I had the pleasure of sitting down with a review copy of Gemini Rue recently, and I played through it. Gemini Rue is a science fiction noir-style game. The game switches you between two characters. The first is ex-assassin Azriel Odin, who is now a cop trying to find the prison his brother is in, and the second is Delta Six, a character who has no memory and is in prison. The game switches between the two characters to unravel one of the coolest game stories I’ve seen since The Longest Journey series.
This game has one of the best control systems I’ve ever seen. You click on something and get a list of options and your inventory. It reminds me a bit of Return to Zork, although it's a lot simpler. The one drawback of the system is that you have to click on a hotspot to bring up and review your inventory. But it’s okay because there are plenty of hotspots on every screen. You’ll get used the control system very quickly.
The first part of the game starts with some fast-paced action that had my heart racing. You sneak past some guards then get into a gunfight before rushing to your ship to escape. In the gunfights, you can really die, so the game introduces an autosave feature. At various points in the game—like right before an action scene—the game will autosave. This is a nice touch and went very far to keep my character living to the next one.
This game is published by Wadjet Eye, the creators of the fantastic Blackwell series. Taking a hint from Blackwell, they include a console that you can use to look up information about the area. By talking to characters and searching for information you’ll find new names and places that you’ll want to research. The console lets you do that, and you can often discover what to do next by putting in the correct information. If you don’t like to type, don’t worry; a click-and-drag interface was implemented from Azriel’s cell phone to the console search parameter.
Unfortunately, this game suffers a bit from the Dreamfall syndrome. So much energy was spent trying to create a great story that they forgot to create a great game. I don’t remember the last time I had such poor motivation to finish a game. When I play an adventure game, I like more adventure. I like interacting with characters. I like finding inventory items and finding creative ways to use them. I like using my head to progress through a game.
This game felt like a real long walk from one cut scene to the next. There was no sense of satisfaction when I completed an obstacle, and a step forward often felt like hitting another wall. Many of the puzzles—if you’d call them that—involve action sequences such as a gunfight or moving a box from one location to another so you can reach something slightly out of reach. Both of those elements are overused.
The game has too many screens which have no point and no variation. As one example, there are nine identical hotel floors in the game. You only need to visit four rooms throughout the course of the game, so this leaves a lot to explore with very little reward. The elevator buttons would benefit from a game command that says, “You have no reason to go to this floor.” It would have prevented me from endless back-and-forth that led nowhere.
I’ve decided to leave any specific plot points out of this review because if you plan to play the game, I’d hate to deprive you of the game’s one bright spot. As the final acts draw near, you’ll start to figure out some of the game's secrets. If you’re like me, you won't see them coming. The story reveals are intense and exciting. I just wish the downtime was more entertaining.
Final Grade: C-