Andrew Bryant hides in a weird guys basement to get out of the rain (AND IN THE GAME!)
Game Title: Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: The Last Resort
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games/Aardman
Format Reviewed: PC (Review)
Also Available on: XBLA
Price: $8.95 | $34.95 for Season Pass
I don’t want to hate on Telltale Games. Their output has been generally consistent and decent for a good deal of their ‘existence’ and they’ve just picked up the mantle of the greatest adventure game in existent that isn’t Day of the Tentacle: Monkey Island.
Regardless, this second entry into the Wallace & Gromit series isn’t filling me with much confidence in their intense development schedule – Apart from a few minor interface tweaks & bug fixes, the general gameplay experience hasn’t changed much from the first game in the series, so check out that review for the skinny on that. What has changed, however, is the plot, puzzles and general size of the game.
The bad weather has ruined the cheese-loving duos hols so they decide, in time-honoured tradition, to open up a beach resort in their basement. No doubt when the script-writers sat down and dreamed up the concept, it seemed like a cracking idea, but the implementation is flawed and un-interesting thanks to stereotypical & unlikable characters and the story offers barely enough content to fill a one-of newspaper short, let alone a 4-5 hour adventure game.
Last Resort is definitely W&G’s Meatball or Strong Badia the Free, if not worse, as the extent of the content has shrunk to all of 2 locations – Wallace’s house & the town centre, the latter of which features for all of 3-4 minutes of game-time, ergo most of the time is spent wandering a fraction of the locations seen in the previous episode, plodding through the typical episode structure TTG have laid down many times before and desperately need to renew.
The critical who-dunnit takes too long to get started, the foreshadowing of the victim and suspects is so blatant it’s actually insulting and even more noticeable this time than previously, the whole concept of a sole silent character that isn’t framed by text, third-party input or other forms of exposition completely falls apart in the context of an adventure game, especially when in any other game a vocal character would offer either hints or observation to drive the story onwards.
As mentioned before, Wallace & Gromit are a team that work so well as a double-act it still stands out that Telltale have seen fit to continue to place them in completely separate roles for most of the episode continues to startle. When both characters are on screen, they bounce off each other yet mesh like a well oiled machine – When Gromit picks something up, Wallace quickly comments on it and when Wallace messes up or drops a double-entendre, Gromit rolls his eyes – it’s actually comedic when timed right. This was something which I initially thought Telltale had sorted, following the short prologue, but the script swiftly finds a reason to send one character off screen, only for the characters to be swiftly swapped after significant lengths of time – enough for you to actually forget they exist!
The Last Resort isn’t terrible – if you’re reading this you’re likely already considering the series – and based on the strong first game in the series it’s still a compelling argument to ‘hope’ the series picks up. After all, we’ve seen it time and time again for TTG to suddenly end the series with a masterpiece. The Last Resort wouldn’t be worth a look if it was a true episode, but luckily, as Telltale aren’t developing an over-riding narrative with the series, it can be played once and swiftly forgotten.