Never have I ever been so conflicted about liking a game.
Few people ever played Adam’s Venture. It was what was known as a ‘Christian adventure game.’ Not for any religious reasons, simply for the fact of the adventure revolving around the traditional Templar, Garden of Eden and various other mythical places related to Christian mythology. The game was apparently panned. I only knew of the original through the son of my mother’s overly Christian friend, who quickly removed the game from her son when she realised it wasn’t the sort of ‘Christian’ she thought it was.
Adam’s Venture: Origins is an apparent remake of this from the ground up. Some story has been recycled but the bulk of the game is brand new. Which makes it slightly more disappointing how damn awful the game is.
This is a game of almosts. The graphics are almost good. The story is almost good. The voice acting is… well that’s awful. But so much of this game sits on the fence between ‘good’ and ‘mediocre’ and just falls back into the mediocre thorn bush. Origins is a few weeks of optimisation and love away from being a damn fine adventure. Though it’s probable that those weeks won’t be given to it.
You play as the ironically named Adam Venture, son of Oxford professor Abraham Venture and possessor of the games only good voice actor. Your father’s request for you to find his new assistant and a book in the library takes you on an adventure across France and Israel on about 4 hours of puzzle solving searching for all manner of biblical treasures.
What sets Origins apart from other games of the type is that it is truly a puzzle game at heart. There is a healthy variety of puzzles within the game, changing across the game to vary in difficulty so you never feel too comfortable. This is mixed with platforming, and puzzle challenges masquerading as part of a dramatic scene requiring some quick reactions. Despite the Christian backdrop to everything a biblical knowledge is not necessary, though knowing your Roman numerals is.
I’d played the game in one sitting and found it to be quite an enjoyable experience. The location varied enough to keep the game interesting, and the game never became impossibly hard. The voice acting, while utterly cheesy, was quite charming in its own way being reminiscent of adventure movies of the same ilk. Being built on the Unreal Engine the lighting is utterly spectacular, making caves and rooftops feel alive.
However charm cannot permit the menagerie of faults across all aspects of the game. Character controls feel sluggish and respond poorly; and this caused much frustration at the sneaking or platforming sections. Puzzles go between never holding your hand and holding your hand too much. The voice acting is likely charming by accident and looking through the façade is simply poor. This game just lacks finish and polish like it was pushed out the door too quickly.
This is most evident in the graphics of the game. The game itself is not inherently ugly, far from it. Environments have plenty of thought put into them and the Unreal Engine’s lighting only makes it prettier. But little things start to stick out. Adam’s eye are those of a lifeless caffeine addict, not blinking once through the entire game. Several scenery pieces seem to have come straight out of the Unreal store, though this is kept to background scenery and requires a keen eye to identify. The biggest sin is the characters vocal motions. No characters mouth is synchronised to their speech and rather than fix this the developers just tried to hide it, placing the camera behind the speaker deliberately during cut scenes so as not to see this glaring failure.
I really wanted to like this, I was almost desperate to. I knew nothing about the game going forward and I really had good fun. But there are just too many lazy oversights which just drag this game back. Believe me, I tried to find a way to forgive these errors. But for a game priced at £29.99 you expect a level of quality that just isn’t there, and it’s entirely the developers fault.
Adam’s Venture: Origins is almost a good game. But for the pricemark the game is sadly subpar. While I enjoyed my 4 hours, there was a lot of battling through poor design choices to get there and the average consumer will not put up with that. I wish this had been something better. If you can put up with the poor choices it’s a good experience. But those willing will be few and far between, and for the rest of you, this game is a dead 4. Pick wisely.