Second time’s the charm, right?
As promised, here is my review of the second playthrough of The Quiet Man. Subtitled Answered, this version comes with sound (unlike the first time) and that is really the only difference. Although the addition of sound doesn’t seem like it would change much, I would argue that it did shake things up in unexpected ways both in the combat and story departments.
Let’s start with the combat. If you can recall, The Quiet Man teaches you the player absolutely nothing about it. You must learn the controls through trial and error. I complained about that approach in my first review (while still kind of liking it at the same time). Although The Quiet Man: Answered doesn’t teach you anything about the combat as well, I discovered that I had apparently learned more about it than I thought I did. The fighting sequences were a breeze the second time. I used all that I had learned to defeat all the enemies much faster. Additionally, I died only three times during the second playthrough compared with like fifteen times the first time. Having completed the game twice now, I have gained an appreciation for the combat which I did not have following the first playthrough.
What helped me the most this time around was the Focus mechanic which I had only discovered in the last hour of my first playthrough. You accrue Focus by hitting opponents and dodging attacks. Once the Focus fills to a certain point, you can unleash it for faster and more powerful attacks. You can tell that your Focus is charged up when the screen takes on a bluish tint. There is no gauge, you must solely rely on this blue coloring. I wish I had known about the Focus mechanic sooner but it was kind of cool to figure it out on my own. Unfortunately, even with Focus, the camera angles and onscreen lighting still sucked.
Now we come to the story. During the second hour of my first playthrough, while watching yet another cutscene without sound or subtitles, my only wish was to be able to hear what was being said. When I finally did hear what was being said, my only desire was for everyone to stop talking. Most of the voice acting is bad but that isn’t the worst part. The dialogue is so questionable that I’m surprised anyone thought it was a good idea. Almost all of it is stereotypical bordering on racist. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the fact I could finally understand what was going on. I just wish I didn’t have to cringe at every other line. Overall, the story was fine but man do those lines really need some work.
What was really remarkable is that, although I had seen all of the scenes the first time (without sound of course), I discovered that there were several plot twists hidden in plain sight. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the way the story was presented messed with expectations. I thought I had figured out all of the main plot details but it turns out I was wrong. Some of the assumptions I had made were turned on their head once I could hear the characters speaking. I had misinterpreted many key events during the story. The way The Quiet Man pulled this off is nothing short of genius in my mind. Despite all of its faults, this facet of the game made it well worth my time. This is The Quiet Man’s greatest triumph.
Even after writing all these words, I still truly do not know how to properly describe The Quiet Man. The combat is clunky but, in the end, I got the hang of it by the second playthrough and I did enjoy its trial and error approach. The story is unintelligible when you are forced to experience it in silence during the first playthrough but, after hearing the dialogue the second time I, I kind of wish everyone had remained quiet. I am still amazed at how the game toyed with my expectations during the first playthrough. Having completed The Quiet Man twice now, I will say that, despite the low scores I have given it both times, I don’t hate the game. It is an interesting and inexpensive experiment (only $14.99) and I’m glad that I got to experience it. It is certainly not for everybody but if you’re looking for a game that is outside the norm then look no further than The Quiet Man.
Final Score: 6/10
- Combat wasn’t so bad the second time
- Toys with expectations in unexpected ways
- Lighting and camera angles during fights still suck
- Voice acting is a mixed bag
- Stereotypical bordering on racist dialogue
Thanks for reading and come back on Tuesday for the final review of the year on The Pretend Gamer!
p.s. “The Quiet” by Imogen Heap (the final song on The Quiet Man’s OST) is catchier than it has any right to be.