Friday, January 25, 2019

The Shapeshifting Detective - Part 1

Over the past few years, there has been an upsurge in FMV games. Though they aren't as big as they were back in the old days, they've begun to carve out a comfortable niche.

The Shapeshifting Detective takes many cues (and a few of the actors) from 2015's Contradiction: Spot the Liar, and adds in a few new, cool ideas to form a compelling murder mystery experience.

Obviously, being part of the title, the most important mechanic in the game is the protagonist's ability to change their form and voice to match that of any other character, gaining valuable insight and information by talking to others in their guise.

Not only are players able to ask questions that they couldn't get away with normally by asking them "as" another character, but they can even play upon established connections to manipulate others to do what they need to in order to help solve the case. We saw a bit of this when he guided Oscar to investigate Browyn's room, both by encouraging him as Chief Dupont, and using Browyn's face to get him into position. Playing on, establishing, and or manipulating relationships forms a very important aspect of the game.

But the other, more subtly important, is the ability to throw away questions or responses. One of my viewers on Twitch asked why one would want to do that, since most players are trained to exhaust the question tree before moving on (something that I still do a lot of in this game). The trick is that, just like in real life, it is sometimes better to avoid interrupting someone and just let them keep talking with an uninterrupted train of thought.

Alternatively, if the player suspects a question will do more to hurt their reputation or compromise their investigation than it would to help, then it might also make for sense to throw it away than it would to ask it. This options adds a whole new layer to conversation that is refreshing to see, and breathes new life into the dialogue trees we're all so familiar with.

I'm glad I was able to show off this game, because it's one that's super easy to overlook, but still a great game.

No comments: