Monday, May 05, 2014

Review: Paranormal State - Poison Spring [Collector's Edition] (Game)

If you're like me you're probably having a hard time believing that there is now a Paranormal State game. You're also probably thinking to yourself that, while it's a good idea it's probably going to be shit. Given that Paranormal State - Poison Spring has been published by Legacy Games, it's undoubtedly either going to be a hit or miss title as most of their library leans to one side of the spectrum or the other. Let's go a head and tap into our paranormal researching abilities and find some hidden objects!

Genre: Adventure, Casual, Hidden Object
Developer: Tevon
Publisher: Legacy Games
Release Date: October 30th, 2013
Play Time: 4-6 Hours
Price: $9.99 USD
Platforms: PC, iOS

Official Website



                                      










Rating: 6.0/10







If you're like me you're probably having a hard time believing that there is now a Paranormal State game. You're also probably thinking to yourself that, while it's a good idea it's probably going to be shit. Given that Paranormal State - Poison Spring has been published by Legacy Games, it's undoubtedly either going to be a hit or miss title as most of their library leans to one side of the spectrum or the other. Let's go a head and tap into our paranormal researching abilities and find some hidden objects!

Let me make something clear, most of these point and click or hidden object games that I review generally come in a bundle, whether it be Indie Gala or Humble. Paranormal State - Poison Spring is one of these games, though I'd eyed it with speculation upon its release since I admittedly watched and enjoyed the show. In this casual title the gamer is the newbie member of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS) and will adventure with the team as they investigate Poison Spring State Park, which is known for being home to one of the bloodiest Civil War battles in 1864. Recently the location has been experiencing an alarming number of weird occurrences that've prompted a local museum curator named Iris to contact your investigation team.


The mainframe of Paranormal State - Poison Spring isn't too far off from other recent hidden object games, such as Abyss - The Wraiths of Eden. You have your overly large and sometimes obstructive hint button that can be accidentally clicked during object searches or when attempting to navigate south, the open inventory at the bottom of the screen and a journal which not only gives you added descriptions of events, locations and items but also tells you where to go, what to do and how to wipe your ass along the way; needless to say, one will have an extremely hard time getting stuck at any point during their playthrough. For additional peace of mind, the game also comes equipped with a skip button that will allow the player to skip any puzzle that they may find too difficult or frustrating; depending on the difficulty level selected, Easy, Casual or Hardcore, the skip and hint buttons refill at different paces. As well, on the latter difficulty objects will not glint to give the gamer a subtle hint as to what they should be doing next, which isn't a huge problem given the hints and indications in the journal.

Along the way to discovering the ultimate truth of what exactly's going on in Poison Spring the player will encounter a good variety of puzzles and challenges. Aside from the obvious hidden object puzzles, which make up the largest portion of interactivity as there are roughly twenty to solve, there are also mazes, sliding puzzles, crafting and light problem solving. The puzzles themselves aren't overly difficult, however as stated previously anything that may potentially challenge the player too much can be skipped within a few minutes. As with most games of the genre, most of the hidden object segments will require slight critical thinking to uncover some objects, such as using a knife on a clam shell to obtain the pearl or a knife on a pocket to reveal the object inside. The soundtrack that accompanies all of this is light and forgettable, to the point that once the game is finished the gamer might not even remember that there was music throughout.


While projecting itself as a 'terrifying' experience, there's nothing truly scary about this title other than a few unexpected moments that will cause one to jump; and also Ryan Buell's extraordinarily creepy, overly Photoshopped face. The artwork here is digitally hand painted, the forty-odd backgrounds and plethora of objects are beautifully detailed and the characters are lavish and look exactly like their real life counterparts, however the most detailed characters are Ryan Buell and Lorraine Warren. The rest of the cast, especially Eilfie, aren't as defined and the entire cast has a weird shining glow to them that emits creepiness to the extreme. Both the voice acting and story writing are huge slices of cheese that, when combined with some moments during the cutscenes, make for a comedic experience rather than a scary one; such as when Ryan puts his hands to his cheeks and says "Oh no, not Iris". While on the topic of voice acting, absolutely no one from the show, nor Lorraine, do their own voices and the actors who were chosen could stand to refine their passion a lot more. In the long haul, the story itself becomes rather dry at times and before even hitting the hour mark into the game it's easy to guess what the ending is going to be.

Overall, Paranormal State- Poison Spring isn't a terrible hidden object adventure but it could definitely have been done better if the right people were involved. The story telling and voice acting are complete write-offs and often the gamer will find themselves pushing through just to get to the next hidden object puzzle. There are odd times when you get to use the 'ghost hunting' equipment such as the EMF Meter and Thermal Cam, but only a couple of times each during the longevity of the game. There's also a bonus mission unlocked upon completion of the main story, but personally I couldn't be assed to complete it. It would've also been a hell of a lot better if the cast members actually played their own rolls in the game, but that may have been too big budget for an indie release. Considering that this game was only released in the late quarter of 2013 and I just got it in an Indie Gala bundle that came with six other games for $2.00 USD, that should tell you how popular this title is. It's a tough call for the current price, as the artists did put a lot of attention to detail in the landscapes and puzzles, but the rest of the game is dreary and would see $9.99 USD as an overpriced 'pay for the brand' purchase. Oh, and did I mention this game has a huge memory leak that causes your graphics card to heat up to 65 degrees Celsius, and your processor to range anywhere between 50-60 degrees?

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