The Moment of Silence PC Review
Adventure games used to be the pinnacle of a PC gamer’s heart. LucasArts created a rich tradition that so many fell in love with over the last decade. That tradition has since fell from all its glory, as the adventure genre has taken a back seat to action games for the most popular genre. Even the platforming genre has fallen from its grace, as cute characters no longer get by on looks alone. With the adventure genre looking abject and bleek, would The Moment of Silence be the cure to bring it back to its high honour?
House of Tales is the developer of The Moment of Silence and they have done a good job when compared with their last project. House of Tales was founded in 1999 and their first title was Mystery of the Druids. Mystery of the Druids didn’t fare too well in 2001 as it was then that the adventure genre started to lose its glimmer. MoS is indeed a step up from Druids but still has a long ways to go if they plan on leaving a lasting appeal to the genre.
The story is set in New York City in the future about forty years ahead. New York City isn’t quite alive anymore as the population has dwindled down from the large numbers it used to have making it alone and empty. You will be playing Peter Wright, who witnessed his neighbour get kidnapped by the police for no apparent reason. Conspiracies abound, this mystery will have you wondering about anything and everything that comes to mind on why his neighbour was kidnapped. The story is the focal point you should be playing this for and The Moment of Silence does have a good backdrop for a story.
The mechanics of the game is based on clicking and dragging with the mouse. Clicking and dragging is repetitive within MoS so it will be a hassle in no time. Triggering events is all based around the pointing the mouse towards the object. You’ll be double checking every so often so that you didn’t miss anything important to click on. The camera system is weak and takes away from the overall effect of it being an adventure. With so much travelling having to be done, the game becomes tiresome quickly as you’ll have to sit back and watch Peter jog to his next destination. This wait is too long as Peter is awfully slow and not athletic.
Focusing more on dialogue to advance the story, this adventure game lacks what truly makes up an adventure game. Puzzles being the one main factor that I strive for when looking for a first-rate adventure title, and House of Tales clearly didn’t put any direction towards fulfilling that need. With meeting over 30 characters in the game, you’ll be continuously chatting away to reveal the conspiracies. The conspiracies are over the entire mystery and aura of the game so it’s important to pay attention to the dialogue. With puzzles taking a backseat in favor of dialogue, I figured that at least the dialogue would have been stellar. I was wrong and I will cover that in just a minute.
The Moment of Silence is visually lagging behind the current PC generation of games. The character models are the biggest concern. They are stiff and have no emotion to them when they act out any of the scenes. House of Tales tried to add in some lip synching but it’s evident that they didn’t do a good job when the mouths are still moving when nothing is being said. The characters are blocky and have edges to them that resemble Playstation 1 graphics. The only graphical area that MoS has going for it is that the pre-rendered environments don’t look to bad. If I had to judge this alone on the created environments, in a nutshell this would have been a beautiful game. That being said, for a PC game to be compared to a PS1 game, it’s apparent that The Moment of Silence isn’t a graphical masterpiece.
Throughout your journey you’ll encounter animation scenes. These scenes serve as a detailing of the city on how it looks and feels. Like getting into the new cars (satcars), you’ll be accompanied by a scene where he enters and exits the car. Each time the scene is the same and never differs from the last time. It becomes bothersome by the end of the game as you will have entered and exited the car the same way for probably the umpteenth time.
Specifications for The Moment of Silence include at least 256 MB of Ram, 800 MHz of processor speed, 24x CD-ROM Drive, 3.4 GB of free hard disk space, and a 64 MB Direct X 8.1 Graphics card. Besides that you’ll need the standard mouse and keyboard and a Direct X Sound card. The requirements are lenient and most computers should be able to run and play MoS. If you wanted to play this and thought you didn’t have the right requirements, you should have no worries as clearly anyone should be able to play MoS.
Like I mentioned earlier, The Moment of Silence relies on its dialogue to further the story. The voice acting is what should have held this game together but it is sadly disappointing. The main characters aren’t so bad but rather it’s the NPCs you’ll encounter through Peter’s journey that don’t offer solid voice acting. Conversations may occur out of place and seem not so fitting for the situation you are in. The confusion continues when you meet a new character and they seem to have all the info on who you are. That’s right; this newly met person speaks to you as if you have been a family friend for the longest time. The voice acting is too spotty to tell a story like House of Tales relied on. Now for the music in the game, it’s neither bad nor good. It does have its perks but nothing too extravagant that overwhelms you.
To complete MoS, it will take approximately 20 hours. It’s an adventure game all the way through so you’ll need to have an open mind when playing this game since it’s about figuring out your next step in the story. You won’t have the need to pick this up again and play through it another time though. You’ll be playing this once and then putting it down. Only a few die hard fans of the adventure genre may want to play through this again but I highly doubt any casual fans will have any need to play through it twice.
The Moment of Silence isn’t a revolutionary game but barring any other adventure game right now, it’s a solid adventure to traverse through. It does have a great story even though it’s poorly told, and the graphics aren’t bad but nothing superb about them. The majority that play PC games should be able pick this up and play with ease with its easy functioning point and click method and not too harsh requirements. It is an enjoyable experience, just not the one I had hoped for.