Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride - HighrezGaming

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Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride / 13th of June 2016

Any regular readers will surely know by now that I have come to appreciate the brilliant change of pace that Artifex Mundi’s work brings to console gaming, a break from the overwhelming supply of first-person shooters, sports games and what not. The hidden object genre hasn’t exactly flourished, but with self-publishing on consoles now a reality, they’re obviously finding some degree of success, and this can only be a good thing in the interests of maintaining a satisfactory level of variety in the releases that are being made available. Of course, if you’ve played an Artifex Mundi game before, you pretty much know exactly what it is you’re in for, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing new to see here, far from it actually.

Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride pits players into the role of a woman travelling back home for her sister’s wedding, unfortunately for her, not all is as it seems, and following an attack by a gargantuan bear, her sister is taken captive. And so the hunt begins, for the bear, and for the truth to bring to light a dark, nefarious presence hiding just beneath the surface of this quaint little hamlet, as well as the mysteries of an area known only as The Abyss. Now, the narrative, characters and dialogue are hardly the stuff of a AAA game, let alone something more cinematic, but that hardly has any impact upon the overall experience, in fact, Artifex Mundi somehow have a knack of still making the player care about resolving their protagonist’s dilemmas, and that, quite frankly is quite an achievement in and of itself. The major attractions to these games though, are obviously the puzzles themselves, and as usual, the team don’t let themselves down.

There are multiple types of conundrums available as one would expect, with the bulk of these taking the form of a Hidden Object Scene (HOS), here players scour a screen full of items to collect a specified list of objects. What’s great about this particular release is that all of these sequences can instead be played out as a sort of domino game wherein players receive tiles with images on them which must be placed adjoining another identical image. By doing so, the player can create paths across the screen as they attempt to place a tile on every picture of the game’s bear found on the board. This mode is anything but challenging, but it certainly makes for a refreshing change from the norm, and encourages repeat plays by entirely altering the core game experience – of course, achievement hunters will want to make sure that they complete it twice to procure a hefty amount of points anyway.

On top of these, there are also various other puzzles scattered around the expansive environment, and quite frankly they present a step up in difficulty from those that other Artifex Mundi releases have offered on Xbox One before, but to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. Many of these new challenges force the player to backtrack, but as usual the game map displays the locations where actions can be completed, ensuring that no player is ever left unsure about where to go next, even if they don’t know what to do when they get there. Some of the brain teasers here are real head scratchers, though there is a fairly gentle difficulty curve to ease players in, and with the all-too useful hint system still in place, nobody should struggle to reach the end of the game.

As always, the art style employed here is highly detailed and full of rich colour, perfectly bringing to life the lurid and mysterious rural locale that the team have created here, and whilst the animation is still pretty weak, there can be no doubt that Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride is a highly stylised and rather pretty looking game. Maintaining the status quo too is the audio, as the voice acting is typically unconvincing and altogether wooden, but the score as always is a perfect match to supplement the visuals, it’s certainly not going to win any awards but as with every other key element within the game, it does the job admirably.

The Xbox One release comes with a bonus chapter that follows on from the events of the main game and features a wealth of collectibles to extend its lifespan and make it an even better purchase that it would have been anyway, but then fans of the genre aren’t really going to be worried about that when it comes to an Artifex Mundi release. Ultimately then, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride doesn’t break new ground, it doesn’t try to, and quite frankly it doesn’t have to. What Artifex Mundi do though is get all of the essentials spot on, surely no other developer in the world can match their work rate and consistency in this particular genre, and as always, after playing their latest release, I find myself eagerly anticipating the next one.

James Paton
 
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