First Impressions - Tex Murphy - Tesla Effect

When the new Tex Murphy game was announced, I, like many others, was a little bit excited. I generally prefer regular adventure games to FMV heavy games, but I enjoyed playing Under a Killing Moon and The Pandora Directive last year. There’s an enjoyable blend of first person exploration, object puzzles and dialogue options.

The new one promised more of the familiar formula, delivered with high definition video, detailed interactive environments and surround sound voice acting.

I missed the Kickstarter, so ended up picking it up on Gog.com when it was released. And there it sat, whilst I played other games… Why? Well, it’s a 14Gb game, and at any given time there’s usually only a 10Gb on my poor ultrabook. 14Gb is an absolute luxury. However, I had a bit of spare time and a bit of spare space so took it for a test drive last night.

You’re treated to an opening cinematic that’s not even a subtle homage (and I use the word kindly here) to Blade Runner. The original games already had that slightly dystopian, metropolitan feel to them, and they go to town with it here. As you’re watching, you can count the megabytes go by, and that 14Gb makes sense.

Your game starts with Tex, in his office, having lost seven years off his life. His last memories as the closing events of the last game, and apparently in those seven years he turned in to one mean sumofabotch. A conveninent knock on the head, and he not only loses those seven years, but reverts back to his previous self. And there’s a mystery, and a dead body, and … he’s confused. Well, nothing changes there.

Environement exploration has indeed been updated. You still navigate using keyboard and mouse, and there’s a console friendly interaction system. Chandler Avenue hasn’t changed, and that’s fine by me. You’re given a digital PA, whose interjections and hints bear more than a passing ressemblence to Wheatley. 3D graphics are good enough to make the environment enjoyable, but are definately of the previous generation. Overall, it’s pleasant.

Dialogue with other characters is familiar Q&A - a list of questions is presented and responses are given by the character. THere’s humour there, and the acting is good enough, but does retain some of the stiffness that’s usually associated with FMV games. There’s ambition with the mutant make-up, but it feels good enough for stage rather than good enough for screen.

I’m in to day 2, and only encountered a few puzzles. And those puzzles haven’t been a challenge, but it’s early days yet.

I do have one complaint. There’s a whole range of interactions that play scenes from the previous games for the “nostalgia” quality. I wouldn’t have minded sone of these in the first few opening areas, but they start to feel like filler after the first few. They don’t advance the plot, they’re just fan service, and they take you out of the current game. I’m hoping that by day three, new ones stop cropping up. Focus on this game please.