Who’d have thought it that a game of golf would be a good cure for pre-marital strife!
Game Title: Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: The Bogey Man!
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games/Aardman
Format Reviewed: PC (Review)
Also Available on: XBLA
Price: $8.95 | $34.95 for Season Pass
It’s safe to say by now that if you’re reading a review of the final entry in a series of episodic adventure games, you’re either incredibly indecisive, a bit over-protective of your money (seriously, its $9) or just a completist. Anyway, Telltale’s Wallace & Gromit series draws to a close with nary a whimper, but unlike Mothership Zeta’s spectacular misfire that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Rather than working towards a big crescendo event that inevitably fizzles out in a burst of disappointment, the serial has been trundling along as a collection of barely related escapades with a nice helping of big red reset button in-between – Not entirely unlike their animated short films then!
The Bogey Man chronicles the plasticine duo attempting to undo a particular ‘issue’ that came about as part of the concluding events of Muzzled!. Too reach this goal involves joining a golf club – nothing too shabby, but with this being both an Aardman property and a British institution, nothing is ever straight forward.
Things quickly snowball out of control. As per usual, Wallace applies his latest get-rich-quick scheme to solve a burning issue (for reasons explained, they don’t have a golf course, ergo will be closed down by nightfall), which leads to a leadership challenge, an impromptu golf tournament and eventually the series-favourite over-the-top ending sequence. It’s not as spectacular an ending as Muzzled!, but then there’s a lot more content to back up the story, with multiple more open-ended puzzles spread across the usual 3 destinations (West Wallaby Street, the Town Centre and the Prickly Thicket Country Club).
Telltale seem to have finally nailed Gromit, using much better camera angles and object signposting to drive the gameplay of a character who cannot fundamentally deliver his thoughts and wants to the player, removing an aspect of frustration from the game. Wallace is as bumblingly clueless as ever, although the games plot presents him with a goal to work towards so the player is not left guiding him from one disaster too the other. Both characters are also on-screen together a lot more, which allows the engines proximity chatter & hint system to really give a ‘one man and his dog’ vibe at crucial moments.
Along with the puzzles and mechanics, Telltale have also managed to finally sort the characterisation and humour out, giving a lot of the supporting cast more to work with, although the stereotypical Scot Duncan McBuscuit can fall into a unattended kiln for all I care, as bad as his character is!
Grand Adventures has been a bit of a change of direction for Telltale. Rather than building the series up as a whole, it really has been a collection of truly episodic morsels, none related to each other in any form other than the general subject matter, meaning they can adequately be enjoyed (or missed) in any order. When taken on their individual merits (or compared with Telltale’s other content), it’s been a bit of a half-arsed effort, but if you stand back and look at the series as a whole, it’s the best video game outing for Wallace & Gromit yet and certainly worth a punt if you have the time and/or money.