Review: Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today
Action Adventures, Shooters, Role Playing Games, are among many other genres gamers are well accustomed to, there are myriad of titles that comes in the aforementioned genres, but have you heard about point-and-click adventure? If no, you are either one of the new generation of gamers, or those players who have no interest in stepping outside the zone of the gaming genres they are well accustomed to. Point-and-Click Adventures is a rare genre nowadays, that makes it’s entry to the world of gaming once in a blue moon, no doubt that most of us, even long time, good ol’ gamers have limited knowledge or experience about this particular type of games.
Prior to delving headfirst into the knitty-gritty of Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, it will be worthwhile that we dig deep into the history of this unique and rare genre. Having said that, the root of the story driven, puzzle-solving point and click adventures comes from highly popular, critically acclaimed titles like Broken Sword, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Myst to name a few, and Dead Synchronicity here is one of the finest and modern titles that remains true to this lesser known genre.
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is one of the successful examples of one of the newest trend in video game industry, it is a direct result of a successful Kickstarter project, released a year ago on PC, the natural cosy home of point-and-click adventures, now making it’s transition to the consoles on PlayStation 4 available in both digital and physical versions. Only a handful of developers dare risking doing the transition from PC to consoles, especially in these games where some examples like Broken Sword made a successful transition, whereas in the other hand some developers were reluctant and on the fence of making the transition of their titles to the consoles, a la The Secret of Monkey Island, which never have made it to the consoles, despite the clamor of the gamers.
Given how important and crucial the story telling aspect in this type of games is, it is in fact the aspect that this genre stand out and excel in, the narrative in Dead Synchronicity does not fail, it already starts in an interesting and high note, you wake up as Michael, blacked out and hearing disembodied voices and of no recollection of either his identity or his past whatsoever. Completely clueless and disoriented, Michael opens his eyes in a world ravaged and destroyed by a catastrophe: The Great Wave, a phenomenon struck our world and left it in rubble, the inhabitants of ones God’s green earth have been pushed to the brink of extinction by a deadly epidemic known as the dissolve, in which the individuals affected by disease “dissolve” to a stain of blood. Reeling in from the effect of the amnesia and chafed under the yoke of these unpleasant discoveries you set up on a gory journey to uncover the truth about your identity, the source of the epidemic, and the plot behind The Great Wave fuss.
Dead Synchronicity’s gameplay revolves around moving a cursor around the 2D backgrounds, interacting with your surroundings, solving puzzles, and going through a lot of dialogues asking an endless array of questions mandatory to progress in the story, I know for our modern era; when we mention character interactions and story driven gameplay, Tell Tales’ games pop in our minds, some might mistake point-and-click as being identical to the branching story flow of Tell Tale’s games but the truth is: No. Dead Synchronicity remains true to the norm of the genre, the course of the story flows in one linear path, no bifurcating paths here.
The apocalyptic, macabre setting, and the mature theme of this game help it stand out from the flock and give it a unique identity. As you try to adjust your eyes to the devastated world, reduced to rubble, dilapidated buildings, heaps of trash and decomposing human corpses, harping on the chords of insecurity and uncertainty, the game does a great job in yanking you into it’s creepy and dark universe. As much as I like to sing the praises of the game’s ability to always pique your interest in the plot, it is shame that in some parts of the story the sense of rushing the title is evident, like for instance you will come across some supernatural occurrences over the course of the game, those ensues the plot but they lose their steam in a blink of an eye, moreover; the interesting narrative is botched by the abrupt ( and yes) the seemingly rushed boondoggle of an ending that makes no sense.
“You gotta do what you gotta do.” you will hear this one-liner often time in the game, although it is cringe-worthy and coerces you to: duhhh the instant you hear it again and again, it is admittedly a major player in the game. I personally applause the developers’ valor in incorporating the macabre and gory theme of the game to the gameplay and the puzzles, believe me when I say that you really gotta do what you gotta do , no puns intended, to progress in the game, hell to further enforce this theme in the puzzles, I have been stuck in one particular point in the game where some innocent, well not that innocents, believe me, children are nudged into the site of execution by soldiers ready to pull the trigger with impunity. Although desperate times call for desperate measures, never for a split second, cross my heart have the idea of spilling acid and using a fragment of shattered glass to disfigure an ill-fated individual, stick the tool of crime into his pocket to show him as the one responsible for the crime perpetrated by the children have crossed my mind.
The measures you apply will undoubtedly prick your scalps but again, duhhh, you gotta do what you gotta do as the game rewards your creativity in thinking outside the box and pushing the limit of the goriness; like when I, out of the context of the plot, used nails on a crucified victim, the protagonist proved to have an iota of human decency and restrained from ding so, he nagged and wagged under his breath and unexpectedly I have been awarded a trophy for my sick thinking, although cruel I really dig the trophy system.
Visually, as a kickstarter project; this game is low budget game, the game’s world depicts well the violent and gory themes of the game, and it is very well married with background music. The game’s world is consistent of still 2D backgrounds with animated objects, the cutscenes ensues in simple comic book style scenes. Voice acting wise, it is fair overall, but lacks the professional delivery, and it is poor and monotone to tell the truth.
Now cue the perennial debate of which controller is better: Mouse or the consoles’ controllers; given the fact that these type of games are originally designed to fit well with mouses rather than controls, so when these PC original titles make the transition to consoles, the developers usually have an honest to God run for their money trying to come up with a comfortable control system that suits consoles’ controllers. The lads in Fictiorama Studios have done a great job in the smooth transition from mouses to controls. With each button dedicated for a course of action, you move the cursor with the left analog button, interact with the X button, listen for information about a particular object or item by pressing the square button, and highlight the points of interests in the background by pressing the shoulder buttons, you will instantly get familiar with the controls, I haven’t face any troubles traversing the environment, interacting with objects and whatnot, because the control system runs without a hitch on Dual Shock 4.
Shifting gears, I underscore the fact that point-and-click adventures might not suit everyone, to shed some light on what really this type of genre is: puzzle-solving, story-driven gameplay, spending the better part of the game interacting with the objects and characters, asking a lot of questions, going over dialogue after dialogue, and never leave a stone unturned are all the essential and crucial cogs of the point-and-click machine. In a nutshell; if you are looking for hard hitting, action adventure titles this game is not for you.
One of the deal breakers is, despite the fact of it’s interesting story, the plot is rife with random and forgettable faces, characters utterly devoid of emotions and ultimately fail to forge emotional ties with you. The puzzles are fine and mind-bending, but in times you will be scratching your head trying to understand the correlation of certain item to another one.
All in all, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PlayStation 4 is a good and interesting game tainted by flows here and there, the transition from PC to PS4 is done smoothly, controls are a-okay, this game has rekindled my interest in point-and-click games, and reminded me why I have been smitten with this type of games in the first place.
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today was reviewed using an PlayStation 4 downloadable code of the game provided by BadLand Games. The game is also available on PC via digital stores. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Interesting take on a dark, mature theme.
• Clever Puzzles.
• It is a point-and-click adventure.
• The trophy system that awards “sick” outside the box thinking.
• The game does great job in piquing your Intrest in the plot.
• The control system transitioned smoothly from Mouse to controllers.
• Interesting plot botched by an abrupt ending.
• When you finish the game, there is no reason to play it again.
• Rife with forgettable characters.
• The voice acting falls flat.