This was one of those games I’ve spent a lot of time playing as a kid, and now that I’ve replayed it after all of these years, it’s easy to see just how much of a mess this title truly is.
I’m not really going to deduct any points based on your art style. I can tell you were going for a minimalistic look and for the most part it works; it’s very pleasing and easy on the eyes. But the absence of detail on the silhouetted characters also makes me think you decided to cut some corners. Perhaps it was too time consuming and not worth it to personalize every character that’s on screen, but you should have at least made the entirety of the main casts’ models distinguishable. You know, because they’re the ones required to interact with to actually advance the plot?
Speaking of which, the story and overall dialogue is just downright terrible; I feel like I’m trapped inside of an overly exaggerated, trashy B-movie that was written by a child in the fourth grade. I mean going around shooting people with no repercussions? Infiltrating the hotel you’re forced to work at (where hilariously the clerk doesn’t seem to recognize his own boss) with what appears to be a google-searched special forces team? What the hell dude. It’s unsaid that realism in video games doesn’t work, because it’s dull and fails to maintain the player’s attention. But you still need to have that sense of believability in order to keep people interested. I’m sorry man, but this aspect of your game is just fucked.
I would much rather have a more simplistic, and generic plot in favour of a better gameplay experience. There’s such a unnecessary grind at the beginning that consists of levelling up your stats, buying all the best items, and getting promotions at work. Now that makes sense and while its expected… it’s also not done correctly here. Building your character up is something that you slowly should be doing while progressing through the story, not rushing forty or so in-game days to obtain everything before you even talk to your first major character. It’s great that there’s not a time limit or anything like that, simply because there’s no pacing. Half the time you’ll be mashing the work button because not only is the economy of this game unbalanced, but there’s really nothing else to do on the recreational side.
Yeah, you can go to two nightclubs and get treated to some softcore porn, but that shouldn’t be the saving grace of a game that’s penultimately… boring. Clearly you tried to spruce things up during the final act of the game, but honestly it contributes little-to-nothing. It actually sticks out like a sore thumb; mashing the mouse button at these gun men who don’t even react to being shot. The first time I played this part I thought I wasn’t doing it correctly, but now it just feels like it was something thrown together to be rushed out to serve as a conclusion. If you implemented something as simple as some easy puzzle solving, it could have made this segment a lot more satisfying to sit through.
Overall, I don’t want to sound like I’m trashing your game for kicks; because I know quality when I see it, and I can tell you’ve legitimately put in the time and effort towards producing this. But for a project that had lots of potential, I think a great idea at the time would have been getting some outside assistance, if anything to at least bounce back ideas or to help out with writing the plot and dialogue. I’m not too sure if the gameplay could have been improved for a point and click game, but there definitely is a lot to be desired in terms of diversity.
There’s plenty of opportunities to give this a game a dynamic, non-linear structure which would offer a lot of replay-ability. Ideas such as the characters’ relationships with the world and you changing, being capable of being on different sides of a main conflict depending on your decisions, stuff like that. Perhaps this concept is too ambitious for a free-to-play flash game, but some kind of limited implementation would have been nice. Couple examples I could think up are what if I didn’t want to tell Lizzy off, and Kimmy didn’t like that? Instead of working with Sid, I betrayed him with Frank because he offered me something to make up for the bad blood between us?
The best part for me is the driving segment, because I got a great addition for my electronic music playlist from it. But beyond that, I can’t say that I’d recommend this game to anyone… maybe for the nostalgic value, but even that isn’t a good enough band-aid to disguise the serious issues this game has. A one star rating might be harsh, but this genre of game essentially demands for the graphics, plot/writing and interaction to be top notch… and the later two aren’t anywhere close to that.
Best of luck to you, wherever you are now!