Review: Reperfection – Volume 1 (PC)

Reperfection – Volume 1
Publisher: Tinnitus Games
Developer: Tinnitus Games
Genre: Visual Novel
Release Date: 12/05/2012

Ben Freeman is a generally happy guy, from what we can tell: he’s got a wife he loves to spend time with, Sarah, and a young son, Danny, a nice house, and a job that lets him off work early sometimes. The beginning of the game was such a day: he got off work and wanted to spend time with Sarah. Unfortunately for Ben, Sarah was late for an appointment (she’s a real estate agent) near Danny’s school. Ben plops down on the couch, watches some television, and sees his wife off.

As he’s switching through the channels, he hears that another woman has been killed in a series of murders. He also hears about a wreck near Danny’s school. Hoping Sarah hasn’t been in the crash, he tries calling her, but she doesn’t pick up. As fate would have it, Sarah was in the wreck, and she ends up dying. At the funeral, Ben looks into Sarah’s eyes and is transported back to before she dies.

As the game progresses and Ben makes more choices, the player realizes that Ben can jump back in time with anyone who has died by looking into their eyes, going back to before that person dies. (Note: I did not feel that any particular scene was gory and I do not remember seeing any blood, though there is a torture chamber at one point, if that would bother someone.) We also realize that with each choice comes consequences. For instance, by saving Sarah from going to the appointment, Danny ends up dying instead. Determined to save both his wife and son, he goes through several scenarios in order to try to save everyone, including solving some mysteries he didn’t plan on getting involved in. That’s where you come in. As the name indicates, this is the first volume, meaning this game isn’t in and of itself complete.

The controls are pretty simple: just use your mouse to select whatever you’d like to select. Click on the object you’d like to interact with, and move the cursor to the action you would like to take while still holding down the left mouse button. The game allows you to highlight all items you may interact with, which is a great feature as it takes some of the potential confusion out of the game. It also saves your progress automatically, which is great.

Stylistically, the game has a few strong points. The art is wonderful, though I imagine that having everything in black and white might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It might have been nicer to have whatever panel you were on at the time be in color and then have everything else in black and white, but honestly it didn’t bother me the way it was. The storyline is shown through a comic book design, where you can go back and forth through the panels as needed, which I found to be interesting, as a comic book fan. The music added to the atmosphere in the game, which as one can probably expect, is a bit melancholy and at times dramatic.

If you’re looking for a challenge, this game probably isn’t for you, as the strength of this game is more in the storytelling aspect than in the puzzles. Unfortunately, the storytelling itself has a few flaws as well: I couldn’t tell if Danny knew his mom was supposed to pick him up or if he was planning on getting on the school bus, because there are scenarios where he dies on the school bus and with his mom in the car. Confusing? A little. Aside from that, the developers do a decent job of making you care about keeping the people in the game alive. I won’t go as far as to say that I was attached to any of the characters (the game doesn’t spend enough time with any of the characters for that), but I did feel motivated in trying to find the best outcome possible.

Additionally, even though this is but one installation in the series, the game feels short (2-3 hours for most players, I imagine) and constrained. You’re only given the opportunity to see about seven or eight “areas” (e.g. house, school, warehouse, etc.) in the game, and some of those you’ll only visit once, while others you’ll repeat so often you might get a bit tired of them. Those “areas” might have several rooms or other “sub areas” so to speak, but many of them also consist of just one panel. Perhaps instead of three installations of this game, the developers should have stuck with one or at most, two. Especially if they had expanded on some of the storylines a bit more (which seems like it’s supposed to be the game’s strength), it would have made for a fuller experience. I was surprised the game ended where it did (considering how little time I spent in the game itself) but the cliffhanger at the end was appropriate given the episodic nature of the game. I also question whether there’s really any replay value to be had, but I suppose we’ll have to see what the next two installments give us for that to be more clear.

Going forward, it would be great for the Reperfection series to give us more time with the characters and more places to go. I think the game has potential, despite some of the features being a bit lackluster. I look forward to seeing what German developers Tinnitus Games have in store for the series.

Short Attention Span Summary
This game is the first of three planned installations, and is okay, but not awesome. While the art and music of the game is wonderful, giving a gloomy atmosphere, and the controls are fine, the game feels short and limited in scope. Hopefully the next two installments are fleshed out more, as there is potential here.

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