Review by Ofisil

Reviewed: 08/10/09

A failed experiment, but also a glimpse of the future

Facade is a… err… I don’t know… lets call it an interactive drama like its developers since it fits like a glove to this game.

Story: 6.5/10
Presentation: 6/10

In this game you play the role of the friend of a married couple who has asked you to come to their house for a bit of chatting. Once you get into the house they behave very typically, (come on in, good to see you, blah, blah, blah), but after a while things start to get ugly. The couple is actually one with a lot of problems and your purpose is to help them out with these problems. The funny thing is that you can’t help them, you just talk and lead the conversation to a different end and from a different path each and ever every time. Sometimes the man gets very sad and confides in you why all this is happening, another time the woman tells us a secret she has, sometimes they get angry, stop talking to each other and sometimes they even tell you to get out of their home if you, for example, say bad things all the time. Generally there is an abundance of available conversations that you can make and the overall concept is great but sometimes you feel that you aren’t truly affecting the story. More about that in the gameplay section…

Gameplay: 1/10
Replay Value: 1.5/10

The game is free, you can download it from the developers site, it’s a biiig download, it takes a lot of time to load. Why all this? The game is supposed to be some sort of an Artificial Intelligence experiment, so it’s free so you can somehow beta test it. The concept is simple and very promising but while you actually start playing you see the problems. You control the friend of a married couple who has come to their home just for some fun but after a while things start to change and you understand that you are here in order to help them fix their relationship.

What you do is moving around interacting with objects like picking up a glass of wine or picking up the telephone, kissing or hugging them, but most of the time, you talk, talk, talk. You can almost say anything, from “Hello” to “I hate you all!”. The story is supposed to unfold differently each time you say something but to say the truth it doesn’t. Some things that happen, happen randomly and without you being able to affect the conversation. The AI is a bit bad, with many times having to type very fast because they don’t give you enough time to answer so they move along talking on their own. Also sometimes you say something and they don’t even understand what you say even if it is something very simple and logical to say at the time. Finally 99% of the endings are considered bad. The couple either agrees that they hate each other, fight like babies, get sad and stop talking, reveal dark secrets or kick you out. There’s only one ending that was supposed to be good but it actually wasn’t, but that’s not the problem in fact that’s a good think since it adds some sort of realism. The problem is that you feel like someone who just sits by and can’t affect things at all no matter what you do…

Graphics: 5/10
Design: 3/10

Look, I don’t have a single problem with extreme simplicity, I am a minimalist myself, BUT here we have totally bland walls, floors and ceilings with just a simple color applied, some low resolution images that are supposed to be photographs, objects that look out of place since they are not single colored and have a weird and bad white border around them that makes them look as if they are images cut of from a magazine or something. The human characters, (2 of them), are very simple too but they are far better since they “feel” real due to their facial expressions and despite their bad body animation.

Sound: 6.8/10
Music: 6.5/10

The voice acting is quite good and emotional, (although both characters get on my nerves), like it should be. The music gets the job done too by becoming more dramatic when the conversation between the two characters reaches the end, for the most part though you can’t hear the music but that’s not a problem since that is more realistic.

Positives:
-You interact with the characters by talking, (typing)
-Original concept
-Good voice acting

Negatives:
-Sometimes what you say doesn’t affect the story development
-You have to type fast…
-The overall graphical design could be a bit better

Also Play:
This game right now is one of a kind…

Overall: 4.5/10

Facade so far is a failed experiment, quite flawed and boring, but it is also a glimpse of the future of video games where you will be truly affecting the story of the game. I hope we don’t wait very long…

Rating: 4

Product Release: Facade (US, 07/05/05)

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