It's 1930 and you're immersed in the jazzy, colorful life of New Orleans. A famous archaeologist named Richard Haliburton has disappeared and you're here to find him -- at the height of the age of voodoo in this famous city. You are a collector of famous artifacts of unknown origins that have special powers and were crafted by an unknown race of people forever locked in the vast annals of time.
The Forgotten: It Begins no doubt is quickly forgotten by some purchasers of the game due to its short duration. The game only takes a few hours to complete, assuming you figure out where to go in a reasonable time. The brevity of the game alone is enough to make you feel you didn't get your money's worth considering that DreamCatcher has made several other games that are much better graphic-wise and have more depth.
The game has good and bad aspects, however, so it's not a total loss. A mysterious soundtrack makes for some spooky moments and neat images at times. The sounds of people whispering at certain points during the game are a great effect that arouse fear or intrigue.
The graphics also paint a good picture but I've seen better in earlier DreamCatcher games. Also, the absence of people to meet during the adventure creates either a more scary experience or lessens the enjoyment depending on your perspective. It's a very solitary journey with a less-is-more plan that makes you feel as if you're searching through a ghost town.
Most of the puzzles are very easy to solve with a few exceptions. One of the more difficult puzzles deals with use of an elevator in the hotel lobby. If you're familiar with these types of hotel elevators, you'll have an edge on those of us who are unaware of the fact that you must insert your key into the slot of the floor number you want to reach. Many of the items and puzzles are laid out in an obvious fashion and don't take long to decipher, providing you pay attention.
Key items stick out in the scenery and the game does a decent job of creating a uniform environment. What is perhaps the most compelling aspect of the gaming experience is the dark atmosphere that pervades the story. The spooky areas and sounds that frequently pop up during gameplay were very enjoyable. For example, listening to the wind blow while being surrounded by dark sky and vacant run down houses creates an eerie feeling.
Overall, The Forgotten: It Begins is a great concept that falls short in execution. As this game is supposed to be the first in a series of games about The Forgotten, it gives the appearance of being considerably shorter than it should have been due to the planned serialization of the story. By going the series route, it will obviously cost you more money if you want to finish all the parts. Further insult is the feeling of being cheated when the game ends after only two hours of play!
Regardless, it's the shortest game ever to come across my desk, taking roughly an hour to get through to the seventh level in the hotel which is the next to last area in the game (the last being the attic). Certainly, some of the puzzles will keep you stumped for a short time but are usually easily solvable by most gamers -- brain surgery it's not!
DreamCatcher should remember to use the name The Forgotten in the next game of the series because, after finishing this one in one sitting, most gamers are likely to forget about it quickly.
Graphics: At times the graphics appear a bit fuzzy but, overall, they're very detailed -- from the spooky ghost town you begin your journey in to the brilliantly lit and fancy dining room in the lobby.
Sound: The sound truly makes it more enjoyable. In various parts, you can play a record, music on the piano or hear the sounds of an old music box.
Enjoyment: Despite its shortness, gameplay is very enjoyable during the amount of game time offered. The enjoyment only lasts a few hours, though, and it's certainly a game you can play in one sitting.
Replay Value: Absolutely no reason exists why you'd play the game a second time unless you simply wanted to run through the story again. Every item you collect is needed to further your journey and, since the game ends so quickly, you could likely buy it and return it on the same day!
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