E3 2014: Silence: The Whispered World II Impressions
The sequel to the classic Daedalic adventure.
06.25.14 - 2:54 PM
A solid chunk of time has passed since the original The Whispered World released back in 2010 (on this side of the pond). That game starred Sadwick, a rather melancholic clown whose adventures in the titular whispered world, Silentia, turned out to be a representation of a sick young boy laying comatose in the hospital. His final actions led to the seeming destruction of that world, in exchange for the life of the young boy.
Years later, Silence picks up a new thread of that story. Much like Daedalic's own The Dark Eye: Memoria, in this new adventure players find themselves in control of two characters with different personalities and ability sets. The young boy, called Noah, is now 16 years old, and makes up half of the duo, along with his 6-year-old sister Renie, whose journey back to Silentia sets off the new quest. Though this setup certainly draws on elements from the first game, the developers are quick to point out that this is a stand-alone adventure, and should be welcoming to newbies and series veterans alike.
The new game is already gorgeous, making use of a system the developers are calling "camera projection," which generates 3D models and worlds but textures them with the high-definition hand-painted artwork Daedalic has made a name for themselves with. The effect is undeniably pleasing to the eye and creates a singularly unique style. Release is still a ways out, so much of the audio we heard in our demo was placeholder, though certainly serviceable. It's likely that the game will see a few more script revisions before launch as well, so it's too early to comment further on the voice acting and writing.
The gameplay seems as though it will unfold similarly to other multi-character point-and-click games; Renie and Noah are each able to solve puzzles in a different fashion, owing to both their physical size difference and their drastically divergent outlooks. The team has aimed for a set of puzzles in-game which advance the story rather than appear as roadblocks to it, and the few we saw in the demo certainly seemed to live up to that goal. Additionally, to help with pacing and avoid pixel-hunts or long stretches with no progression, the in-game cursor can be toggled to change shape based on the player's current activity, giving subtle hints about how to progress without spoiling the entire scenario.
As a fan of The Whispered World, I liked what I saw from Silence. It seems to be upholding the tradition of sharp writing, gorgeous graphics, and dreamlike atmosphere while moving forward from a gameplay and narrative perspective. With an early 2015 release scheduled, it's still going to be a while before we can get our hands on it, but so far this adventure is on track to please.