I’m a chump for a game with a good concept. I purposefully seek out games where the designers have clearly taken a risk and tried something bold. Indigo Prophecy is one such game.
The premise: Lucas Kane wakes up in the bathroom of a restaurant. He has a knife in his hands, blood all over him, a corpse at his feet, and no memories of the last few hours. Furthermore, it is revealed that there is a police officer having a coffee, sitting near the entrance of the restaurant. From here, the choice of what to do is yours. Will you conceal the body in a stall? Wash your blood covered hands? Hide the knife? Clear out as fast as possible?
Once Lucas has left the scene of the crime, you are given control of the two officers in charge of the murder investigation. The evidence found and the witness testimonies heard are all completely dependent on your choices earlier in the game. Furthermore, how you choose to handle the investigation will in turn affect what happens to Lucas.
Indigo Prophecy is just barely a game in the traditional sense. It consists mostly of exploration and interaction with generous interactive movie portions. Every action is done with the context-sensitive right control stick, which is a really cool and intuitive interface. Talking to people is done with the same interface, usually with a time-limited choice of four questions. The movie segments are essentially rhythm games loosely corresponding the actions on screen.
The plot, which borrows heavily from films like The Matrix and Dark City, is by far the best part of the game. It begins as a film noir murder mystery, and slowly introduces supernatural elements. It’s the video game equivalent of a page turner, with twists and turns and mysteries throughout. There are even frightening parts, which do a great job of using mood and music to create tension.
Unfortunately, the game falls apart towards the end. Apparently the plan to make the game episodic was changed late in production. As such, the game takes a 2 week time jump towards the end. Plot holes and a deus ex machina ending quickly follow. While the game manages to keep some semblance of coherence, there are simply too many new things introduced in rapid succession towards the end. This contrasts sharply with the game’s otherwise slow pace.
All in all though the experience of this game was excellent, and I highly recommend it to anyone tired of GTA clones and looking for something fresh. For the especially curious, here’s a video showing the first scene of the game and one particular way of handling it: