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Some quick questions. Please answer when you have finished the game
Jeanne-Kamikaze Offline
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RE: Some quick questions. Please answer when you have finished the game

Quote:1) What puzzles did you like the best? Why did you like them?

The one where you had to set the gasoline can on fire to raise the fire alarm and get the door open; I liked that one because it was a non-standard way of passing to the next room.

The one about the medical band and low heart rate. Same reason as the one above.

The one where you had to walk below the lights for the dogs not to attack you was pretty cool too. It was very original and the whole idea of light-shunning dogs was relieving.

The computer puzzle was pretty good too.

The final hive tests. Those were awesome. They made me think out of the box and each of them took me a few tries to complete.

Quote:2) What puzzles were the hardest to solve? Why were they so hard and what kind of solutions did you try before finding the correct one?

Yeah looking for the entrance to the Examination Room was hard. I actually went in there ahead of time and had no problem finding it at first, but looking for it when being persecuted by an infected, with a blurry vision and the creepy music was just very time consuming; I spent like eight minutes running around, turning around corners hiding in the darkness then recharging the flashlight and off again into a sprint.

I loved that part of the game though. The whole blurry vision + hearing yourself walking + the music and the infected running after you felt just like in the movies. It was really sweet, so I didn't mind taking so long to find that door. More comments on question 4.

I didn't like the steam-emitting squared cells on the floor one. Not that it was hard, but it was rather unrealistic. Too game-ish.

Apart from that, all the other puzzles were fine. I found the one where you had to use the debris to blow up the steam pipe in the Chemical room entrance a bit hard, not because it was hard in itself, but because I wasn't really used to using debris as a tool; I was used to the hammer and iron pike in Penumbra - Overture, so it took me a while to think about it.

Quote:3) How did you find the pacing in the game? Were there any particularly slow moments or some moments where too many things happened?

I think the pacing in the game is extremely well designed. Slow paced for the general part, and then fast paced when you're being attacked or persecuted. The music has been very carefully thought off to fulfill that idea.

There were both slow moments and ones where too many things happened, but I don't think that's negative at all. It's part of the game dynamics. You don't really want a constant pace in a horror game. You want slow, "What's the light over there?" moments, and rapid, "Lets get the hell out of here!" ones.

Quote:4) How did you like the variation of events and gameplay elements? Could there have been more diversity or should there be more focus on the gameplay?

I think I can't make more emphasis on the being chased after part of the game. It was just like in the movies. For example, say I wanted to go to the Chemical Room. Well, eventually I'd find an infected, he'd come after me, and I'd run around like hell and go into the very first door I encounter. Same thing happened with the dobermans in Penumbra - Overture. This whole setting improves the game dynamics and the gameplay entirely.

It's not like other games where it's room1, room2, room3; if you find room3 before going to room2, then you have to go back because room3 is locked. Not in Penumbra. Usually you can go to one room or another as you will; there isn't a predefined order. Eventually you'll find yourself missing a tool which you must get in another room, and then you'll have to find that other room where that particular tool is.

This "free will" idea is a very important aspect of the game. The dogs and infected chasing you around added to it, since I ran away and threw myself into the very first door I found.

The gameplay is fine. I think you should focus on modeling more enemy characters; only dobermans, spiders, worms, and infected guys so far. Perhaps you want more diversity of infected type of characters.

Quote:5) How did you like the characters in the game? Was their voices fitting? Was the voice acting good? What character did you like best / worst?

The voices suited the characters pretty well in general. I didn't like Philip's though. Perhaps I'm mistaken and it was not Philip talking, but when Amabel spoke on the video chat, there was this voice making comments on what she was saying, and it was not Clearance's. I think it was rather slow. It sounded like he was not a native English speaker, and he was trying to make sense out of what he was saying. The tone was fine, it's just the speed that was rather slow.

Amabel's voice was rather calm. Not that we want her to scream, but perhaps we want a more whispering and quivering voice, as if she were both afraid of what was outside her room and trying not to be spotted.

Quote:6) How did you like the ending?

What I liked about the ending in Penumbra - Black Plague is that the message you get in the beginning of the story is the message you write at the end. I like this story scheme in general.

I think the endings look like they were put pretty roughly and in a hurry, though, especially Penumbra - Overture's. On their own, the endings themselves are a bit lame (no offense), but since this is a series, the next game completes the previous one, so you don't really need a strong ending.

What I mean is, the ending of Penumbra - Overture would have totally sucked if there wasn't a Penumbra - Black Plague. Black Plague's ending is a bit more satisfying, but I think it would have been pretty weak if it would have been the last in the series.

Other comments:

I think the flashlight batteries should last longer, and that there should be a smaller amount of batteries in the game. I ended up with 18 batteries in my inventory, and I had to keep replacing them too often. Perhaps you want half the amount of batteries, but that last twice as longer. It was both a bit tedious to replace the batteries so often and unrealistic, in my opinion.
07-03-2008, 01:54 PM

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