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ups: Great direction, tremendously interactive story, seamlessly shifting outcomes.
downs: Sometimes poor controls, pulling the L/R triggers can grow tiresome.

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Indigo Prophecy Review
game: Indigo Prophecy
five star
posted by: Aaron Stanton
publisher: Atari
developer: Quantic Dream
date posted: 10:43 AM Tue Oct 4th, 2005
last revision: 10:42 AM Tue Oct 4th, 2005

Click to read.Following E3 2004, I wrote an editorial discussing Advent Rising, which at the time was a soon to be released story driven game whose plot was co-written by sci-fi author Orson Scott Card. Story driven games, I said, were the best argument the game industry had against rulings like the one in 2002, where a Saint Louis judge asserted that video games were incapable of, \"conveying thoughts and ideas.\" Video games, the ruling said, have more in common with board games than movies or books, and are therefore not art.

But it didn\'t make it...

But then Advent Rising\'s gameplay dynamics fell short of the grand intentions of the story; players often put down the controller before discovering how deep and rich the experience could be, and what was supposed to be a bright star in the sky slowly dimmed.

Indigo Prophecy, though, is everything that I\'d hoped Advent Rising would become. It\'s smart, well directed, cinematic, interactive, and built from a branching storyline that changes seamlessly with your actions. Indigo Prophecies is not only a masterful piece of art and storytelling, it is also one of the most flexible games I\'ve ever played, and will consistently surprise you with the ability to take the game in different directions depending on your decisions. Indigo Prophecy lets you do more than just change the final outcome of the game with multiple endings; it allows you to direct the flow of the story to an unprecedented level. Even your minor actions will have direct consequences on the scenes that follow, and will continue to cascade through the game from the opening scene to the curtain close. It\'s as much movie as it is game, and brilliant in either perspective.

More than just a good game, though, Indigo Prophecy is the Excalibur of the industry; it is our primary weapon against accusations that video games are without heart, soul, and the ability to convey emotion. What\'s more, after games like Ghost Recon II, Max Payne, Metroid Prime, and Jade Empire, it\'s still only the second game I\'ve reviewed in nearly six years worthy of a 5 star rating. It\'s just that extraordinary of an experience. Much like knowledge of classic games like Half-Life, American McGee\'s Alice, and Doom are essential if you want to sound intelligent at a cocktail party (with nerds), Indigo Prophecy is a new standard in game design, and is sure to find itself resurfacing as a counter-argument whenever someone makes the mistake of criticizing games as worthless without playing them first.


Indigo Prophecy is different than almost anything you\'ve played on the Xbox before. With the exception of Syberia and Myst, the adventure game genre virtually disappeared with the last King\'s Quest in 1998, and now days, few gamers seem to remember classics like Space Quest, Quest for Glory, or Dagger of Amon Ra. Though the adventure game birthed graphic video games in the beginning, their prevalence in the industry has almost faded entirely in favor of high action first person shooters with the occasional plot twist.

Indigo Prophecy plays from a number of shifting camera angles, changing to allow new perspectives as you explore environments. You control Lucas Kane, a member of the tech industry who murders a man while in a trance at the start of the game. Gameplay takes on three forms; one has you walking around and exploring things, and the other two are action sequences that change depending on how well you perform a series of reactionary sequences, like press the right button at the right time in response to a stimuli on the screen. All three styles are entertaining to play. The action sequences provide some of the most cinematic presentations I\'ve ever seen in a game, including a number of very Matrix-style battles, and the adventure sequences provide an aura of mystery and depth. Without both, Indigo Prophecy would have failed, but together they mix action and story to excellent effect.


