grumbel's A New Beginning (PC) review

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  • grumbel has written a total of 86 reviews. The last one was for The Swapper

Preachy, naive, brutal and hearthbreaking

A New Beginning is a time travel science-fiction 2D point&click adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment released in 2010. In the game the player takes control of the retired eco scientist Bent, who was trying to develop a clean energy source and the timetraveler Fay, who is going back in time trying to prevent the climate change from happening, which was destroying her world. Unlike previous titles from Daedalic, A New Beginning follows a realistic tone and doesn't do much humor.

On the technical side A New Beginning follows into the foodsteps of previous Daedalic games, The Whispered World and Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, namely it's rought and unpolished, even after installing the patch. The games only supports a fixed 4:3 resolution and the loading times all take to long, not the "coffee-break" kind of long, but the "your character will freeze for a second while your computer is loading it's animation" kind, scenario changes and saving a game will just take a second longer then you would expect from a game from 2010. I also ran into two gamebreaking glitches where I accidently triggered a verb while the game was trying to play a non-interactive sequence, those required to reload an earlier savegame. That said, none of these issues is that big of a problem, the game breaking bugs are easy to avoid and the other stuff is just a sign for lack of polish, it doesn't really hinder enjoying the game.

On the artistic side the game is quite beautiful. It comes with a fantastic melancholic sound track and the graphics come in a distinct comic book look. Cutscenes happen in the form of motion-comic-like animation put into comic panels, which works out quite well. Character animation is overall also quite solid, albey not perfectly, as here and there a few more frames could have helped.

The user interface of the game uses a pie-menu, this time not populated with mouth, eye and hand, but with custom actions for the given object. The inventory pops on a right click and works as usal for 2D point&click games. So nothing outstanding, but it works very well.

The story of the game is a wild an uneven mix. Some parts feel like a great science fiction adventure, quite like The Dig, other parts feels like an overly preachy leftist propaganda piece that gets all its science wrong, others are gut-wrenching brutal and some just feel like random adventure tropes as you might have seen in a game like Runaway without much emotional impact. Once at the end of the game some parts that seemed annoying at first, will make a good bit more sense, while a few others will leave a bit of a bad aftertaste. Some of the side characters especially feel very underdeveloped, as you learn very little about them. On the main characters the game however goes into great detail, sometimes even overreaching a bit.

The puzzle design is for most part very solid, not overly complicated, but not all to easy either. In the mid of the game there was a part that required a bit to much walking around in circles with no clear task at hand, but onces past that I didn't have any big issues.

Overall I enjoyed A New Beginning a lot. Both the technical and plot quirks are easy to forgive, given the otherwise great athmosphere and interesting setting. I would have wished for it to be a little longer and go into a little more detail on some aspects, but what is there is still great.

The game was played in German and takes around 11h to complete.

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