A New Beginning is a point and click adventure game developed by Daedalic Entertainment and published by Lace Mamba Global. It is set as an Eco thriller where an Earth ravaged by global warming has but a few hundred survivors who live underground unable to dwell on the surface. These survivors go back in time in order to try and send word of the catastrophes that will happen and that they must work on an eco-friendly alternative energy source. You play as both Bent Svensson and Fay throughout the game in alternate chapters.
The story begins with two men rising above a dense fog in flight harnesses with wings and a spherical helmet; they perform some tests before something sinister is revealed. It moves to a briefing room filled with people; they are being briefed on the knowledge of a large solar flare that will wipe them and the planet out if they don’t act soon. The only option left is to resort to the Phoenix Plan; a plan to go back in time to manipulate the future.
The scene changes to Bent Svensson who is a retiree from a job as a research scientist looking into an alternative energy source. He is trying to fix a fogger machine; you then take over and help to fix the fogger. During the repair a helicopter lands outside and a woman comes into your house. She asks for your help but you decline until you have finished repairing the fogger. After finishing repairs you go back into the house to get help for this woman. When inside she tells you that her name is Fay and that she comes from a future where global warming has devastated the earth and that she needs him to finish his research on his eco-fuel. She then begins to tell the tale of how she got here.
The game is presented in a graphic novel art style, with animated comic book cutscenes which are frequent and by no means a bad thing. The art is fantasticwith each backdrop being both beautiful and diverse; each is vibrant and full of colour despite having environments set in a ruined city, or corporate buildings. The comic book cutscenes are easily the best part of the game as it makes the story flow so smoothly and is much more engaging as the story travels from panel to panel brimming with high quality animations and a sharp and well written plot. The character animations outside of the cutscenes are a little lacklustre by comparison but are fairly good. A small problem is that up close the characters look amazing but the smaller they get they tend to become more jagged around the edges. One complaint would be that this game only runs in 4:3 aspect ratio leaving everyone who has widescreen with black bars to the side which is a little disappointing but doesn’t really affect the game and becomes unnoticeable fast once you get into the game.
The puzzles are usually quite straightforward with some being more difficult than others and taking much more time to figure out. There are also “minigames” which are larger puzzles which can be skipped if they prove to be too difficult. The first minigames is easily the most frustrating as 6 cubes need to be distributed with 3 each side with each cube being on the correct side. Though it sounds easy there is no pattern or anything to do, it’s just pot-luck and the game even mentions this on two occasions. There is also a brief tutorial on the controls at the start to help you learn the context sensitive menu that is used for interacting with objects.
The audio is a mixed bag; the soundtrack is pretty good which is why there is a copy includedin the boxed game but the voice acting has a range of good to very poor. The two main characters are quite emotionless in the way they speak but Fay has such flat voice acting it is actually impacts your enjoyment of the story. Bent has some tone to his voice which makes him passable but there are secondary characters who all are much more competent at bringing emotion into their voices. There are one or two small characters that are worse than Bent but Fay really is a problem that sticks out. Other languages to my knowledge do not have the problem as I have briefly listened to the voice acting in the German version where I could hear some emotion in Fay which was good to know. Another problem which is more to do with the localization than the voice acting itself is that with the varying sentence structure and length of spoken words in English and German languages. This causes some of the comic book cutscenes to be the unfortunate casualties of sentences being jammed together to fit in the timeframe for a panel. This means there will be either an unnaturally short gaps between sentences with the end of one sentence almost overlapping with the start of the new sentence and some panels will have characters moths moving well after they’ve finished speaking.
The story is one of the best I have come across in an adventure game ever but it has a little bit of a slow start. Once the story has broken into the second half the story really takes off and is quite thrilling. Unfortunately the story does have the hitch of the voice acting which really does give some of the scenes less impact than the game deserves.
The art style is brilliant and the cutscenes are tremendously good; the story flows so well as it travels from one panel to the next and the animations in each are superb. The only problems are the smaller models looking worse and the aspect ratio being 4:3 but both are very minor faults.
While the sound effects and music are good the voice acting leaves much to be desired. The main characters are two of the worst while most of the secondary characters seem to be much more competent at portraying emotion. The biggest problem is that Fay being a main character has such a flat voice it actually diminishes the effect of the story being told.
The puzzles are all pretty reasonable with some being less obvious than others but the pace is good and any of the “minigames” can be skipped if they become too difficult or a hindrance to your progression through the story.
The game starts a little slowly but is an exceptional piece of thriller writing once it finds its pace. The game is eye candy all the way through with the cutscenes really blowing the rest out of the water. The only major fault is the flat voice acting from the main characters cause the story’s impact to drop a little and that it is really awkward to listen to Fay especially for the entire game. Either way it is a very competent title with a brilliant story and amazing artwork. If you like thrillers or Sci-fi then this is a pretty good place to look and if you speak any other languages fluently then you will probably prefer the main characters voice acting then this will be unmissable for any Point and click adventure fan.
I admit I found the game to be very slow starting with the voices after the first cutscenes really making it feel very dull but as I progressed it really picked up and from about halfway through until just about the last bit it was storming ahead before ramping up for the last bit then cooling off nicely just before the credits. I did find that voices tend to impact the story a lot at the beginning but as I got deeper into the story it didn’t matter as much; though the occasional bit of dialogue from Fay did bring me out of the story a little at times. I found that the game lasts about twice as long as a lot of adventure games that have been released in the last few years and is definitely longer than most classics as well.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.