One of my few complaints about Indigo Prophecy revolves around its control schemes, and in this case it shares a trait with some of the older Resident Evil titles. Having a camera that automatically shifts and pans around your character as you move allows for some clever directing, but also makes it hard for the player to figure out which direction to push the analog stick in order to move the character. Indigo Prophecy compensates for this by locking in the control scheme between camera shifts; if you\'re pushing right when the camera changes perspectives, your character will continue in that same direction until you release the analog stick, even if it looks like it should be sending the character another way. For the most part, this works fine, but occasionally it\'s confusing, and you\'ll get to watch your poor avatar spin helplessly in circles. This can be particularly annoying if you\'re in one of the timed segments, such as having to hide evidence of your crime by cleaning your house before the police arrive. However, I never felt that this punished me excessively; Indigo Prophecy allows enough time to do what needs to be done, and even failure is fairly painless, as it either lets you retry the sequence, or just redirects the flow of the game to compensate for your actions.

One element that does get progressively more annoying as the game goes on are the sequences that required you to pull the left and right triggers, one after the other, as fast as you could. You don\'t realize how tiring that is until you\'ve done it for a while, and the dynamic of that itself is not very entertaining. I\'d have been just as happy had some other design been used instead, but it\'s a minor complaint. The side effect is that I now have the most toned and sexy index fingers of anyone I know, and since women report that the hands are one of the sexiest parts of a guy, maybe Indigo Prophecy did me a favor.

The Story:

Unlike Grand Theft Auto, which has you playing a legitimately bad guy, Indigo Prophecy puts you in control of a far more reluctant killer. In fact, Lucas Kane would never kill anyone. He\'s just an average guy living his life when strange events suddenly intrude and destroy everything. In an interesting move, you play Kane, the killer, and at other times the two investigators working on the case. The opening scene has you at the crime seen as the suspect, and the second scene has you there as an investigator trying to piece together what happened. The connection between these two scenes is substantial. If you hid the weapon in the first scene as the killer, it takes a long time to find it in the second as the investigator. If you talked to the cop on the way out the door in the first, those actions impact the later investigation in the second. Sitting down at a table will leave blood on the seat, paying your bill or not leads to different interactions when questioning people. Indigo Prophecy\'s uses the concept of an interactive story more seamlessly than any game I\'ve ever seen. There were elements that I didn\'t think could change because of how well they flowed together ? much like pre-programmed cut scenes - only to find that they could change in bizarre and substantial ways on a second playing.

The level of interaction in Indigo Prophecy is fairly extraordinary.

To top it off, the storyline itself is compelling. Filled with large, overreaching themes, dark under plots, and a main character that progresses from average Joe to superhero by the end of the story, Indigo Prophecy is a joy to play and to watch. Even a questionable Matrix-style plot element at the end of the game doesn\'t interfere with what is over-all one of the most successfully told stories in any game ever made.


All the production elements of Indigo Prophecy are high quality. While the graphics and character animations are not exactly top notch, how they are used artistically more than make up for the lack of shine. Indigo Prophecy\'s sound track, though, has nothing to apologize for. The musical themes of story are dark and compelling, and include classical, Rock and Roll, and Blues, depending on what you\'re doing and who is doing it. Even the smaller musical elements are top-notch. For example, at one point Lucas Kane is in his apartment and you have the option of turning on his stereo. When you do, the music could easily play on any modern radio channel in real life. That\'s some extremely good production values in an area of the game that could be easily missed by the gamer (if they never decided to press play on the stereo).


Indigo Prophecy combines all the essential elements for a great game: extraordinary story and entertaining and compelling gameplay. While the story obviously takes higher priority than gameplay in Indigo Prophecy, the developers knew how to handle both. The result is a game, published in a genre many thought dead, that\'s easily in the upper echelons of game experiences available today. If anyone ever points a finger at a video game and says, \"That\'s more like a board game than a movie. No ideas or thoughts or stories could be conveyed by that.\" Well, just bring up Indigo Prophecy as your counter-argument centerpiece, and I assure you that their idiocy will quickly become apparent to even the most casual observer. You need to play Indigo Prophecy, and in my opinion, you need to own it, too.

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