The Adam’s Venture series is a third person action adventure game in the same vein as classic 90s era Tomb Raiders. AV:Origins is a reimagined prequel chapter to the original PS3 port. Priced as a mid-level title on both consoles and PC, this latest edition promised to deliver next-gen visuals, and new improved gameplay. But this latest entry leaves a lot to be desired.
Origins attempts to improve on its classic gameplay by increasing the amount puzzle solving. Considering most of the action elements are genre tropes, the inclusion of problem-solving challenges is a definite highlight. My issue with this game’s design stems from its blatant overuse of these visual riddles. For example, at one point you are tasked with repairing windmills in order to attain information from an eccentric professor. Players are required to add and subtract voltages until the ending voltage matches the required value. One such puzzle may have been fine, but you are presented with three of the same identical puzzles before proceeding. Need to go up an elevator? Solve a puzzle. Turn on a projector to get the next obtuse cutscene? Solve a puzzle. In no time, a good thing becomes diluted.
Traditional action platforming takes place between the heavier puzzle-solving motifs. Far too often I was fighting with controls to get the right swing with the grappling hook, which when activated just looks stiff and awful. While the main character Adam is meant to be younger than in Chronicles, animations at times would suggest he’s really entering his geriatric years. Grappling hook fires like a retractable quad-cane, and Adam awkwardly lifts off.
There are also poor visual indicators for objects required to unlock the next section. This caused occasional backtracking through sections (that were not meant to be backtracked), searching for a darkened fragment in a darkened cave — while fighting with the cumbersome hook-swings. I like nods to older games, but that’s not a blank pass to copy older elements that keep players frustrated.
Higher resolution textures, improved volumetric lighting, and higher resolution shadows are evident in screenshots. While these enhancements give scenes like a quaint Parisian village a nice boost, I would have much rather preferred smoother animations and fluid controls. In motion, Adam’s Venture: Origins still looks like a PS3-era title. The added effects amount to spraying cologne on sweaty, unwashed armpits (hint: it doesn’t work).
Speaking of distasteful, the voice acting in this game is foul. Not to mention the writing. If you love to swallow bad puns, AV:Origins will make you Pavarotti-sized in no time. There’s enough corny to clog an artery. It’s bad, and … there’s a lot of it.
Adam’s Venture: Origins is uneven: it can look and play the part of a big title, however there’s far too much rough areas to really keep you engaged or even caring for the progression of the story. Was I captivated while playing? No. I did not feel as if I was playing a unique indie title with it’s own niche take on the adventure genre. Nor a game brimming with gripping story or captivating gameplay.
Most of the game is simply going through the motions. When it breaks from its predecessors formula then its puzzles for the sake of “more puzzles.” Worse, after a while it feels like filler for lack of distinct content. Graphics are improved over Chronicles, but it’s nothing revolutionary. Audio work as a whole is bland and uninspired. Game dialog is terrible and irritating. Origins is just plain and dull. “Bundled Bargain” would be commensurate with the kind of game Origins is, and bears waiting for the price to be right; even for die hard adventure fans.