The Da Vinci Code
Because of the success of Dan Brown’s book a movie couldn’t remain absent. These days a popular movie is usually accompanied by a game, so now 2K’s The Da Vinci Code lies before me.
New subplots are promised, even for those who already have read the book or have seen the movie. Luckily this is right, the game manages to perfectly maintain the frame of the story while adding new elements. I have to say the profundity isn’t that great, but according to some critics that was already the case in Dan Brown’s book, so let’s forget about that. Of course I won’t spoil the story for you, but do have to say that there are fantastic scenes. What do you think for instance of eliminating Silas with a balista from the one and only Leonardo Da Vinci?
The puzzles are well balanced. In the beginning the book can help you, but mind you, further on this won’t anymore! These riddles form certainly one of the strong points of the game. Variation and challenges aren’t absent either. During the game you’re bombed with knowledge and various facts. Sometimes you’ll have an advantage when knowing certain things, otherwise you’ll find the info you need in a constantly supplemented database. But it does give more satisfaction if you can get it out of your own memory.
The combat system has been said to be Hollywood style and I have to say this is the case for the whole game. The fights remind of the system in Fahrenheit (AKA Indigo Prophecy), but it was better there because you could choose the keys yourself. In this game the mouse is your aid. Pressing your left and right mouse button simultaneously is the hardest, because if you are too late with one button, even a millisecond, the action fails. This is very frustrating and costs your character health. The movements Robert and Sophie perform are beautiful, but it’s a pitty repetition of the annoying kind turns up later on in the game. Certain objects can be used as weapons, sneak attacks can be performed, your adversaries can be pushed or even thrown against something (that way combos can be carried out) and our two heroes know something of martial arts. The cooperation between the two of them is sometimes (unfortunately too rarely) excellent.
This is all fantastic, but the finishing touches are yet again absent. Physics are missing too. No matter how many times you hit your opponent, his face remains the same and the environment isn’t sensitive for anything either. It’s nice to be able to throw your enemy against something, but wouldn’t it have been nicer if you really could throw somebody over a table or through a window (pure Hollywood style, of course)?
The length of this adventure is exactly what is expected from this genre. 9 missions are at your disposal, plus 2 special ones. Those two last levels take place in respectively the Louvre and Rosslyn Chape. In the Louvre well-known and less known paintings can be looked at from close-by, and in Rosslyn your collection of ‘secrets’ can be watched. Those secrets are actually extras, collected throughout the missions, related to Leonardo Da Vinci. Those serve to increase the replaying value, but unless you’re interested in Da Vinci’s special machinery, it probably won’t convince you.
The way of saving isn’t that great either. During the game you’ll pass some saving points, but mind you, the game doesn’t record your progress automaticly, nor does it asks you to do this. If you forget about it, you’ll lose your progress in that mission when you exit. Unfortunately some bugs are still in this game too. For example, I once fell into a black hole, I had to reboot the game to get out of it. Another great problem is the speed, too often it increased that much it seemed as if I accidently pushed the fast forward button or as if every character is on drugs.
The graphics are comparable to those of few years old game. This should have been better.
I have to disappoint the fans: no Tom Hanks or Audrey Tatou. The actors who replace them do what they should do, but nothing more. A little more empathy wouldn’t have been that bad. Sometimes the sentences of characters are too late. I can imagine you’re still able to say something when you’re lying unconscious on the floor. Once in a while French is spoken, but because of the light accent it seems like they didn’t hire native Frenchies. The dialogues do have some funny moments. The non-English versions are subtitled, which is okay, aside from some minor translation mistakes (I have the Dutch version).
A while ago I told you that a well-known composer would take care of the music for this game. That’s audible, the music is really great. This is a strong point, I dare say this game’s strongest point. Brilliant!
For the fans and collectors. The others will probably be too much annoyed by the mistakes that are still in this game. I’m sure this would have been a hit if more time had gone into it.