Red Johnson’s Chronicles is a CSI-inspired crime drama that has you interacting in a variety of ways. With gameplay akin to classics like Myst, RJC is the latest attempt at reviving the point-and-click genre on console systems.
Despite having plenty of drama, RJC has something most point-and-click adventures lack — and that’s action. That’s right; the action sequences found in RJC set it apart from other games in the genre. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a slow, intellectual puzzle game with point-and-click elements (I enjoy playing them personally), but the action sequences truly enhance the experience.
Like many games before it, RJC uses QTE (Quicktime Events) for the action sequences. This requires the player to press certain buttons or move in a certain direction in order to dodge, punch, or even fire a weapon. This concept may be more familiar to people who have played games like Dragon’s Lair or Heavy Rain.
Since RJC is a point-and-click adventure, you can move around by pointing and clicking on certain sections to investigate locations like a crime scene. The R1 button is used to activate a magnifying glass to search for clues or investigate an item.
The bulk of RJC consists of solving puzzles to unlock new clues and/or items to help further the investigation. After you finally uncover some clues, it’s off to your office to do some real crime forensic work. There you can analyze crime scene clues and compare them against suspects. This will help you gather more evidence to catch the murderer.
A private investigator’s job wouldn’t be complete without interviewing – and sometimes grilling – suspects for clues and key information to further the investigation.
When confronting a suspect or a witness, you will enter an interactive cut scene where you can pick from a list of dialogs. What you say will determine the outcome of the conversation.
Puzzles are timed in a way; the faster you complete them, the better your overall score will be. You can take as long as needed to finish a puzzle, but the timer will count up. Basically, it keeps track of how long it takes you to complete a puzzle. The higher the score rank received, the more money you will earn.
Money can be used to buy info from informants. This can help with puzzle solving and other things during the course of your case. You can purchase about four clues per puzzle if you happen to get stumped.
But keep in mind that buying clues can be expensive, especially when the prices increase after each hint is purchased. If you have the money to burn, this option can help immensely.
The graphics are right out of a murder mystery, with dark and gritty 3D environments setting the mood from start to finish. What’s real surprising is the amount of speech in the game. There must be hundreds of hours invested in just audio alone. Plus, the voice acting is top-notch and comparable to high budget releases.
There is about ten hours of actual gameplay in Red Johnson’s Chronicles. While it may sound short, it will take much longer to complete the game your first time through.
Red Johnson’s Chronicles reminds me of PC classics like Under a Killing Moon and the Pandoras Directive. It takes me back to when detective/puzzle games were memorable and worth playing.
RJC has the right balance of drama, humor and intrigue. Any game with this much thought behind it wins hands down in my opinion. As far as I am concerned, there should be more games like Red Johnson’s Chronicles.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Lexis Numerique
Publisher: Lexis Numerique
Size: 1578 gigs/megs
ESRB: M (Mature)
|The graphics are dark and moody.|
|A real pleasure to listen to.|
|I haven’t enjoyed a detective/puzzle game this much since the late 90’s.|
|Red Johnson's Chronicles is a satisfying experience. Not only is it simple and elegant, but it should have seen a full retail release.|