No70: Eye of Bashir
No70: Eye of Bashir
The writers obviously put a lot of effort into the story aspect but it does not come together in a way that makes you want to know more or empathize with the characters. Finally, the game ends with a fizzle.
Posted: 07/14/17 | Category: Review | Developer: Oldmoustache Game Works | Publisher: Artcom FZC | Platform: Vr, Windows

Genre: Adventure
Release date: October 27, 2016

Family Ties 
 

No70: Eye of Basir is a 3D story-based adventure. It is the first major game to be released by Oldmoustache Game Works, an indie development group founded in 2014 and based in Istanbul, Turkey. The main characters are brothers Ehran and Aras. Both grew up in a house at No70 with their grandmother and, as children, had encounters with the paranormal. As adults, they have returned to the abandoned house at No70 and are sifting through family artifacts in search of answers. Their quest unveils the mysterious Brotherhood of Basir – “the one who sees all.” Of special interest is the connection that Basir provides between earth and other realms. The game hints at the existence of gates that provide access but have long been locked and hidden.

This adventure is played from a first-person view with a small bit of narration by the main characters. The rest of the backstory is revealed incrementally as text snippets that are scattered along your path. Content from these “notes” is stored for reference in the game’s “Codex” section.  There is also a “Characters” section that provides biographical information on Ehran, Aras, their grandmother, and others mentioned or pictured in the story.

Game Mechanics 
 

Eye of Basir is built with the Unreal Engine and uses standard mouse and key assignments for navigating and interacting with the environment.  The landscape is 3D and your journey is controlled by objects (rocks, trees, fences, etc.) that prevent you from straying off a fairly linear path. The graphics are beautifully crafted and the soundtrack includes dramatic music as well as ambient noise. As you are exploring, you have the sense that you are not alone, as evidenced by the sounds of unseen activity all around you.

Gameplay consists of wandering an area, looking for objects to pick up, and then determining where they are used. When an item is used, it changes the environment and you need to retrace all of your steps in order to see what is different. A key item in the game is “The Eyepiece” that provides a glimpse into an alternate reality. When looking through this lens, you will see game clues, ghostly footprints, corpses, etc. Most of the game does not require The Eyepiece but you still need to scan scenes with your own eyes and then again with the lens, “just in case.”

As you are exploring, you encounter objects that can be examined but not collected. Very few of these “extras” have anything to do with the story. There are also 30 notes associated with papers and photos that can be clicked on to “read more about it.” When you enter an area, it is not clear which items are of interest. Some are highlighted and some require that you be in close proximity before an action icon appears. Many hotspots are only identifiable by a change in your cursor from a small white dot to a small red dot (see picture below). This means that I spent an inordinate percent of my 5+ hours in this game doing screen scans with my mouse, watching to see if my cursor turned red.

Your current inventory is indicated by tiny icons in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Perhaps it is my aging eyes, but there were times when I had no idea what I was carrying around. If there was a way to examine inventory, I did not find it. Luckily, when the appropriate item is in your possession, it is automatically selected and applied when you click on its point-of-use.

No70EyeOfBasirInTxtImg1

The game is divided into 3 chapters with Oldmoustache promising that more content will be released in the future. “Makes sense,” I thought, until the game opened with the following screen:

No70EyeOfBasirInTxtImg2

While I appreciate Oldmoustache being honest up front, this is developer-speak for “Don’t say we didn’t warn you when you can’t finish a chapter in a single sitting and have to start it all over again.” Really???  Would a couple of save points during a chapter have been that hard? I’m a gamer with a day job so it is rare for me to have hours of undisturbed playtime. I got interrupted three times during the first chapter so I became intimately familiar with the opening dialog/scenes and retracing my way through a very dark tunnel. The second chapter was longer and I put my life on hold because there was NO WAY that I was going to do all that traveling more than once. A few hours later, the fun factor was fading and the save icon had still not appeared. Grrr…

The Sum of All Parts 
 

For this writer, Eye of Basir is a bit of a challenge to review and grade. The graphics and soundtrack are exceptionally well-done. The atmosphere is dark and spooky with a couple of “jump out of your seat” moments. But, it is tagged on Steam as a “horror adventure” which I believe is a misnomer. It is also tagged for “puzzles.” You perform some creative thinking to solve two door combinations but, beyond that, there is little to puzzle about.

Be prepared to do some extensive hiking. However, there is not a lot to do beyond looking for a handful of inventory items and trying to figure out where to go next. The writers obviously put a lot of effort into the story aspect but it does not come together in a way that makes you want to know more or empathize with the characters. Finally, the game ends with a fizzle. Imagine you have spent hours getting ready for a highly anticipated vacation. At the last minute, the airline cancels all flights to your destination with no option to rebook. That’s how I felt at the end of Chapter 3 when Eye of Basir just left me standing there … “all dressed up with nowhere to go.”

Opinions aside, Oldmoustache deserves kudos for bringing their first full game to market. That, alone, is an accomplishment to be proud of. Eye of Basir is a good start and, with some tweaking, puts this indie team on a path for future success. 

Grade: B-
 
Beautifully rendered 3D world with a very effective soundtrack 
+ Backstory documented with attention to detail 
 
- Absence of any “Save” functionality means a chapter must be completed in a single session to avoid replay.
- Those unprepared for extensive pixel hunting may grow weary in this game
- Story elements never really come together to provide a purpose for this adventure
 Logo 
 
Trailer:
 

System Requirements

MINIMUM PC:
OS: Windows 7 / 8 / 10
Processor: Intel
 Core i3 4160 / AMD FX-6300
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 690 / Radeon HD 7990
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 15 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Additional Notes: Targeting 1080p @ 60 fps
 
Editor's note: No70: Eye of Basir has been announced as supporting VR. There have been perfromance issues, however, and the VR version has been released in Beta. For further info, please see developer's comments on the game's Steam Page under the caption "ABOUT VR." 
 
Specials from Digital Download
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