The Detail Episode 2: From the Ashes Review
The Detail Episode 2: From the Ashes Review
Exceptional artistry makes The Detail a charm to play.
Posted: 06/29/15 | Category: Review | Developer: Rival Games Ltd. | Publisher: Rival Games Ltd. | Platform: Linux, Windows, Mac

Genre: Point-And-Click Adventure 
Release date: May 28, 2015

The Detail is a difficult game to review. If I were to talk about it in the same terms as many other games, it probably wouldn’t be a very positive discussion. But it’s not like other games, and holding it to conventional rules would be disingenuous and give an incorrect impression of the game. While The Detail is not without its flaws, it mostly succeeds at what developer Rival Games is trying to accomplish.

Story
 

Episode 2: From the Ashes picks up right at the cliffhanger from Episode 1. Joe has come home to find the mysterious man sitting in his dining room. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Joe is getting quickly sucked back into the underworld. This is a classic “one last job” scenario, and it unfolds in a predictable way. I was never bored with Joe’s trajectory, but I also felt that it played out in a disappointingly cliché pattern.

The same could be said of the other characters. Both Reggie and Katelyn represent the same disillusioned detective and starry-eyed officer we’ve seen in dozens of previous stories. While they may be given a chance to become more complex as the series progresses, we’re not given a chance to see that here.

However, this is not to say that the story is not compelling. The stakes continue to be raised for the second episode, and I am genuinely intrigued to find out how this plays out. After reaching out to old friends, Joe finds himself at a crossroads between gangs. Not only that, but he’s also given a chance to reconnect with an old flame, a choice which I hope will resonate in later chapters. Reggie continues to do anything to get the job done and Katelyn shows her soft side by helping a victim in need.

Gameplay
 

I consider The Detail to be an interactive graphic novel rather than a conventional video game. The majority of the scenes have you clicking through them as you would a comic book. Yes, you do occasionally get to make decisions as a player, but it’s too early to tell whether or not these will have a larger impact.

The control that a player is given is light. You’ll click around the map to interact with objects but never delve into real detective work. Players are tasked with fairly derivative investigative techniques and mostly just click on the obvious (Look, drugs! Look, a body!) or follow information in the dialogue.

Visuals and Sound
 

I love the graphic novel visuals of The Detail. As Reggie discusses his theory about a crime scene, we can see the crime play out in a catching design behind him. It’s a great way of utilizing the design Rival Games has picked and is also effective in other scenes. The characters are excellently brought to life and each additional shot is used to bring extra tension.

The soundtrack is neither great nor terrible, though it is an improvement over Episode 1. Where Episode 1 had some oddly placed tunes, From the Ashes has nothing that seemsd out of order. These aren’t the kinds of songs that will stand on their own, but at the end of the day they don’t really need to.

Conclusion
 

Despite cliché characters, The Details Episode 2: From the Ashes continues the compelling storytelling that Rival Games started with in Episode 1. While gameplay does seem to be quite derivative, I wouldn’t necessarily hold that against it. Players will likely be too focused on the exceptional artistry that makes The Detail a charm to play.

 
Grade: B
 
Compelling story
Excellent graphic novel-esque visuals
 
Cliche characters
 
 Logo
 
 
System Requirements
 
MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
Graphics: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work.
DirectX: Version 9.0
 
MINIMUM Mac:
OS: Mac OS X 10.6+
Graphics: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work.
 
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