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Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga Review

Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is the tale of a woman desperate to rescue her daughter. Looking into a new school is scary enough on its own, but when Hanna and her mother arrive for the tour they discover the school has been taken over by an evil witch, one who has kidnapped the school’s children and had needed only one more child to complete her spell. Now, with Hanna in her clutches, you must race against time to discover the secret of the witch’s power before it’s too late; both for Hannah and the world.
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by on 09-02-2012     
Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is the tale of a woman desperate to rescue her daughter. Looking into a new school is scary enough on its own, but when Hanna and her mother arrive for the tour they discover the school has been taken over by an evil witch, one who has kidnapped the school’s children and had needed only one more child to complete her spell. Now, with Hanna in her clutches, you must race against time to discover the secret of the witch’s power before it’s too late; both for Hannah and the world.

Right from the moment Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga opened on my screen I knew I was in for a treat. The graphics were beautiful, detailed, and so creepy. (See that vine at the bottom? Yeah, it has eyeballs in it.) And then the prompt for name and difficulty popped up and honestly? I was hooked.

Because instead of the usual pop-up style windows, these neat little boxes appeared. It was a very little thing, but who does that? What other game cares that much about even these little details? So I typed in my name, clicked play, and prepared myself for some good spooky fun. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.



One of the things that make or break a game for me, especially one that’s supposed to be scary, is the cheese factor. I don’t mind a cheesy scary game, mostly because it reminds me of a really bad horror movie (and sometimes those are the best). What I do mind is when the cheese is over the top, and not in a funny way. In that “we’re super scary, be scared of us!” way.

I find that, most of the time, the level of cheese is directly related to the vocal talent of a game (occasionally it’s the writing, because cheesy lines delivered by an epic voice actor are still cheesy). So when the first speaking lines began, I held my breath.

The first speaking character we’re introduced to is the daughter, who is about to be abducted by a witch. She wasn’t bad, but nothing special, so I counted it a win. Then the witch showed up and friends, it was love all over again. Not only was her design truly inspired, with her deathly pale skin and blood red hair and dress, but she just sounded so amazing.

I loved every little thing about her, from her pale-like-death skin to her blood red dress and hair. She was a witch worth fearing, and even though I also loved almost every other character I stumbled upon, she really stood out (as any good villain should). When a witch laughs, the world laughs with her (unless she’s laughing at you, in which case you’re too busy running).



As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of little things to love about Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga. I hadn’t realized how many things I just assumed would always be the same from game to game. For instance, if I asked you what your cursor should look like when you mouse over an area that needs to be explored, you would likely answer, “A magnifying glass!”

And you’d be right. Until Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga, I thought the same thing. But in this game, you’re cursor becomes a creepy eyeball. Why? Because that’s not what you’re expecting, its’ not the norm. And I loved it.

I also loved the big picture stuff, and Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga kept me on my toes there, too. Most of this game is spent trotting around with a magic sword in your inventory. Why? For slaying monsters. That’s right, you get to bust out your Sword of Strength (not making that up) and vanquish demons. I’m used to chopping up a fallen tree or pruning an overgrown bush to gain access to another area of play, but vanquishing demons? With my magic Sword of Strength? Hell. Yeah. Your time is coming, Evil Plant.



As for traditional game play, I don’t really have any complaints. I will admit to a touch of confusion, because Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is listed as a hidden object game, but there weren’t any of the traditional hidden object scenes. There were things to be collected, but no lists of things to be collected. Which I found odd, but not odd enough to stop playing. (I really, reeeaaally wanted to defeat the witch).

I also thought the puzzles were pretty simplistic, if occasionally really confusing (I had no idea what the point of some of them were). Luckily, there’s an in-game strategy guide, so if I was left staring blankly at a puzzle, I would just pull it up to figure out what the point was. Once I got past that kind of hurdle, though, I never had any issues.

To be fair, though, I was playing on the lowest difficulty setting. So I assume if you want a challenge you can just ramp it up. Not sure how they’d make some of those puzzles more challenging (Like the vase/medallions one. There’s only so many ways two pieces can go on any one vase.) but it’s gotta be more challenging than what I did.



For me, Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga was the game that kept on giving. There were awesome bad guys, beautiful and haunting scenery, and a lovely soundtrack. I honestly can’t remember a moment of annoyance or anger (just a hint of confusion every now-and-again).

Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga even managed to solve the hated problem of endless wanderings. If you’re more than a few scenes away, and you finally find that critical piece you need, never fear: you won’t have to tromp back. Instead, one of the kidnapped children will appear and insist that you hurry; then they’ll make you a nice portal to travel through. Oh yeah, now you’re thinking with portals.



There’s so much more I want to talk about, so much more I enjoyed about this game (I haven’t even mentioned the part where you use a nail gun to transform an evil plant into and evil plant bridge (so many lolz)), but at this point it would just be waxing poetic.

What’s the meat of the matter? Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is nothing but a good time. The whole thing is covered in delightful little details and creepy vines with eyeballs in them. It’s the kind of game that’s not just about getting from point A to point B; it’s about discovering the history built around the mystery.

Another charming touch in Gothic Fiction: Dark Saga is the book you collect throughout the game that tells you all about the witch’s past. Is it critical to gameplay? No. Does it add a layer of world-building that so many games lack? Yes. Yes it does. Any game can get the big picture right, but the little things? The little things are a gift.

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