The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time
Seeing As I Only Have A Single page on which to wax lyrical about the sequel to The Journeyman Project (TJP), I'll not waste it by wibbling on and on (in my usual way) about the state of the interactive movie, the over-use of prerendered imagery, and how Hollywood is moving ever closer to the computer game. No, what I'll do instead is just hit you in the stomach with the knowledge that US Gold is soon to release a "Director's Cut" version of the Macintosh-saving prequel, and kick you in the short and curlies while you're down by predicting a trend to soon follow with every other game manufacturer in the US.
Expect to see the widescreen version of Bioforge, the Special Release of Full Throttle with 30 minutes of missing exploding rabbit footage, and the obligatory re-mastered copies of First Encounters with all-new bugs.
Back in the real world...
In the meantime let me tell you that Buried In Time has everything you're expecting it to have - the usual top-rate levels of American professionalism and hours of pre-rendered animations - but alongside that is a fairly sophisticated game. Criticism was hurled like stones at a heretic, at TJP for being pretty to look at but non-too interactive with regards to the gameplay. At first glance you'd be forgiven for pinning the same badge of shame here. It all looks very similar to TJP - same kind of interface, similar over-reliance of animations (although in a decidedly larger area of the screen) - but to say such things, would merely indicate that you had given the thing barely five minutes to win your affections before you switched over to something with guns and blood.
Buried In Time contains the kind of atmosphere that I haven't experienced in an adventure since the days of "go north", "get the sword" and "plant the plant in the plant pot and put the plant pot with the plant into the plant pot without the plant" (answers on a postcard if you can remember the game that came from). Too many of today's so-called adventure games are little more than linear tales with limited icon bars. Buried In Time uses its very fancy interface to simulate ye olde-worlde feel of yonder text-input games, while keeping the modern-day presentation that we've all come to know and spend money on.
All hail Presto?
I'm not sure if I'd go that far. I do have a worry over the game's length. (Do not be fooled by the three shiny CD's in the box - animations do not come cheap these days.) While the people from Hereford may be willing to settle for a game that can be completed within a week, I'm much less forgiving. Enthralling atmosphere and challenging puzzles are one thing, but they need to be coupled with a game that sees you through the long, winter nights and slow, summer days.
If I can offer my two-penneth worth (I know I said I wouldn't but I lied), game designers who are in a rush to embrace the loving arms of the interactive movie, need to stop thinking like filmmakers to achieve their goals. Buried In Time has all the atmosphere and presentation that's needed for such a genre to work, but in keeping with movie-making tradition, they're trying to tell a story in 120 minutes or less.
Pacing for an im (an acronym that I'll allow you to use at will) needs to be closer to that of a novel; something that allows the player to be drawn in slowly; allows them to experience the world that you're creating at his or her own rate. No one's doubting the technical ability is there, it's just time to start working on the other elements.
Download The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP