I realize there are likely to be some phenomenal games this year, Bioshock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V, and The Elder Scrolls Online among the possibilities. But I think this will also be the year that we find out just how well Kickstarter works. Most of the games the community supported during the Kickstarter boom are due out this year, and we’ll be able to see just how well our money was used.
Project Fedora is one of those Kickstarter success stories, and without question, it is my most anticipated game of the year. Even with so many great triple-A titles to look forward to this year, Project Fedora, an indie game by makers of (rather enjoyable, but not really my bag) hidden object games, a game that doesn’t even have a real name yet, still manages to top the list. And I thought it would behoove me to explain why.
I admit it, I’m a complete Tex Murphy fanboy. It’s not like I’ve been hiding it, for God’s sake, I just finished posting a three-part video review series to Leviathyn extolling my love for the previous Tex Murphy games in which I crafted a storyline, created special effects, and hired a professional stuntman from California to help me out. Granted, the stuntman was an old friend from college, but still, this was above and beyond the level of effort I’d put into previous videos.
And the reason behind that effort was simple: The Pandora Directive is still, to this day, my favorite PC game of all time. In its day, it was an unparalleled first-person adventure, or FPA, if you will. Hunting for clues in a first-person perspective made me feel like an actual detective, as opposed to other side-scrolling adventure games where I felt more remote from the actions being performed.
The conversation system pretty much ensured that every time you played the game you would see something new you hadn’t seen before. The story was brilliant and cleverly written. The performances by the live actors were mostly incredible, especially that of Kevin McCarthy. The puzzles were mind-bending and occasionally fiendish, but the ingenious hint system was there if you needed it. The game does have its faults, and I’ve admitted so in the video for it, but they don’t detract from the experience. Its predecessor, Under a Killing Moon, and its successor, Tex Murphy: Overseer, were both good games as well, but they just can’t match up to the magnificence that The Pandora Directive was.
I could go on and on about it, and have done so in the past, and probably will in the future. I literally have a hard time stopping myself from gushing about this game. And I still find time to play the game all the way through at least twice a year. I just love it that much.
So yeah, getting to see a comeback for a series that produced one of my favorite games of all time – I’m pretty stoked. But it’s not the ONLY reason I’m excited.
2. MENTAL CHALLENGES
I’ve loved puzzles ever since I was little, and if Project Fedora is anything like its predecessors, I can expect some extreme brain-busters, and thank heavens. If there’s anything I want more of in my games, it’s puzzles.
The Resident Evil series has seriously let me down in this regard recently. If anything, survival horror was the closest thing to classic adventure games we had during the late 90′s and 2000′s. Pre-Resident Evil 5, the games did have some action, but there were a lot of mental challenges involved. But since Resident Evil 5, they’ve ditched critical thinking in favor of instincts and reflexes, which isn’t a terrible thing, but there are MORE than enough games that test those.
It’s a different feeling. The natural high you get from succeeding by using your mind is different from the high you get from putting a bullet in an enemy’s head. Outsmarting an enemy is just as satisfying as outshooting them.
And gamers love both highs – Portal’s success is proof of this. And we’re getting slightly more mental challenges out of our games, but Project Fedora is likely to be built almost entirely out of those challenges, and that’s something I’m looking forward to.