Game Reviews

1112, Episode 02

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| 1112 episode 02
1112, Episode 02
| 1112 episode 02

The subtly sophisticated adventure series 1112 soared with promise, but this follow up episode falls under the weight of several shortcomings.

Despite bearing the same remarkable sense of style, it fails to live up to the potential of the first due to an absence of features, nonexistent story, and technical flaws.

1112, Episode 02 picks up right from the end of the last game, when protagonist Louis Everett wakes from a blackout to find himself in New York City. Nightmarish visions add to Louis's problems, which you're tasked to solve.

In style

The mechanics of play remain consistent with other adventure games: scouring scenes for interactive objects by drawing a finger across the screen, chatting to characters, and completing cerebral puzzles.

There's nothing here that won't catch you by surprise if you've played other adventure games, aside from its impressive style and effective visual and audio design. Venturing into a dark room in 1112, Episode 2 is genuinely creepy.

Interesting characters like Cletus the hot dog cart guy and his fiery girlfriend Conchita bring depth to the game. Calming Conchita's temper over Cletus's reluctance to propose marriage, for example, involves finding a nice engagement ring and watching them kiss and make up. 1112 is unique among adventure games for this focus on character interaction, rather than relying on static object puzzles.

Missing features and questionable execution, however, dampen its appeal. 1112, Episode 02 repackages the difficult object-hunting of the first instalment without any of the sorely needed aides present in the genre's best titles.

Lost in translation

A new interface allows you to hold a finger to the screen and drag it around to highlight interactive objects, but it isn't an ideal setup. It's easy to miss items and end up stuck because you can't find a required object. The lack of a hint system or the ability to make all hot spots in a scene appear makes the game unnecessarily frustrating.

Then there are the technical flaws. In a few scenes, you're able to interact with objects that don't even appear on the screen. Tap the centre of an empty hotel room, for example, and you're prompted to examine a maid who isn't there.

Poor localisation not only results in frequent misspellings and odd phrases, but also sections that are completely untranslated. Interacting with several objects prompts options in French, not English. It's hard to know what to do when you can't understand what's written.

To be continued

A "previously on 1112" vignette fills you in on the events of the last episode, though it's not much help in setting the scene. 1112, Episode 01 was unusual as an adventure game for its purposeful abandonment of plot in favour of character sketches. Interactions with the various people in Louis's life made for a nuanced, artful adventure.

In 1112, Episode 02 where characters have no personal tie to Louis therefore rendering such sketching difficult, the threadbare nature of the story is a glaring weakness. Absolutely nothing gets resolved in the course of five hours' play time. Any questions as to why Louis wakes up in New York City, his strange visions, and precisely what is going on are never answered.

The game closes with a ridiculous cliffhanger that leaves you more confused than eager to continue the adventure. It's completely dissatisfying. 1112, Episode 02 can't be given the same benefit of the doubt as the first episode because it isn't a pilot or preface.

The principal players have been introduced and the inability to direct them in a meaningful story makes for an underwhelming follow up. Combined with an inadequate interface and poor localisation, the inability of 1112, Episode 02 to deliver a compelling narrative makes it an unlikeable sequel.

1112, Episode 02

An inadequate interface, poor localisation, and underdeveloped story make 1112, Episode 02 a disappointing follow up