minute to fully regenerate after using but rather than play as a help tool could be used to handicap to the end of the game without penalties. For a title pricing at $30-$40 seems exceedingly high given the amount of content as well – which was 50 achievements and replays of the chapters.
Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders does present surprisingly well graphics for a point-click adventure game by using cell-shading, cartoon graphics. Also, the use of shadow and development through each environment and a detailed object was portrayed beautifully through every oppressive encounter. The only genuine issue I had was the impressions each person Poirot would interview had absolutely no emotional expression whatsoever. What determined me to think if the character was depressed or anxious was given to me through a hovering text above the character. The music played throughout was incredibly well done from adding stress and drama to each situation. Voice acting did seem a little bland but Poirot and Hastings did an exquisite job filling out their roles through acting the part.
All-in-all Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders isn’t a terrible game. The title does an extraordinary job at retelling the story from the original book through intricate puzzles and exploring beautiful texture and colorful locations with the help of character development. What was derailing from the experience was repetitiveness through gameplay and liner choices when trapped in a certain area. I can only recommend this adventure to either casual gamers and fans of Agatha Christie other than that I’d advise waiting until the title appears on sale in the future.
- Gameplay: Serves as a tradition point-click with some unique investigative features but becomes repetitive
- Graphics: Beautiful scenery with fantastic use of cell-shading, but emotionless expressions
- Sound: Music score fits the setting and some of the voice acting was done very well
- Presentation: Set the mood for an original Agatha Christie murder/mystery story
- Thorough investigations of the crimes scenes
- Puzzles are gratifying to solve
- Graphics and music score are beautiful through look and sound
- Story and character's are depicted just like from the original book itself.
- Emotionless characters when acting out their expressions
- The process of investigation could become extremely tedious
- Short Game, roughly 6-hour playthrough
- $30-$40 seemed overly priced for the amount of content.
George has a backlog of over 1000 computer games but never has time to play them all. Other hobbies George does with his spare time include puzzles, playing guitar, reading, sing karaoke, and writing short stories. Also, he’s a full-time baker/Pastry Chef.