Review: The Silver Lining Episode 2: Two Households
Tarryn van der Byl·
I’ve written and rewritten this introduction, like, four times. Here’s a précis.
My point is, why – whyyyyy – make a 3D game when it looks totally revolting? Because this game looks totally revolting. It looks totally revolting in ways that other totally revolting things can only dream damp dreams of. It’s not that I’m a graphics slut, mind you, but rather that this game simply looks totally revolting in a way that’s so totally revolting, it’s actually distracting. I know I’m supposed to care about Alexander’s YouTube sex video controversy (or whatever royal scandal the plot is trying so desperately to impart; I stopped paying attention when the game started putting preceding King’s Quest narrative synopses into new sentences), but I just can’t stop gawping at King Graham’s grotesquely malformed limbs. It’s like watching a documentary about Chernobyl babies or something. I liked this project more when it was still a 2D AGS game.
In theory, anyway. I mean, there’s not much making up for the fact that this game is just horrible, horrible, horrible. Okay, they’ve sort of improved the pathfinding algorithms from Episode 1: What Is Decreed Must Be. And… well, that’s about it, really. Pretty much everything that was wrong with that game is still wrong here, only there’s more of it this time around.
Tedious exposition? [x]
Atrocious voice work? [x]
Vapid dialogue? [x]
Characters that used to be cool, now tragically reinvented as maudlin, neurotic, and terminally insipid dorks? [x]
Contrived fan service and excessive references to previous games that would be utterly inscrutable and of no value to newcomers? [x]
Drearily linear and obvious puzzle-solving with absolutely no evidence of ingenuity whatsoever, including a puzzle involving the acquisition of a map when the player apparently already has one? [x]
And as an added (un)bonus, they’ve also included the most hilariously awful running animation cycle I’ve ever seen. I won’t make a joke about the Special Olympics, because it would be insulting to the Special Olympics. But pretend I did anyway.
I previously summarised Episode 1 as “King’s Quest fanfiction with bad 3D graphics”, and I can’t think of a better way to describe the sequel. Where each original Sierra title introduced an entirely new adventure, the writers of these games have simply taken all that material and mashed it together – with no regard for its intended context or significance – into something you’d expect to find next to My Immortal in an Encyclopedia Dramatica entry of the worst things on the internet.