Agon: The Mysterious Codex - PC - Review - PC - Review
Well, what do we have here? Another point-and-click adventure game. It seems it was just last week that I reviewed an adventure game which still proves that people are still playing and buying these games. But what happens when a game comes out that's already been released? In fact the "release" of the game isn't even the entire game since the game is still being developed but in episodes.
This is the dilemma facing AGON for the PC. You see the release of AGON is really a collection of the first three episodes that are available for download. Point you browser to http://www.agongame.com to find out all about AGON. The recently released boxed version is only part of the entire AGON series. According to the Web site the game is broken up into 14 different episodes that will available for download. Currently only episodes 1, 2 and 3 are available with episode 4 (titled Toledo) being mentioned as coming soon. Besides the convenience of having a boxed copy of the game is there any differences between the online versions and boxed version? Not really. The big difference is not having to purchase all three episodes individually from the Web site. Now on with the proper review.
AGON is based upon the adventures of Professor Samuel Hunt, who works at the British Museum. Professor Hunt receives a mysterious letter one day with a puzzle regarding artifacts recently taken into possession at the museum. Determined to solve the meaning of the puzzle and mysteries of the AGON (Ancient Games of Nations) the Professor will search for clues in three cities: London, Lapland and Madagascar. What the Professor uncovers is the AGON is a series of board games that he must win in order to unlock the next mystery and the next game. Instead of just having an adventure game AGON is an adventure game and board game in one package.
The point-and-click (P/C) portion of the game is presented in the same viewpoint that the majority of P/C games are played out in, first-person view. AGON thankfully gives players the ability to see the entire area in a 360 degree view. Simply drag the mouse in any direction and your view will follow. This creates more of a challenge in looking for clues (which is a good thing) since you're not just searching a static location. Now you need to search every angle for each location you explore in the game. You're still limited to moving your cursor until an arrow comes up letting you know that you can move to a different room or area in the game.
As in every other P/C game out AGON follows the same formula of signaling that an item can be picked up by changing the cursor. If you see the cursor change to a hand or gear then you can either pick up or use the item. The rest of the game is spent trying to figure out the various puzzles and mysteries scattered everywhere in order to unlock the next location to explore. Puzzles are usually solved by picking up an item that can be combined with another item or reading books to solve various puzzles. Combining the items together is a piece of cake since the game provides you with obvious clues if you can or cannot use an item. However you will need to get your notebook and pens ready for the text puzzles.
The game doesn't include a memory inventory of the various articles and books that you read in the game. For example, early in the game you will read several books that have a variety of phone numbers and clues included. When I finally found a particular item that I could input a specific number or text clue the game didn't offer any reminders or auto populate the information. It was up to me to either keep these fresh in my mind or written down somewhere to reference. This probably isn't a big deal to the majority of you out there that play P/C games but it's something that I've seen become less of a burden in other games.
Visually the game is a nice-looking title with excellent textures, colors and detail for all of the various locations in the game you explore. I was particularly impressed with the water effects during an early part of the game that produced a very nice reflective feature that looked great. The game included a feature that took me by surprise at first which was seeing the reflection of Professor Hunt in windows. The character models were adequately detailed but just didn't match the quality and details found in the building and area graphics. The game included short cinematic cutscenes during segments of the game between some of the characters. Even though the characters looked the same as their in-game model the cutscenes would made the characters look washed out.
The storyline of the game is really where the majority of P/C gamers get hooked. If the story is great then it's a pleasure playing the game, but if the story is weak then it can become a task trying to finish the game. I would say that the story in AGON is a mixture of great parts and equally dull parts. Learning the mysteries and legacy of the AGON is interesting but reading through pages of pointless information for nothing is never fun. The voice acting in the game is well done for most of the characters, such as Professor Hunt, but sometimes the voice acting becomes aggravating. When the voice acting is great it helps to keep the story interesting.
By this point you probably already know if you're going to play this game. If you're the P/C gamer that's been hooked on these games since Myst, or even earlier games, then you might have already downloaded the first three episodes of AGON. If you have, then there is no reason to pick up the boxed copy unless you want to have the boxed copy as a spare. For those that haven't downloaded the episodes already then AGON is another interesting point-and-click adventure game. The storyline is interesting at times, the graphics top notch in most of the game and the board games are a great challenge to play (and change the tone of the game). Once you beaten one of the board games that game becomes playable at any time. The AGON Web site even has an online version of the board games (called NetBoard) available for download.
|Review Scoring Details for AGON: Ancient Games of Nations|
This is a solid point-and click adventure game. The puzzles range from easy to extremely challenging. The board games are a nice diversion that can become their own obsession.
All of the location graphics look great with impressive texture and details. Nothing that will have your 7800 graphics card begging for mercy but the game won't make you cringe in disgust.
The majority of the voice acting in the game was well done but at times the voice acting can get on your nerves. The music in the game is kept to a minimum except during the cutscenes. Usually only a few notes are played in most of the game to help set the atmosphere of the game.
I like what the game is trying to do, which is offer players the ability to download an adventure game in episodes. Unfortunately the actual game isn't much different from the countless other point-and-click adventure games on the market today. Hopefully the remaining 11 episodes will get released.
The boxed version of the game is a single-player-only game. You can try out the NetBoard versions of the board games on the http://www.agongame.com Web site, which supports online multiplayer.
AGON is another point-and-click adventure game that won't impress gamers who swore off the genre long ago. But it still offers a competent and entertaining adventure that will keep games busy at least for a short while. At least if you buy the boxed copy you know where to go to find the new episodes.