Quantic Dream’s Indigo Prophecy was David Cage’s first big budget title for current consoles in 2005. Yes they had Omikron: The Nomad Soul out on PC and Dreamcast six years before Indigo Prophecy dropped. But Omikron wasn’t the easiest game to play on a console; I’m still trying to make some progress in that game. Cage’s PlayStation game seemed to be a much more streamlined affair.
Built for a console, it took full advantage of that console’s power. For the record, I played this title through a component cable on my flat screen television. And if you still own your PS2 you should do the same. Every game I’ve played on it since I moved it to my main television, and they have looked significantly better. But I digress, let us talk about this early David Cage game!
Cage’s games are largely story based with little action to go around. This fact generally turns the casual gamer away from his games, they want explosions and shooting; they don’t want to have to think and figure out a twisting and turning narrative. Personally, I enjoy games like these, ones that have multiple branching story arcs and several endings. When I was little I was an avid reader of a little series called Choose Your Own Adventure. In those books, you were given options at the end of certain pages. Then your story would go the way of your choice once you turn to that page. Cage’s games are very similar to that, other than the fact that his games are aimed at adults. I’ve seen many digital boobs while playing his titles.
This story is somewhat of a murder mystery. It starts off in a diner where you see the murder take place. Then it all gets funky. You get to see the story through four protagonists eyes, first you play as Carla and Tyler the two detectives on the murder case. Then as a switch, you get to play as Lucas, the murderer, and his brother, Markus. You get to see a lot of New York, a lot of the past and some very interesting “other” places. I don’t want to delve too much further into the story just in case you’ve not played through this title; spoiling it would be pretty crappy.
Now, seeing as this game is billed within the game as a movie the gameplay isn’t too advanced. You control one of the four protagonists with the left thumbstick. The right thumbstick controls the camera. And when it is time for action you press the right thumbstick in the direction the game tells you. There are “mini-games” that you must pass to continue your story. If you’ve ever played, Simon, you should be pretty good at these games. Two circles come up on the screen and you must use both thumbsticks to match what the circles are doing. They aren’t too difficult. But when you do some battles and it lasts five to ten minutes it can run you dry.
Other events have to do with pressing left trigger and right trigger quickly to pass an event. There are a few design options that can almost halt your progress in the game unless you have the patience of a Jedi. Once I got the hang of the “mini-games” I began to tear through all the levels and really sink my teeth into the story. This actually the most important part of the game; to tell an amazing story without letting controls get in the way.
There are some PS2 games that have not aged well, Indigo Prophecy is NOT one of them. This game looks as though it was made yesterday. Quantic Dream really knew how to take the PlayStation 2 hardware and push it to its limits. The mo-cap on the faces it great. And it looked better than Mass Effect: Andromeda before they patched the game.
The game does play and look like a murder mystery movie. New York looks beautiful. And the snow falls constantly upon it. The background characters aren’t just fluff. They all look pretty unique and I find that pretty amazing for a PS2 game. David Cage loves to do split screen action and he does it well, there are moments when you are being timed and you get to watch who’s coming for you as you attempt to escape or search for something. I love that effect, it makes it feel like an actual interactive movie.
One thing that I do like, that most gamers hate, are the widescreen bars. I enjoyed this effect in The Evil Within and I enjoyed it in Indigo Prophecy as well. I don’t see how it takes away from the game. It makes it feel more like a movie to me. But I did grow up in the day where you had to buy “widescreen” DVD’s for your television to see everything. Most people aren’t used to that now and think it is a negative.
With David Cage writing and directing this title, you know it is going to send you on a twisted tale of murder, suspense, and love. You won’t be blown away by the controls or the mechanics, but you will be blown away by the story and the graphics of this game. When they released the HD version of this title, I’m sure they didn’t need to do a lot of sprucing to get it to look gorgeous. It looked gorgeous running off my PS2 with a component cable. Quantic Dream knows how to make a game gorgeous and David Cage knows how to make a game suspenseful. I’m always excited to play whatever they release.
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