I’m sitting at a local diner in NYC, trying to take a breather from the monotonous day with a bite to eat. The air outside is so cold that it’s hard to breath, and this record-breaking winter just seems to be getting worse and worse. It’s not like my personal life is faring much better than the weather either, as each passing day seams to grow more and more hopeless. Things just haven’t been the same since Tiffany left, and now that I think about it, there’s probably not much of a chance they’ll be improving anytime soon. Some of her things are still at my apartment though, but she’s more than likely just leaving them there so that she doesn’t have to come over and see me, and not because she actually still cares. Hopefully, work will pick up soon, but my performance there has been questionable at best lately, so it will be a miracle if I don’t lose my job as well. The way things are going, I’ll be lucky to survive the winter.
This is the life of Lucas Kane, and though his story might sound vaguely familiar to you, chances are that the next turn of events will probably not. During his meal Lucas begins to fade in and out of consciousness, and while in this dream-like state, some sort of ritual keeps re-emerging itself in Lucas’s mind. And even though it seems real, it actually feels more like a dream than it does reality. Lucas then wakes up to find the shocking truth behind his visions – he has somehow managed to make his way into the bathroom, where he has just brutally murdered a random middle-aged man for no apparent reason. With blood everywhere, murder weapon in hand, and ritualistic carvings now on Lucas’s wrist, it’s no secret that he committed this grisly act; the only question is why?
This is only the first couple of minutes of Indigo Prophecy I might add, and if it seems more like a movie than it does a game, then you’re right. The entire experience plays out much more like a film than it does an actual video game. A major aspect of the game that really adds to the cinematic feel is that you get to witness the story from a couple of different perspectives, which will ultimately play a deciding factor in which of the five endings you receive.
The first couple of minutes of the game really set you up for the entire experience. You obviously start as the killer of the story, Lucas Kane, and after the murder, you are faced with the first of several decisions to make. You are stuck in the bathroom with rampant evidence laying everywhere. It is now up to you to decide how you wish to deal with your surroundings. You can simply run out, hide the body, get rid of the murder weapon, and even wash the blood off your clothes in hopes of escaping unnoticed; everything you do will affect the outcome of the game in one way or another.
Actually performing these decisions is slightly more convoluted than you are used to. Instead of pressing various buttons in order to manipulate an object, this time around all the controls are mapped to the analog sticks, which really helps draw you into the story. For example, in the bathroom, you have the option of using the mop to clean up the blood on the floor, but the kicker is that you actually have to press the analog stick back and forth to accomplish this. The same concept also applies to conversations during the game, where saying the right or wrong thing can either make or break the plot. Probably the most immersive aspect of the game happens with the in-game cutscenes. Indigo Prophecy forces you to interact with the cinematics rather than just sitting passively and watching them unfold. This is done by using the analog sticks as well, only this time the system plays out much like the old game called Simon. Flashing patterns appear onscreen in form of the two analog sticks, and it’s your job to keep up with the pace. Although this is one of the best parts about Indigo, at times it also becomes a slight distraction as well. The cinemas are extremely action-packed and can sometimes last up to several minutes, which really hurts your ability to actually see what’s going on in the movies because you’re too busy trying to match the patterns and keep your player alive.
After completing Lucas’s first objective, which is getting out of the diner in one piece, you are introduced to the other two main characters, Carla Valenti and Tyler Miles, who are both responsible for the investigation. This is where things to start to get a little weird, but mostly for the better. This story does an incredible job of making you care about all the characters involved, and oftentimes you have to make decisions that will put the other characters in jeopardy. It’s really hard to play the role of a murderer, although he clearly was under someone else’s control, and then turn around minutes later and play as the investigators who are responsible for tracking him down. One thing that keeps you going as the investigators because you obviously don’t want to put poor Lucas behind bars, is that if you do a good job with the evidence and try to complete all the objectives, you can really play a role in helping solve this mystery. Although the plot starts out simple enough, before too long it takes a serious turn for the bizarre, and near the end it will seriously have you questioning your very own existence.
The only real problem that occurs in Indigo is the awkward camera angles and questionable character movements. Writer/director David Cage specifically wanted everything in this game to look and feel just like a movie, and one of the ways he achieves this is through the visual presentation. Most of the camera angles are positioned so that they feel very life-like, but unfortunately, it also causes some frustration when controlling the character. This specifically occurs when time is a factor, where you must find a certain item, or make a quick getaway, but sometimes it’s just not possible without becoming frustrated because of the camera.
Anytime you try and breathe a little life into a stagnating genre, you’re going to have to take your fare share of chances, and that’s exactly what Quantic Dream did. Thankfully, despite the slight camera and control problems, along with some questionable story pacing, Indigo Prophecy definitely lived up to its hype and delivered an unforgettable experience that no adventure loving fanatic should be without.