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Game Review: The Descendant – Episode 1: Aftermath (PC)

Game Review: The Descendant – Episode 1: Aftermath (PC)
Game Name: The Descendant
Platforms: PC
Publisher(s): Gaming Corps AB
Developer(s): Gaming Corps AB
Genre(s): Adventure, Casual
Release Date: March 24, 2016
ESRB Rating: M - Mature for Graphic Language

The world is gone; destroyed by the great resource war.  What is left of humanity was hidden away in special bunkers called Arks.  After a few centuries, when the world was hospitable, the arks opened and the remains of humanity began to work on restoring what was left into an existence. That is, all but Ark 01.40ba9a4616f09862da4f4858c80c3a08

Story-driven games can be, and are often a fun escape from most games that we all play.  I’ve played a few of these point-and-click story driven games before and enjoyed them, so when I heard about ‘The Descendant’ I was really looking forward to trying it out.  The main part of these games is the story, and how involved it can get you into the game.   So why don’t we take a look?

The Descendant starts off with a simple premise.  Humanity destroyed the Earth with a nuclear war.  A small remaining group of humans stored themselves away in underground bunkers called Arks, to wait in cryogenic sleep until the world could be inhabited again.  These bunkers had 2 groups of people in order to function, the main group of people in cryogenic stasis, and the Janitors – caretakers for the ark and its sleeping inhabitants.  The Janitors jobs were to maintain the ark and keep all the systems running until everyone could be woken up and they could exit the ark.header_the_descendant

The Descendant story is split, having you play 2 different people, and it jumps back and forth between the 2 stories.  You start off playing Mia, a janitor for Ark 01, right before the war wipes out the earth.  You also play Donnie, an ex-janitor for one of the other arks, sent with a 3rd generation senator to investigate why Ark 01 hasn’t opened.  Now normally these time-jumping stories where you are in 1 timeline, then another can be confusing, but The Descendant keeps the jumps to certain parts of the story so you don’t get too far in 1 timeline before you switch back to the other.  It is very easy to follow and really does well in building any tension and backstory between the 2 timelines.

91935bcafaeef38f99c204ae5b1516cf-650-80Gameplay for The Descendant is pretty straight forward.  Movement is done by clicking the mouse where you want to go, and some objects that can be interacted with will pulse or glow slightly to let you know you are able to interact with them.  Sometimes you can only interact with an object once you have progressed to a certain point, so it pays to explore a little when you can.  Also, at certain times a key-press is needed to activate or operate something in the game.  Generally this key was ‘E’ so far for me, other than that, there were no other controls.  There were also a small amount of timed choices to make by clicking on the appropriate button.

Graphically the game looks good.  Playing on the native resolution of my screen, and on ultra-high quality the backgrounds and textures of the game looked decently good.  The characters were cell-shaded, but didn’t quite fit into the backgrounds as well as I would have liked.  At first it detracted from the game, but once I started to get into the story I didn’t notice as much anymore.  Lighting was very superbly done, adding a lot of ambiance to the locations, making them feel quite real.  Everything worked quite well, and looked very good.

Music and sound was also very excellent, but I did find the music overpowering dialog at some periods, and I would recommend turning down the volume on the music just ever so slightly to compensate for this.  The voice acting was very good, with the entire dialog being very clear and concise.

Although this first episode was short, it was enjoyable.  The ending of the episode definitely teases at the continuing story, and I do hope I get the chance to play The Descendant further so I can find out what happens in the next episode.

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