Indie Review: A New Beginning – Final Cut
A New Beginning - Final Cut is a point and click adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment that is interesting because it's an eco-thriller. In a thriving genre, does this do enough to be worthy?
- Worth The Time?No, it's very unrewarding.
- Things LovedThe gorgeous art direction, the music is really great, many of the puzzles are well designed and logical, the save system.
- Things HatedThe voice acting and dialogue is terrible with all-round depressing delivery, the story can be hard to take seriously and wrongly comes across as comical at times, practically all of the characters are extremely unlikable and often very stupid, cutscenes have really bad lip syncing and animation issues, it can feel very tedious or just downright boring sometimes, there are translation issues, some puzzles take bizarre leaps of logic to solve.
- RecommendationIt's almost impossible to recommend this title given the fact that this genre is currently thriving with excellent titles far more worth the time.
- Name: A New Beginning - Final Cut
- Genre: Point And Click Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, Wii, DS
- Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
- Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
- Price: $9.99 (approximately R90)
- Reviewed On: PC
A New Beginning – Final Cut is a point and click adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment that is interesting because it’s an eco-thriller. In the year 2500, the planet’s ecosystem has been decimated by climate change and global warming, and it has become almost uninhabitable for humans. A bunch of survivors, in a last ditch effort, go back centuries in time in order to stop the environmental catastrophe before it happens, and part of how they’ll do this is by convincing the powers to invest more in eco-friendly energy sources. Part of the crew is a young woman named Fay, who needs to enlist the help of retired algae specialist Bent Svensson, as his life’s research, unknown to him as he’s long given up due to losing his family because of his work, is really the key to finding an alternate energy source. Fay needs to convince the reclusive Bent that she’s telling the truth, and with his help uncover the conspiracy behind what caused the end of the world, and put a stop to it before it’s too late.
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There is so much to say about the story here that it’s difficult to know where to start. But I guess ripping the bandage off quickly is usually the way to go, so let me say that the story tries to be a serious eco-thriller with an important message, but it mostly comes across as utterly comical due to the terrible voice acting, depressing dialogue delivery, silly writing and hideous characterisation. It’s rare that you find a story without a single likable character, and this game really tried hard to make them all awful. They’re just so bizarre and extremely difficult to sympathise with due to their stupidity. For a tiny example, there’s a part in the beginning of the game where the main character, Bent, supposedly an environmentalist, thinks nothing of accidentally killing a bird because of the fumes of his fogger. In this same situation, Fay actually sheds tears over the bird’s death and gets visibly angry with Bent, yet in future scenes she barely even reacts to humans dying. That’s a running consistency with the game. Many characters shrug off human death like it’s a slight inconvenience, and even one of the supposed good guys seems to think killing people is just another day on the job, and is as detestable as the rest.
I’m not too sure if translation can be blamed alone, but it has surely contributed to dialogue being downright awkward. Characters deliver their lines with barely any emotion and almost always sound disinterested and uncomfortable as though passion is dead and they’re being forced into speaking English against their will. It completely takes you out of the story, in addition to the unlikable characters. Honestly, this has to be one of the worst casts of characters I’ve seen in a game, maybe even the worst all-around. And don’t get me started on the villains in the game. They’re so dramatically over-exaggerated as though the game thought you’d otherwise be unable to determine who the bad guys are, and they often come across like cartoon villains more than anything else. I’m really trying to avoid spoilers here, but let me just say that I’m baffled that a game that boasts a “mature” story can be so difficult to care about or take seriously. Honestly, there were many moments in this game where I felt like I had been tricked into being a party to a kids TV show. From beginning to end, this game stayed at a low with its story, and while there are some interesting segments around the middle and actually a stretch or two where I felt more involved, the plot, writing, dialogue and voice acting just killed it.
The game just handles its subject matter terribly, as though it was written as a high school drama project, and it really falls apart because it’s clearly evident that the game takes itself and its messages really seriously, yet all of its issues severely bring it down, and the result is like you’re getting schooled on how to save the environment by a senile old man in a clown suit with a high pitched stutter and a wonky eye. Picture that and see if you’d be able to get to terms with the gravity of the message. Then we get to the game’s cutscenes, which are another story-damaging problem. Cutscenes are presented in a comic-book style, but they’re just nowhere near as good-looking as the actual game. More importantly, they’re plagued with noticeably bad lip syncing and animation issues, and while they’re stylistically alright, they fall flat because of these issues alongside the voice acting. The poor translation also gets in the way, because there are a number of places in the game where lines haven’t been translated at all, and text has remained in the game’s native German. It’s just a real pity.
Perhaps the most depressing fact here is that the game really does have some high points that completely save it from being unplayable. For one thing, the puzzle design is actually surprisingly good, and they’re for the most part well designed and logical. They aren’t overly challenging, and neither are they too easy. Sadly some require bizarre leaps of logic to solve, but fortunately the overall quality of the puzzles remains satisfying, and there are enough interesting scenarios to keep your brain busy. Plus, if you’re really struggling with some of the harder puzzles, the game gives you the option to skip over them. Due to the great visual design and the welcome ability to highlight any objects in the environment that you can interact with at the push of a button, you won’t ever suffer from the common adventure game issue of not having a clue what items you need or can use. It’s relatively easy to find everything you may need in the environment provided you’re both patient and thorough, and your mind will for the most part be focused on finding solutions. To this end, the game really does deserve credit.
The gameplay is also solid and when it’s going right it can be quite enjoyable. However, it’s mostly during the middle sections of the game that this is apparent. Other times the game can just start to feel tedious and even boring, but that’s more due to the failings of the story than any severe gameplay issues. But it’s easy to play and functions really well. You’ll use the mouse to direct your character, of which you’ll either control Bent or Fay depending on the current scenario, and your cursor will turn into a little blue wheel when you’re over something that can be interacted with. You can then hold down left click and choose what to do from a variety of options such as look at, use, take, move and so on. Your inventory is brought up with right click, and you can also use the left mouse button to interact with the items you’re holding and combine them. On the whole the control scheme is pretty straight forward and comfortable to work with, and I really was satisfied with the gameplay and puzzles, which is great.
The other highlight of the game is undoubtedly its gorgeous art direction. The hand-drawn style really complements the entire game, and often A New Beginning is beautiful to look at in nearly all areas, and a visual treat. The water, lighting and environmental detail are particularly impressive, and characters are drawn well enough to blend seamlessly with the backdrop. A small nitpick on my part would be that the animations are a little awkward at times, but it’s nothing serious. The game is varied, colourful and stylised, and there’s hardly anything to fault when it comes to the graphics. Furthermore, the music is really great, and often sets the tone wonderfully. As an audio and visual experience, A New Beginning boasts a high level of quality, and it’s then even more upsetting that the rest of the game, especially its story which is the most important element, doesn’t come close to the same level.
The most unfortunate thing about A New Beginning overall is that its plot, writing, voice acting and characterisation are more than enough to completely sink it despite its high quality with its puzzle gameplay, visuals and audio. It’s a story-focused game, and when you can barely bring yourself to invest in it, care for it, take it seriously or even just get attached to a single character, then the rest of the experience falls like a house of cards. It’s not all bad, but I really can’t see anyone sticking through the whole ten hour story experience when it’s as bad as this. Unless you absolutely love this genre and play these games solely for the puzzles and to challenge your brain, then maybe I could just about scrape some sort of recommendation. But since that would be catering for a very unlikely crowd, and there are far better things to spend your money on, A New Beginning is ultimately just forgettable.
A New Beginning – Final Cut is a real disappointment, as the few things it genuinely does well get completely overshadowed by everything it does terribly wrong. It’s a sad thing because it does have some redeeming qualities, but the reality is that the damning issues this game has makes it hard to take seriously, and in a currently thriving adventure genre, it becomes almost impossible to recommend this flat title as a result. In the end, A New Beginning simply fails to achieve what it strives for.