Border Reivers

cover (10)

A mid-length parser game, I played for about an hour and reached an ending. Archie Elliot, a local laird has been murdered, and, what with the local situation somewhat..fraught…between the clans, as Walter, educated son of the Earl, you need to find out what happened and unmask the murderer.

The game takes place in the well researched, well written historical and atmospheric setting of 15th century Scotland. There are no puzzles, as such, in this game – primarily, we are required to wander around the tower and interrogate a cast of many many NPC’s – that there are so many people to talk to, who, in general, give intelligent responses to most of your questions, is impressive.

In the end, though, what the gameplay devolves into is having a list of about 8 topics, then going from person to person and asking about each topic. Then the game ends. It feels like a missed opportunity. It becomes apparent, very quickly, from shifty and/or panicky looks, who the murderers are – however, I didn’t find any real evidence. Just reaction.

When the game ended, I was correct – but I still don’t have any evidence, or the hows and whys of it all. The ending was a bit of a confusion. I had a quick look at the walkthrough, and think I got the ‘bad’ ending. But was this my fault?

So, top marks for setting, some good writing and the large NPC list, but I wish I had real tasks to do – evidence to uncover – that further topics were uncovered after I’ve hit certain points in the game. I wish the ending had been driven by my actions than rather a timer.

I wish also that the NPC’s had been more active – perhaps not moving about, as that can make gameplay painful, but responding to my presence – interacting with one another. 6/10.


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