Return of the Obra Dinn may seem like a typical indie hip-hop at first glance, but the appearance of deceit. The unique graphic jacket fits perfectly into all the gear that drives this novelty detective, and it’s not just the effect. Lucas Pope put you on time and after the excellent title Papers, Please!
Obra Dinn Returns
It’s morning, October 18, 1808. After six years, the ghostly outline of a long-lost ship named Obra Dinn appears in the harbor. In 1802, she sailed to the Orient with sixty men aboard, but a few months later she was declared lost. How could she now get to the port? And what was the fate of the crew? You have to come by yourself. Get rid of the role of an insurance officer of the British East Indies, who, with his diary and strange pocket watches, enters a ragged deck with a mysterious smile and death to expose the bleak fate of a vicious vessel
Return of the Obra Dinn takes the best of the detectives Agatha Christie or Arthur C. Doyle. His complex story, full of mysteries and mysteries, takes on a limited space that is perfectly utilized thanks to the perfectly written scenario. The boat is not accessible from the very beginning, but you can uncover individual decks, cabins and shelters gradually depending on how the story goes, or the investigation.
The individual fragments will be composed retrospectively or in some cases on the skipper. The overall picture will appear in front of you somewhat chaotic, from the latest events to the oldest. And the deeper you go, the more strange your findings will be
One of the two main game elements in Obra Dinn is the use of special pocket watches. Whenever you come across a corpse, you can press the button to see the moment of the death of the unfortunate. Although it is a three-dimensional scene, it is time to move freely around and explore who was present at the time and what he was doing at the time. This is immensely important because, after examining the “crime scene”, your diary comes in.
You’ll love and hate your notebook. It automatically records the victims and contains the entire crew list as well as several illustrations of the life on board that one of the passengers drew. And finally, we get to the main game content: your goal is to deduce the fate of individual crew members by deduction and observation
This means that you have to assign not only the name but also the position in the crew to the individual corpses and to record in detail the way of death so that your company can resolve the entire insurance event. This is all very well – Obra Dinn expects full deployment and brain drains heated to the optimum temperature. There is no help in the game, so when you are at a dead end, you are simply unlucky. Café, cigar on the balcony, long window view … it’ll go some way! You may not be able to search for the instructions, are you?
But the problem with the diary is that it is too harshly divided into individual pages (sections) that you need to browse lengthily. Is there a corpse record on page 30 and do you need to check the passenger list and crew illustration? Then you need to return to the beginning of the book with one key, then click on the chapter with the crew list, scroll to the required line (which is shown only a few), then close the list, go to the next page, check the illustration and go back to page 30.
A design decision made by retro-low-res graphics. But honestly? This is one single more significant lack of this game, which is more noticeable in later parts, when the pages are filled with mysterious miserlies
A way of telling in combination with stiff scenes and stylized graphics will deliberately send you a false track a few times. Do you see a sailor knocking over a corpse with a knife in his hand? Super, there is a record in the diary that the victim was stabbed by a sailor. But another quest will come, for example, that it’s not so easy
The uncompromising combination of deduction, observation, and use of the exclusion method make up the three main pillars of your thrilling quest – and a number of sophisticated solutions truly surprise you. In addition, there is one more figurine: only when you correctly determine the complete fate of a group of three people will give you a confirmation that you have hit those three. Until then, you are shooting in the dark. Therefore, it is not possible to apply a coercive approach here
1 bit should be enough for everyone
We mentioned the unprecedented graphic presentation in the introduction, but it would be a shame to break it off. Return of the Obra Dinn boasts “one-grain” graphics. So it uses only two contrasting colors, with shadows, color transitions, or depth of the scene being solved by so-called dithering, which reminds of games from ancient computers and consoles, but here it is all completely 3D
In addition, you can choose a color scheme that is then emulated by, for example, the old Zenith ZVM 1240 or Commodore 1084. However, the single-image graphics will not be removed with any switch. And you should not – in some stiff scenes, it lends some kind of supernatural hint, and in one or two cases it has made it difficult for us to identify the victim, surprisingly clear on a total scale
Then there’s music. The music! You can trace similar motifs like the main music theme of the previous author’s play – Papers, Please! – but here’s all that kind of swinging sailing. To a great extent, there are used string instruments, but even addictive chimes. And without admitting it, we admit that a roughly half-hour soundtrack was riding in the loop for several days in a row. It is not sophisticated or extremely emotional, but the game of rum to the sailor is like
Return of the Obra Dinn is a fascinating affair, and after this Red Dead Redemption 2, this super-sophisticated chamber monkey has been perfectly suited to us. It’s a game that puts high demands on you-but the claims about the wit and the ability to draw the appropriate conclusions from a variety of situations. We see here a light parallel with the “legal” Ace Attorney series, but Obra Dinn is more demanding and ruthless
We played basically only two issues – a confusing diary and … paradoxically our own impatience. With every other open scene, we wanted to know the complete story of Obra Dinn. We had a tendency to constantly hurry, for which we have overlooked the important detail a few times – and that it is!
Return of the Obra Dinn never wants you to blindly answer the right answer. When you’re in the end, it does not make sense to try everything for everything. The author himself has said that the game really gives you all the clues. Just do not assume that every corpse will have a name tag on the lapel, and with a business card. As a result, we had a number of scrawled papers with painted timelines and scrawled notes around the computer, something that has not happened to us for many years
Lucas Pope was able to create a unique gaming experience for the second time. Return of the Obra Dinn probably will not sleep and come out twenty-three years ago, Irenin’s desert corner will be filled with a bunch of “churns” just in this title. But as we have already mentioned, looking for a solution in the tutorial means degrading the experience of the game. The moments when you can successfully identify another three of the unfortunates are among the most striking moments we have experienced this year at the computer.