Wallace & Gromit: The Last Resort Review
Monday, May 11, 2009 4:15 PM
Telltale present their second Wallace & Gromit adventure, and there's a mystery afoot.
However, we don't find that out right away of course. There's the set-up to consider. It's a typical British summer, and when the rest of the town's holiday plans are ruined by the weather, Wallace hits on the idea of transforming his house into a sunshine paradise.
Once that's done he has to make sure each of his holidaymakers are happy, and then the mystery starts, whereupon Gromit has to find out whodunit.
As you can tell, there's quite a lot to do here. For an episodic adventure The Last Resort is fairly large, and none of it wasted.
First I'd better address a problem many people found in the first episode, and that's the humour. Now, at no point does the game fall into telling unfunny jokes (like the recent Leisure Suit Larry, Simon the Sorcerer 4 and so many other poor adventures), but at the same time Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures doesn't have the laugh-out-loud gag rate that typifies the films or Telltale's other games.
The Last Resort continues this trend, but it still never gets boring. It's amusing
, but never hysterical. There are a few good laughs, but mostly just pleased smiles. Is this a bad thing? In my opinion no, but it's important to realise what you're getting here. These games are a fan service, and those just tagging along for the laughs might be put off. Still, for obsessive fans, it's a shame that the books in the bookcase are still bee-related.
What might legitimately put some adventure game fans off is the news that the puzzles aren't quite as polished as those found in the first episode. The breakfast-making that starts episode 1 actually had me stuck for a while, but this time it's over in a couple of clicks. Same goes for the ending. Both were quite neat and well-designed in Fright of the Bumble Bees, but here there was no actual puzzle-solving on my part; I just clicked a few random things.
Thankfully there is some pretty good puzzling to be had. I was stumped once or twice, although admittedly both were because I'd missed something. I'd say this episode is slightly easier than episode 1, but I'm sure that there's a fair few who won't be complaining about that. However, seasoned adventure gamers be warned.
It must be said that I enjoyed all of my time in West Wallaby Street Water World, with the story being must of the reason. It's a very entertaining tale, and I've always wanted to take part in a whodunit murder. Admittedly, you know the assailant from the start and it's a 'good thumping' rather than a 'murder' per se (leading to great lines where the word 'murder' is replaced by 'thumping'), but that doesn't spoil the fun of proving who the culprit is to everyone else.
Particularly to local bobby on the beat, PC Dibbins. Once again this slightly mental cop steals the episode in my opinion, showing overconfidence and arrogance when he clearly hasn't a clue what he's doing. Still, all of the characters from the first episode get a lot more to do here and all deliver spot-on performances. The only new faces are Ms Flitt's two sweet/psychotic dogs, and an arrogant Scotsman whose name gave me the biggest laugh in the whole game (I won't spoil it).
Speaking of characters, it'd be remiss if I didn't mention the stars. Gromit is even more perfectly animated this time around (how is that even possible?), and I've really got used to Dan Whitehead's Wallis impersonation - this was helped by Telltale sorting out the volume problem where Wallis was drowned out by the music in episode 1. This is good news, especially since there's still just one pointless general volume control in the options menu.
Despite not being quite as good as the first episode, I think The Last Resort is still a solid and fun episode. It's a shame that you can only buy all four episodes at once and not pick and choose, but I don't think Telltale will disappoint with the other episodes, because I certainly enjoyed myself here. I don't think any fan of Wallace & Gromit could stay in The Last Resort and not walk away satisfied.