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Evangeline Review – Could be so much better

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Dear diary,

WHAT THE F*CK IS THIS?!?!!?!?

If I had to summarize my experience with Evangeline, it would be exactly like this … what the f*ck. Now, I understand what the developers were trying to do … well for the most part and I am not always a heartless b*tch, usually appreciating these things in games, but if I may say, the execution, in my opinion was quite poor.

Okay hold on, hold on, hold on. Can I first ask why the hell is this game so heavy? Like I understand that Henry might need a reinstall, you know just to clear him of all the crap over the years … and I understand that he might also need some internal cleaning … but come on, I’ve run heavier games, which run smoother. Also is there a point to all these graphical settings, when I saw no improvement in FPS on medium, when I dropped from very high. I think that Evangeline could definitely be optimized better. Some of it might be Henry’s fault, but definitely not all.

Anyways, allow me now to explain to you why I felt this game so shockingly confusing. So behold my experience with Evangeline.

Apparently Evangeline is a game heavily driven by color and I liked this idea. I also liked the fact that the developers were considerate enough to put versions for different colorblind people and although I myself am not one, I was glad to see it implemented. So the game consists of a few days, where you have to perform a certain action in order to be able to progress to the next day. So every day you spawn in this garage and I was heavily questioning why am I spawning there, can I not spawn in front of my house door or something.

So when I entered the game it was all colorful and pretty and then it turn greyscale. So after wandering around the first day I saw this colorful vase on one of the houses’ balconies and it was the only colorful thing there and it dawned on me what the devs meant by saying that color guides you. So basically the whole game is greyscale and it turns colorful when you are doing what you’re supposed to for the current day. That is a great concept … but alas there is not much to do. This in my opinion is holding Evangeline back from its potential.

The entire game is really short, I could have probably completed it for less than 20 minutes if it wasn’t for me restarting the game a few times to adjust the graphics and deciding to extract the archive not play from it (which I should probably have done in the beginning but you know how stupid people are). Then again I also got stuck on one of the days where I had to look at a letter then I couldn’t figure out how to read it and I went to the vase but it didn’t progress me and so I ran around like an idiot for 30 minutes trying to figure out how to open the letter and when accidentally walked back into the garage it spawned me from, then it progressed to the next day. Okay do I even have to explain what the problem is here? it’s not me being an idiot and running around with a letter in my hand for 30 minutes, more like I wonder how much longer would I have been wandering around, if I had not accidentally gone back to the garage. It’s very unclear what you have to do, more so that you have to wander around to figure it out. Most of the days’ titles are self-explanatory, but the one with the letter was terrible. At least the parcel next day was on the same principle.

So the things that you do in the game are very few, like it’s usually walk to a certain point or get something and move it somewhere … but it’s … okay I’m usually all over minimalistic games, but this I think is not minimalistic, it’s quite frankly lacking. I mean there is nothing – no people, no change in scenery, no nothing. It’s the same thing every single day. Even that f*cking moving truck with the sofa positioned in such a way to serve as an “invisible wall” … just why. I am disappointed.  I was expecting a touching journey and I got nothing of that sort. Now you might think I am being harsh, but I’m not here to coddle the developers and I am being realistic.

Okay, example of a minimalistic game – Shadow of the Colossus (and it’s an old game at that). What you do there? Basically you spawn at the temple, go to the colossus, defeat it … rinse and repeat 16 times and an ending. But do you know what the difference is? Character development, scenery, boss battle mechanics. The scenery is nothing special, it’s the typical landscapes – desert, plains, lakes, ruined cities. But it doesn’t have to be that fantastic to be beautiful … and there was variety. I’m not even gonna talk about the boss mechanics and how different each of the i6 colossi look and feel. Thatgamecompany’s titles … all of them. Minimalistic, but they make sense. The game doesn’t have to be long to be awesome. Another example – Sceal, a game long 30 minutes, but has so much more content than Evangeline. In Evangeline we have no change in scenery whatsoever, beside the last day, where you actually go into a house. We see no character development. Hell I was even confused as to who the f*ck I am. The game told me in the beginning that I am apparently Evangeline searching for my husband Gabriel. And then nothing relatable. I am just this unknown persona wandering around the neighborhood, doing sh*t. And you know what, I would have liked to see what’s in the letter or in the parcel, because right now I am doing nothing. The whole thing is: spawn – go to vase – day 2: spawn – take out trash cans – go to vase – day 3: spawn – get letter – go to vase – go back to garage – day 4: spawn, repeat everything from day 3 with a parcel this time – day 5 – this is where it starts to make sense … on the last day, where you get to the house. By the way when you’re entering the house, it says home. So that makes me question even more. Who the f*ck am I? What the f*ck am I doing spawning in someone else’s garage. So this is why every day when I was picking up the can and the bug spray they were there the next day. And then on day 5 you go in a house and read a touching letter and that’s it. Quite frankly it’s lacking. And I mean lacking a lot. The way I felt was just wondering around then go into the house and I read the letter and I was like “oh, ok, but that doesn’t explain sh*t”.

I am going to end this angry rant prematurely, because trust me I can go on. But I won’t and will end it with a suggestion. I understand what the developers were TRYING to do, but I’m sorry to say this, alas the way Evangeline is right now, it didn’t evoke the feelings it had to in me. I feel like if the 4 days of the game pre-entering the house were cut out, I wouldn’t lose any of the experience I had with it. Now maybe I am stupid and I missed something, but I have a knack to understanding emotional minimalistic games and trust me when I say this one feels incomplete at best. Suggestion time: it would have been so much better to add even a little bit of narrative just to let the player know who the f*ck they are playing with. Make the world alive. Right now, it’s like a post-apocalyptic environment, except the fact that the environment is not destroyed. There is not a living soul in the game – no one … nada … nothing. The world is completely empty. If you wanna feel the story of you character there has to be a story first and there isn’t. Quite frankly that letter at the end does nothing if it’s not relatable. It would have had probably 100 000% more impact if you saw the family in the house, you saw how the husband is putting up the vase with the flowers, you saw how he writes the letter. And if there is more content to explore. But there is nothing to do.

For me, Evangeline is a game with a lot of potential, but sadly it doesn’t tap into it. It’s just being wasted and it feels incomplete. I’m sorry but the way it is now, sadly I cannot recommend the game. And even more so I can’t really give it a good verdict. Most of what I can do is 3/10, if some things change I bet Evangeline can score up to 7’s and 8’s even. But as it is now, that’s all I’m giving it.

Rating:
3/10
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I am Fresh out of university and looking for a way to break into the game industry, improve my writing and get experience for my portfolio. Currently I am also writing for a Bulgarian media website, much like this one, but would really love to get experience in English too.

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