Off the Record: Linden Shades Collector's Edition
Wanted to love it, but just got bored!
The game starts off with a bang, drawing you in and urging you on to find out what happened at the now abandoned farm that was once home to the children of the Linden Shades Orphanage. Was there really a red bogeyman? Is he still there?
The achievements, collectibles and extras offered on the menu page also spur you on to get involved. Anticipation starts the ball rolling, but the gameplay fails to deliver any challenge.
Good game for those who love HOGs, rather than adventure games, and might be great for beginners, or those who just want to relax and distress. A poignant story that just does not excite.
It?s an abandoned farm with a dilapidated and cluttered look appropriate to the storyline. Surprisingly colourful scenery. In spite of the past hauntings and the continuing presence of the bogeyman, the atmosphere is not spooky. The music relaxes to the point of sleepiness, and the lack of animation and cutscenes leave you without any sense of urgency.
Usual game features are included. Transporter map, task markers, diary, objectives, tape recorder to play snippets of moments with the kids (nice touch), directional hint and skip button. Hint recharges quickly, for which I was grateful as I couldn't get through the iHOS (lists) fast enough.
TOO MANY HOS!
Three modes of play labeled regular, expert and insane, with the option to change during play. Given the lack of challenge, I had to smile at the ?insane? mode designation.
Not CE worthy. Can?t even imagine it as an SE. Definitely a pass for me.
June 8, 2013
Way too short for a CE
This could have been a great game...I finished it under 3 hours (including the bonus chapter)...In my opinion, that is what I would expect to get from a regular game, After paying extra for a CE, I would hope to get a few more hours enjoyment out of it. Everything else about it was fine, maybe a little on the easy side but quite enjoyable. Just too short for the money.
June 8, 2013
Old School/New School HOG
Off the Record: Linden Shades is a lovely-to-look-at game. The graphics are done with a light hand, refined, and clear. What's new school? Tons of collectibles. And that's about it. Is that enough? No. It isn't.
This is primarily an old school game. HOS after HOS. The HOS are very clear, and frankly very easy (which I don't mind), but the wearying pace reminds me of the old days, when you grimly buckled down and did one after the other until you were relieved it was all over. It's not as bad as that, but it recalls that old style. There are some interactive components, but nothing interesting (the few that involve more "work" are almost insultingly easy).
As usual, we find our friends the clock, the oil can, the screwdriver, etc. I'm sure Mr. Crowbar is up next.
The plot is faintly ludicrous, something about a "red bogeyman" that wouldn't scare Don Knotts.
It is a beautiful looking game, and I really loved Final Cut, but I regret buying it. It's just too been-there, done-that for me.
June 8, 2013
Tweak up the mystery
While I loved this game I didn't like the story after the demo.It's like the mystery and danger element disappeared in favor of HOS. If they'd make another mystery/crime game like this I'd love to try it but they'd have to increase the drama and danger feel to get me to buy it. The bonus game isn't really important so the SE is preferable.
June 22, 2013
Off The Record, I'll Wait for the SE
Something haunted the Linden Shades Orphanage years ago, and as a reporter, you are going there to find out what happened. Live actors do the VO's and it is done very well. There are achievements to earn, but they are game related achievements, such as doing HOS without a hint, etc. There are hidden items to find although they don't tell you any of this at the start of the game. I came across hidden toys, hidden letters, and something else? I can't remember. The music was OK but some of the sounds were annoying, such as you must start a tractor, a loud tractor, and even when you're done using the tractor, it keeps running and running until you leave that area. There is a journal, a map (which I'm not sure if it's a jump map or not, you really don't need it during the demo). You also find audio cassettes recorded by the principal of the school telling about this haunting figure in red. Sooo, all that sounds well and good... good graphics, good VOS, storyline good. Then comes the game. It is way too easy. And, yes I realize this is a HOG, but there are way too many HOS. At least for my liking. All the inventory items you find, you use almost immediately. Oh, a screwdriver, and, gasp! here is a screw... voila!!! The puzzles are simplistic. I don't know. I really like the story so far, but the game is almost childish in ease. I think I'll be looking at it again when the SE comes out. For now, I will pass.
June 8, 2013
Too easy Too predictable
I liked this one. would have given it 3.5 stars if I had been able to. For me this was not a five star game. Music was one track throughout and did not change with the locations. The mini games were dead easy.. so easy in fact that I didn't look forward to finding one like I usually do. And I love achievements and collectibles. I won't pay full price for a CE without them but considering that this was a story of about an orphanage, toys might not have been the most well thought out collectible, as it was at times difficult to separate the collectable ones from all the others. The storyline here was predictable and I felt the whole game had been dumbed down so as to appeal to a wider audience. There were many plusses mind you. The use of some real actors, the art work, the fact that the game moved along quickly as things you needed were often only a move or two away and the inclusion of achievements and collectibles always keeps the game interesting. I began playing in advanced but the game still had those little glints that show you where everything is so I had to change it to "insane" in order to not have that kind of help. Even so this one was very easy. I would play the next one by this developer but would ask that they add some kind of challenge or run the risk of just becoming another cookie cutter, easy HOPA that no one remembers. Very simplistic but somewhat enjoyable, rather run of the mill HOPA game IMO. If you are looking for a light, easy game to kill a Sunday afternoon that won't tax your brain and is a little old school then this one is for you.
June 17, 2013
I wanted to like this game
I liked the intro to the game, and then the game went dull quickly. Pros: Good potential story. The audio tapes. Cons: Too many HOS for my taste. The tutorial doesn't mention there are collectibles nor what they might be. Graphics are poor, especially compared to Blue Tea or Elephant Games. Strategy Guide is accessible by clicking into the diary. Inventory objects are difficult to see.
I really wanted to like this game but I abandoned it before the free demo was up.
June 8, 2013
Ok hidden object game
Even in hard mode the game gave clues which spoiled the overall experience because the premise is really quite good.
June 8, 2013
Basic hidden object
Good for beginners or younger players, simple puzzles.
June 9, 2013
The introduction was so amazing and well rendered that I figured the game would follow, I was so excited at the prospect of buying it for sure after such a great start, but then i played the trial, the graphics went downhill quickly, then there were so many hidden objects scenes which I am so tired of, the game became boring quickly and I did not even finish the hour trial! I wanted to know the end of the story but not badly enough to waste further time. I am always put out when the introduction starts with flourish and the game fizzes out after that, I always feel like someone is trying to impress me to suck me in something that will afterwards be mediocre. The introduction was promising, the game just disappointing afterwards and I had to quit. Too many other great games to linger here!
February 21, 2014