By Guy Rainey / December 4th, 2014
|Title||Majestic Nights Covert Genesis|
|Release Date||November 1, 2014|
As I sit here to write my review of Majestic Nights Covert Genesis, I’m still not sure what’s going on. Covert Genesis is the first chapter of Majestic Nights, an episodic adventure game. If you haven’t yet read my impressions piece on the prequel chapter, you should probably do so, since I will be building off of that. Suffice it to say that, while I had reservations, I was interested on seeing where the story would go. Does this justify the interest the prequel left me?
If you played the prequel, and you were somehow fond of the character of Cardholder, that’s too bad, since you begin Majestic Nights Covert Genesis with a brand new character, Cal. I mentioned that Cardholder’s backstory was really unclear, but I actually know more about Cardholder than I do about Cal (short for Callie). I know she’s a private detective, hired by Suit (yes, really) to find Cardholder, but that’s it. This puts us the position of helping someone else discover information that we already know. We don’t even learn anything new about Cardholder.
I really don’t support this change in protagonists. While Cardholder was mysterious, at least we did know he was a conspiracy theorist with a vague hope that everything he was investigating might turn out to be wrong. Cal is just after a big payday. A realistic motivation, I suppose, but it’s pretty uninspired. The one potential saving grace of this switch is wasted, since Cal doesn’t seem aware of or interested in the conspiracy web she’s entered into. Overall, I really feel like I’m missing a lot of information about the story. We already know this game is based on conspiracy theories, so I have to wonder if this might not make more sense had I researched the conspiracies the developers are bringing together. But that’s really not a good position in which to be.
The gameplay is mostly unchanged. There are straight adventure game segments which involve searching the area for clues, and there are action segments that involve sneaking and killing your way through the area. The action segments have seen the most improvement. You now have access to multiple weapons, including a knife and a samurai sword. The sword is actually really effective when you run up and smack the enemies with it.
There is one element that has been added to the action sequences that doesn’t work well: lock picking. It’s a timed minigame in which you stick your lock pick through the moving tumblers until you get through all of them. But looking at it, you can see that there are a lot of tumblers to get through. And trust me, there’s not a lot of time to get through them. And, once you fail, you can’t try again. I never once succeeded at one of these, and it frustrates me because behind these minigames hide more story details that I was trying to see.
One note I didn’t get to in the impressions was the controller support, which I hadn’t tried out previously. I primarily used the controller this time around, and it works better than the mouse and keyboard configuration… most of the time. While walking around is more intuitive, navigating menus is more difficult. I still can’t figure out how to navigate the inventory menu with the controller. The menu isn’t hard at all to navigate with the mouse, but I tried every button on the controller, and I couldn’t get any response. Plus, aiming the guns is really difficult with the controller. With the mouse, it’s point and click. Trying to aim properly with the second stick is a real pain. Fortunately, the samurai sword is so effective that you don’t have to use guns unless you want to. Should you want to use your guns, however, you can switch to mouse and keyboard controls at any time by just using them.
On the presentation front, not much has changed. The graphics are still fine, and the music is… there. There are some interesting tunes, but there are also some ear-piercing screeches this time around. The main menu music is fixed, however. There are still some bugs — consistently I was able to run through closed doors. Now, as useful as this ability is, Cal isn’t supposed to have superpowers (so far as I can tell, at least). Still, I never had any game-breaking bugs, so it is a marked improvement over my time with the prequel.
So, what ultimately did I think of Majestic Nights Covert Genesis? Well… it’s not a must-buy at the moment. The story is still a complete mystery, and I have only a little interest in where it’s going. The gameplay, while not bad, is still a few steps from being enjoyable. The game isn’t bad really. I’d still recommend playing the free chapter to check it out. But, for a game trying to build an entire season of episodes, being mediocre isn’t good enough. This is especially problematic, since there’s only a couple hours of gameplay here. Still, maybe once all the episodes are out, and I can tell what’s actually going on, it will be worth it. I just don’t know yet.
Review copy provided by developer
Covert GenesisEpiphany GamesMajestic NightsMajestic Nights Covert Genesis