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Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony Review

Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony is the story of an unlucky bystander accidentally caught up in the world of the mob. Taken to an island to be silenced for good, a strange and ghostly change of fate finds you alone and fighting to find a way out. Now you must travel through time to right the wrongs done in the past in order to set three trapped ghosts free and earn your passage home.
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by on 08-05-2012     
Ever get to the end of a really great ghost movie and think to yourself, “Man, that needed more gangsters.” Or, halfway through a gangster marathon, wondered how much more awesome the whole thing would be with ghosts? Well, neither had I. Until now.

Ghost story meets gangster tale in Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony, and I loved the mash up. In this game, you play the part of an unfortunate innocent bystander who happened to be the only surviving witness to a mob scene gone wrong. But, because the mob can’t have witnesses just running about, you soon find yourself on the creepiest island on earth, awaiting your eventual demise.

Through an eerie twist of fate, though, the gangsters end up dead, and you find yourself stranded on the island, working to collect the soul stones that will buy you passage home. This is one treasure hunt you’re sure to never forget.

The only way to get a soul stone is to set one of the ghosts on the island free (duh), and the only way to set the soul free is to fix a grave mistake from their past (see what I did there?). How is one to achieve this, you might ask? Why, by traveling through ghostly time-wormholes. How else?

The best part about this, for me, is that it opens up a large world without making it impossible for me to navigate. Now, instead of remembering how many left turns I took to get where I am, I just find a ghost, activate it, then go through the wormhole to a very manageably-sized side world. Perfect, fun, and so, so do-able. Go ahead, ghost/gangster dude, tell me your woes. I got this.

And you know what else was perfect? The hidden object games. One of the things that gets on my nerves the most during these kinds of games is the completely random piles of crap you have to collect in order to receive a button or a key or a handle of some sort. I’m always left wondering why I needed that piece of cotton candy to find a freaking handle. How were they related?

But in Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony, I never had to wonder about that. Instead of having to collect 30 random pieces, each item I collected unveiled, unlocked, or fixed the next one, so that in the end, I was left standing with only the item I needed. It was brilliant and, much more unusual for hidden object games, logical. Which was awesome.

The mini-games were also fun, but slightly less logical and more in the usual realm of wtf I’ve come to expect from hidden object games. Here’s a good example: I had to make five angel figurines wage war against five devil figurines in order to unlock a church door. Yeah, that happened.

The atmosphere of Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony also left me with a grin on my face. Haunting music (the only lyrics seemed to be a reoccurring “eeeeeevil” sang quietly in the background), beautiful graphics, and great voice actors all added to the things I loved, loved, loved about this game.

I've noticed that games going for "scary" tend to have really overdone scripts, trying to force the player into believing the game is scary. Not so with Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony. It was just a delight from start to finish.

The only thing that gave me pause was the characters. This game used live actors that were edited into the game. It was kind of neat, and kind of strange, and I really don’t know how I feel about them. Because on the one hand you get faces (and wigs) like this:

But on the other you get ghosts like this:

And I loved that guy, and most of the gangsters. So I suppose you could say I’m undecided, leaning toward awesome. Because all those live characters mean costumes, and I adored all the costumes.

In fact, I’ll just come out and say it: I adored Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony. I loved the spooky music (eeeeevil), the downright creepy island, the kick-ass helper crow (Did I mention that? Because you totally get one), the beautiful and haunting graphics, the logical hidden-object games, even the crazy puzzles and mini-games. That’s right, I even got a kick out of the angel vs. devil church door.

Although, to be fair, another puzzle had me shuffling objects around a board, trying to free a can of cat food, and that one I didn’t particularly care for. I hate those shuffle-y puzzles in the real world, and my usual tactic is to tear the pieces out and pop them all back in the right place, but that’s kind of hard to do in a computer game. Ugh, stupid cat food.

One of the things I think most people are looking for in any game is a world that grabs you and keeps you interested, and for me that’s exactly what Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony did.

I wanted to collect those soul stones to get off that island (and take a ride with that ghost cowboy dude, he was awesome). I wanted to figure out how to make drugged coffee so I could knock the gangster guard out and get into the mine to save the millionaire’s daughter. I wanted to believe the gangster and ghost genres could overlap seamlessly. Because you know what? In Redemption Cemetery: Grave Testimony they really, really did. Was it perfect? No. But I loved every minute.

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