[Video] Moebius: Empire Rising

They say the next big thing is here. That the revolution’s near. But to Malachi Rector it seems quite clear. That it’s all just a little bit of history repeating. And in Jane Jensen’s latest adventure, that’s absolutely right! (Note: Sorry about the nasty reverb. Didn’t become obvious until it was too late to re-record. Next time, better audio!)

Want the game? Buy Moebius DRM free on GOG.COM / On Steam

Spoiler Level: Safe. Lots of footage, but mostly things seen in trailers and the like, with discussion of the premise, but nothing that should spoil the story or main mysteries, and some careful cutting and blurring where needed.

Edits/Errata: When talking about Malachi and his bodyguard’s relationship, it’s really more ‘bromance’ (to use a horrible term) rather than anything actually going on. But a bit like A Certain BBC Program, the subtext is very much intended, referenced and reinforced at several points, even if the truth is more of an unusual friendship. Also, I said Vlad Dracul rather than Vlad Tepes/The Impaler, even though I know which one was the father, because I was a very sleepy idiot at that point in the recording. That’s my excuse at least, and I’m hiding under it.

Field Notes

Money, looks, a British accent... damn it, why is one out of three never enough?

Money, good looks, a British accent… damn it, why is one out of three never enough?

Yes, the epic quest to not completely suck at making videos continues!

There’s likely another Moebius related post on the way, digging into the main criticism in this video a little more deeply, but just a few quick words before then since there’s a fair amount of snark in the video and it’s one of those games where it’s hard to really talk about what works without spoilers or sounding dismissive – at least, with my rubbish voice. (I actually cut a big chunk out for that reason; it reminded me too much of Ray from The Mary Whitehouse Experience doing a game video. Lord, do I need more practice at all this nonsense…)

Without wanting to do a full review, I enjoyed this one – though I hoped for a lot more. (See? Both sides of that sentence are for real, but… sigh…) Moebius has a great premise and I enjoyed playing through it, even if it is much simpler than I expected in terms of story and puzzles. Now that’s not to say unimpressive. For its budget, Pinkerton/Phoenix did a hell of a job – much like Cognition, which also hit way above its weight class. That said, it’s a TV pilot rather than the movie I think the premise really promised, being rather insubstantial and oddly campy and most oddly, completely lacking in danger for a game that set out to be a metaphysical thriller.

And then…. that final chapter.

Oh god, oh, god, oh god… Rarely have I endured an hour of a game that so made me want to rush over and volunteer to redesign everything for some kind of Extended Cut style DLC fixer pack. Every. Single. Thing. About. It. Is. Wrong. Everything. I was amazed how bad it suddenly became. “Never even played an adventure” bad. If a dog had shat it out, you’d rub its nose in it to teach it a lesson. But a dog wouldn’t, because dogs wouldn’t end a globe-travelling adventure game with a ****ing cave maze! Only partly because they don’t have Unity licenses.

"Grace, have-" "Gretchen." "Sorry, don't know why I keep doing that." "No worries, Sherlock."

“Grace, have-” “Gretchen.” “Sorry, don’t know why I keep doing that.” “No worries, Sherlock.”

Really though, it’s just the focus that really got in my way, the spotlight firmly on Malachi’s Week Of Bromance, rather than the possibilities of Moebius itself. There are a couple of tiny nudges towards that later on, but nowhere near enough, with the result that by the end the big plot is literally shoved into the background – a major player dealt with off-screen, little sense that the walking MacGuffin could actually be the game-changer she’s bigged up as for reasons that only get worse with thought, one of the worst final chapters in ages and an ending that demands more emotional investment in the characters than the script has earned – up to and including a callback to something not even in the game. At least, not technically. It is in the prologue comic, I guess.

But! As much as I could pick and bitch about a lot of things, and there’s no shortage of things to pick and bitch at, I had a pleasant enough day poking through the story and don’t regret having Kickstarted it. If you watch the trailer and think “No,” trust your instincts. If you’re unsure, I’d skip it really, there are much better adventures. But, y’know, I had fun with it for what it was, even if it wasn’t all I’d hoped. Like Gray Matter, it’s not a game that’s going to stick in my head, but it made a decent warm-up for the MONTH OF ADVEEEEEEENTURE!

(Speaking of which, I have at least one more video planned for this month; possibly two depending on time and if one of them leads to joy or bitter tears. Oh, and no, the videos aren’t all going to be on adventures. When the industry drops ten years worth in one month though, well, forgive me my thirst for pointing and clicking.)