1 player only
January 22, 2007
Around 10 or so minutes
(click to enlarge)
I stumbled upon this gem about two weeks ago, for the low price of $20.00. At first, I was hesitant to buy it. After all, can a game where all you do is talk be any fun? But after playing it for a day, I quickly fell in love with it.
Hotel Dusk Room 215 is about Kyle Hyde, an ex cop and Bradley, his partner who betrayed him(year:1970's). Kyle ended up shooting Bradley, but the body was never found. Three years have passed and Kyle Hyde is now a door to door salesman, but secretly, he's still looking for his partner. His boss, Ed, has a small business he runs on the side. Finding things that don't want to be found. Simply put, someone lost something, doesn't want to call the cops about it, so they contact Ed and he gets his workers on the job.
Kyle Hyde is ordered to go to Hotel Dusk and find several items for a client. While staying there, Kyle will talk to people, and uncover the truth and mystery behind the Hotel and it's guests. He might also find a clue as to what happened to Bradley and why he betrayed him three years back...
I know, sounds very strange. How can a remote Hotel uncover what happened to his ex partner? But the plot all comes together nicely and is sure not to dissapoint.
As you can see by the screenshots, the characters are all drawn in a peculiar way. They all have a hand drawn style to them, a noir type of look. The art style works suprisingly well and is one of the games strong points, making it very unique. It's kinda like that 80's video, Taaaake ooooon meeeeee. The characters have several frames of animation. While having a conversation or observing an item, the character reacts to this with one of those frames. Wether it's moving his head, looking down, extending his arm or placing his hand on his chin, it always, always fits the situation or the conversation. It's kinda hard to take your eyes off them when conversing. You'll never find yourself thinking "lazy animators".
There are several cinematics here and there, all beatifully animated (especially the intro, check it out). They're so good, I can't help but get greedy and ask for more.
Now on to the enviorments. As you may have already realised, the DS is held like a book in this game. You have a map on the right of the DS screen, showing you where you are and where your character is facing. On the left, is the room you're in (in 3D). For the most part, the graphics (on the left screen) work well. There is nothing astounding, but neither is it extremely ugly. A little plain, yes (but remember, you are in an old dusty hotel, not a five star luxary one), but like I said, it gets the job done. it just...works.
As for the music, there isn't much here. The soundtrack has a couple of jazz like songs, but thats about it. It isnt horrible by any means, and there are some songs that stand out. Like at the end of a chapter, during the summary and when you're questioning somebody. They set the tone for every conversatrion you're having and for whatever it is thats happening. The game also has a jukebox in the bar, which lets you play any song you wish. It's a nice little addition to the game.
The gameplay in Hotel Dusk is very simple. On the right screen you have your map, and at the bottom of it, your options. The notebook for a map of the entire hotel, to save your game, look at the characters you've talked to and more. The small door to open doors and the magnifying glass. You can search an area when the magnifying glass lights up. When you're searching an area, you click on objects, or rotate around the place with the small bar at the bottom. You click on items to either get a snide remark from Hyde, or to pick up an item which Hyde thinks might come of use later on in the game. You might also use one of the items you have at the moment on another item when the time calls for it.
The game has plenty of puzzles littered throughout the game. The puzzles are all logical, meaning that they aren't insane or something crazy. Things like builduing a puzzle for a little girl, rumiging through a trash can to find something, or looking up close at a painting to find something are included in this game. As boring as it might sound, all the puzzles are quite fun. They aren't terribly difficult, although the occasional hard one will come here and there. Some puzzles require the use of items, but there isn't much "fetching" done in this game, so its all right.
Most of the game will be spent talking and reading through lines of text. Boring? Not really, well, it depends. The dialogue is written really well, and most conversations don't drag on and on and on with unnecesary details. It's actually entertaining, and the story will beckon you to continue on with it. It's very addicting.
During the conversations, at times you will have a choice of what to say. Many times, you'll have to pick right or the character being interrogated will get pissed and leave the conversation, getting you a game over. The choices aren't too hard to choose from, and most of the time, the conversation will end the same way anyways. Many times while talking several questions will pop up through Kyles head, and you ask those questions once the character is done speaking. Another conversation with choices and bits of information revealed will pop up.
As for progression, the game pretty much throws at you what to do next. Most of the time will be spent walking around finding characters to talk to. You will also have puzzles in each chapter. At the end of almost every chapter (minus one or two) you will interroagte someone to get the facts and wash away their lies (and after that, a summary were you must answer several multiple choice questions). You will find that each character has skeletons in their closet. Now, how will all of these people tie in with Bradley? Well, not all of them do. Some characters tie in with each other, others tie in with Nile (without revealing much, Bradley was working undercover before betraying the NYPD). Wether they tie in with Nile or not is irrelevant, since each persons story is interesting and, at times, shocking. Their stories aren't just plot devices thrown in to move the plot, these people have depth to them and are all very, very interesting.
For me, I got 25 hours of gameplay out of thise game. I would say you get over 10 hours of gameplay out of this, 10 through 15 hours.
Let me just state one important thing here:This game is more about story than gameplay, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
After you're done with this game, you probably wont play it again. As for me, I might, I know something differently happens in the end, though not so much that you might want to play it again to get that ending. I also hear that you can go into room 220 after a second play through.
Like I said, you probably won't play it again, but while it lasts, it's one hell of a game. Gameplay takes a backseat in this game, but the story is so damn good it'll keep you coming back.
For $20.00, I'll say I made a pretty good investment. I think I've pretty much said everything I needed to say. Gameplay takes a backseat here and it's more about the story, wether that's a bad thing is up to you. If you prefer a more action oriented game, skip this one. But if you're in for an immersive story and addictive story also, by all means, pick this one up. Its currently one of my favorite DS games.
But, I'll repeat myself here, it's more about the story here. Like I said, I wouldn't have it any other way. Reccomended if you like story time, especially if you find it cheap like I did.