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Old 01-06-2009, 10:52 PM   #123
Seraph
>:3
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo DS
1 Players
Developer - Cing
Publisher - Nintendo

My Bias
-None

My Completion
-Beaten with “standard” ending

Story
Hotel Dusk is a very text heavy game. The main draw or reason to play it is the storyline, and in this area it doesn’t disappoint. I enjoyed this games story a lot. It had me laughing, made me feel sad, and even scared me at a few parts.

I really loved the characters in this game. Each of them has a unique personality and are easy to relate to. For some reason the main character, Kyle Hyde is a big jerk to everyone. In a sense though, his passive attitude helps give the game its overall mellow laidback theme. What I really love is that all the characters are believable. There are no stereotypical cute anime characters saying/doing obnoxious things. The characters act like people do in real life. Even the little girl that runs around acts like a real little girl.

The writing for this game is top notch. By writing I don’t mean the overall story (which is great as well) but I mean the way the story is told. All the conversations are so well done that it feels like you’re talking to an actual person rather than prompting a game for a response.


Saying this is a surefire way to have me not forget

One thing I didn’t like about the story is it gets too confusing at times. You meet a lot of characters in this game, all with their own stories and reasons for staying in the hotel. It gives you so many things to keep track of I often found myself wondering just what the heck was going on. A lot of the time I kept forgetting why Kyle was at the hotel in the first place.

The ending of this game, and by that I mean probably the last 20 minutes, is fantastic. So many twists and turns, things you’ve been wondering about the whole game are finally revealed. Everything comes together and it is a really nice closure.

And again, this yet another game that rewards the player for playing perfect with the “true ending”. Why do I have to play through the game making absolutely no mistakes just to enjoy some conclusion to this long story? This game is a horrible offender in this regard because the ending without this “bonus” at the end leaves you feeling pretty crappy. It’s annoying as heck having to go watch the real ending on Youtube for these games.

Graphics
As you walk around the hotel the touch screen displays a crude overhead view of your location, representing people as blue circles. The other screen displays a 3D view of the hotel which reminds me of the old days of playing Doom 2 on the PC. It’s hard to explain, but the 3D view has some weird ghosting effect applied to the textures. It’s really apparent when you go on the Hotels Roof. People on this 3D screen are flat sprites that rotate no matter what angle you view them from. These sprites look REALLY bad as they get scaled in size and there is only one sprite per character. Meaning if a character is supposed to be sitting down enjoying their dinner, when you see them on the screen they will just be standing by their chair. I can’t say either of the navigation screens are visually pleasing, but they get the job done.


3D isn't so hot........

The character portraits on the other hand are amazing. They look a lot like real people because Rotoscoping was used, and yet have a slight Anime touch to them. Everything is drawn in black and white with a sketchy animation overlay so the lines never stay still. As characters talk, they do a lot of animations and the whole thing comes off very stylized and fluid looking. They did an especially good job at the facial animations.


Kyle's "Friend" Rachel is especially well drawn. And by well drawn I mean hot

The art style and technique used gives off an old, slummy feel to the whole game. You really get a feel for what a dump Hotel Dusk really is. It really complements this games theme and story.

Music
Hotel Dusk pulls music from a few different genres. Most of it is laid back and relaxing.

I have a lot of praise for this soundtrack. This is partially because I really love smooth jazz and piano. The songs have some great melodies to them which I always appreciate more than theatrical/orchestral noise. This game just has a lot of great songs.

The only song I really don’t like is unfortunately the one that plays the most. The music that plays when you are casually walking around the hotel annoys me.

Some of my favorite songs include:

Pink Rabbit - This is the theme that plays whenever you talk to the little girl, Melissa. I think it’s a really cute theme

Violet Sky - This is an awesome song that plays whenever you help solve somebody’s big problem. It gives a big sense of resolution.

Gameplay
This is one of those DS games that are played holding the unit on its side like a book.

Most of the game is controlled by the stylus. You walk Kyle around the hotel by simply pointing to the spot you want to go. When you want to investigate something you can tap one of the interaction icons on the bottom of the screen. However you can only investigate certain areas of the hotel, which is indicated when the icons light up. This game can also be controlled using the D-Pad. I preferred this method of control because it was more comfortable, especially for the reading parts.

The entire game plays like reading a book. A good majority of the game is spent talking to the other residents of the hotel and trying to figure out how to advance the story further.

When Kyle finds out that somebody has deep dark secrets he can’t ever leave it alone. At these points in the game you have to grill the person until they spill out their life secrets. The grilling sections I found pretty hard because you are constantly presented with two answers and if you pick the wrong one it’s usually game over. The questions themselves are tough, often giving you two answers that both sound correct and you have to chose what you think sounds the best.


Making little girls cry is one of the gameplay features

Along the way there are a few puzzles that you nee to solve. Some of them are really simple ones like putting a children’s puzzle back together and others take a few minutes of thinking. The only really hard puzzle was the very last one. Along with the puzzles there are many parts in the game where you must search areas for clues or special items, much like the gameplay of a PC point-&-click adventure game. For example if you find a crowbar in one room you can then use it to pry something open in another room.


This puzzle took me 10 hours to figure out

This could just be me, but I found if I took a break from this game for a few days when I came back it was really hard to remember what I was doing. At this point you have two options. Either walk in every single room, knock on every single door and explore every single possibility until something happens. Or you can check Gamefaqs.com. Actually I found myself not knowing where to go regardless if I took a break or not. Sometimes the games not very self explanatory as to what your next objective is. Something that I found helped with this is the notepad. You can open it up at any time and jot notes down with your stylus, therefore letting you jot down the last thing you were doing so you don’t forget.


I put my notepad to good use

At the end of every chapter Kyle quizzes himself. The quiz is never hard in the least as it basically asks you questions like “What did I use to open my door?: A Key, A Fish, An Apple .” I do like that they added this in because when I would take a break and forget everything that was going on and it was a nice way to recap the chapter.

Lasting Appeal
This game lasted me about 20 hours. The game probably could be completed much faster than it did me, because I got stuck wondering what to do a lot.

Being such a heavy story based game there isn’t much replayability at all. A lot like reading a book, once you finish it you know what happens.

Final Thoughts
The Story, Graphics, Music and slight gameplay elements all meld together to create a wonderful experience. I recommend this game to anyone who wants a relaxing yet entertaining title.

When I finished this game I got a feeling like I just finished a really good book (not that I’d know what reading a book feels like).

Last edited by Seraph; 08-04-2009 at 02:18 PM.
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