Today's gamers have undoubtedly set their expectations high with regards to specific elements of games such as gameplay, graphics, and plot. The balance between these mechanics has unfortunately slowly killed off the classic adventure games beloved be so many. This is because games such as Myst rely so heavily on the narrative to immerse the player with gameplay centering mostly around puzzles (either exploratory or interactive based). When a game like Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok comes along two things occur. One, the dated mechanics of the classic adventure game shows heavily, but more importantly, the reason many of us love and respect this type of game shines through stronger than ever.
Classic adventure gaming is the focus of Baron Wittard as this is a point-and-click adventure, and if you loathe this mechanic than you probably will not enjoy this game. For those that remember and enjoy this style of play, you will find Wittard to be an enthralling experience for many reasons.
From the gameplay to the story, Wax Lyrical Games definitely wanted to warm that nostalgic part of your heart that's been longing for another puzzle-driven adventure. Your character is a news reporter who's been assigned a story about a failed attempt at creating a Utopian city under one roof. Some will find the opening live-action cutscene to bring back memories of classic games that used this style of storytelling. Others might see it as being a little too rough around the edges to connect with. Upon finding a way inside the deserted compound you discover some interesting secrets, and each piece of information scattered about the creepy corridors adds to the life of the story in its own way.
The plot is a very interesting concept, but you have to be willing to immerse yourself in the story to truly enjoy this game. The dialogue can be very thick at times and some of the information that you have to store in your memory can be daunting. If you take your time and embrace each new area instead of just trying to conquer the game then Wittard can be quite engrossing. The story is only one piece of creating this world, and in order to succeed at enveloping you, the gameplay and art must also be on par.
Puzzles, a whole slew of puzzles, are strewn about the massive city within a mansion. These aren't your easy, casual puzzles either. No, these puzzles will force you pump all the think-juice you have stored in your brain to overcome them. Even getting into the building at the very beginning requires you to solve two tricky puzzles. Don't let some of these seemingly unconquerable puzzles keep you from trying Wittard out though because most of them are very fun and nicely integrated into the world to ensure full immersion.
Saving my applause on a specific part of Baron Wittard for last, I have to mention something special about this title. The developer, Wax Lyrical Games, is composed of two individuals; Alan Thornand and Marlies Maalderink. Yes, I said only two people created this entire game with some help in the audio department. While plenty of development teams have very few members involved in the creation of their titles, the reason this feat is so amazing is because the art and detail of Baron Wittard is extremely impressive. Every inch of every room is fully crafted down to the tiniest of cracks in the wall. To assist in allowing the player to fully take in such beautiful artwork, Wax Lyrical also introduced a fully rotational camera. While you're still on a fixed rail in terms of movement, you can look in every direction from every point of standing. Puzzles that rely on information to solve go hand in hand with this design as it forces the player to scour every area from the ceiling to the floor for clues.
I found Baron Wittard to be a very refreshing game to play in a world that seems to have lost touch with the importance that the narrative can have on a gaming experience. If you enjoy a deep story or challenging puzzles, or both, than you'd be a fool for not trying this one out. While the style can be archaic at times; amazing art, great puzzles, and a suspenseful story make Baron Wittard necessary for any adventure fans gaming library.
[Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok]-$29.99 (PC)