recspec's Red Johnson's Chronicles (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

Professor Layton's dirty, grimy counterpart

While there are many types of games in the PlayStation Store, the point-and-click adventure genre is barely represented. Red Johnson's Chronicles, released by French developer Lexis Numérique , is an adventure game that takes place in the grimy Metropolis City. You play as Red Johnson, a private investigator in a town where the police is incompetent.

Red Johnson's Chronicles revolves around the murder of Eddy Lexter. Once you start your investigation, you find out that Eddy was hated by a lot of people for generally being a scumbag. Each of the suspects has a reason to kill him, and the game does a very good job of leaving you guessing until the very end. Although this was billed as "Episode 1" prior to the games release. This is a standalone game, and all loose ends will be tied up by the time you file your indictment. The ending does a good job of setting up a potential sequel.  The characters and the voice acting aren't amazing, but they don't detract from the experience too much.

If the cutscene is in black and white, you might want to be ready.

The main game is a point and click adventure. You will investigate areas looking for clues and talk to witnesses to find out information. Once you have your clues, you will take them back to your headquarters to analyze them. The interrogations with the various witnesses/suspects are more like mini-games than an actual conversation. You have to select the right answers or you will fail and have to start the whole conversation all over again. As long as you pay attention, you shouldn't have to redo any conversations more than twice, and they are quite short, but it's a pain when you have to start over.  There are also a few quick time events scattered throughout the game. There's nothing special about them, but they are easy to recognize because they will be in monochrome, so they won't catch you off guard.

A great thing about this game is the objectives in your menu. Any lead you can follow will be here, and if you get stuck, you can pay to see what you need to do. It is very hard to be stuck in this game as far as the investigation is concerned. The money is received from solving puzzles and completing the questioning segments, and you will always have more than you need.

There are various puzzles in Red Johnson's Chronicles, and they are the best part of the game. Each puzzle is an object, and you can rotate the camera to inspect what you need to do to solve this. While there are some basic puzzle styles like a slide puzzle, they are usually combined with other puzzles. All of the puzzles are diverse, which is a nice change compared to other games with puzzles like these. 

The puzzles are varied, you'll never do the same thing twice.

Some of the animations are painfully slow. Since a lot of these puzzles require trial and error, watching the same animation over and over is frustrating. One puzzle requires you to play CDs in a stereo, and watching you open the CD case and put the CD in ten times is ridiculous. This is the only downside, otherwise, the puzzles are great.

There is a hint system if you get stuck on a puzzle, but the hints aren't great. Because of the grand scope of the puzzles, some of the hints are focused on very simple points of the puzzle. "Turn the camera on" is one of these very obvious hints. The hints are either too vague, or too specific, there is no real balance to them.

Red Johnson's Chronicles is $12.99 in the PlayStation Store. The game is about six to eight hours long, depending on how well you do at solving puzzles and how often you use the hints. There is nothing about this game that specifically stands out as being great, but as a whole, there is a lot to like here. If you have a PS3 and are a fan of point and click adventures, or even fans of games like Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton, it's a game worth picking up. 

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