By Adam Smith on July 31st, 2012 at 3:00 pm.
Just as experiences of bad customer service travel faster than a speeding Usain bullet, games that are released in a problematic state are spoken of far and wide. It’s all too easy to ignore the positive response to such issues so here’s an acknowledgement that Dreampainters, whose debut release is the horror adventure Anna, are listening to feedback. Although a patch isn’t going to fix all of my criticisms of the game, the first update does address lots of technical issues and shows a commitment to improving the quality of the puzzles as well. Full changelog below.
- Language support added: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Turkish, Russian. Voices in English, Italian.
- Texts reviewed to help on hardest puzzles
- Some object has been moved to help exploration
- Fix on supernatural events system upstairs
- Fix for “superfast” mouse : the mouse speed setting is now a lot more effective
- Invert Mouse option added
- “ESC” key supported to get in the menus
- General performance optimization
- Fix on help system
- Fix on “Portal” event in alternative downstairs (wasn’t appearing, now it works)
- Fix on “Tomb” event in the attic (was too rare)
- Review on audio volumes
- Added credit songs to “Soundtrack.zip”
First the basic stuff. Easier access to the menu and mouse fixes are much appreciated. I didn’t actually have any performance problems (or in the game) so I can’t say for sure if performance has improved, but I know of people who did have stuttering framerates. Hopefully that has been improved.
I can’t really comment on the event occurrences either since that’d mean playing through the game again and I don’t have time, but I doubt they’re the most important change anyway.
More helpful text and object positioning is what the game needed and should make a couple of sequences much less frustrating. This isn’t about sucking the difficulty out, nor is it about cutting the experience short. Both of those things will be a side effect of the changes but the occasionally excellent atmosphere was diluted whenever I found myself revisiting the same corners of the same rooms, poking my cursor at the same dark shadows. The story should feel like an incomprehensible rush toward madness, the player and character never hesitating, because to question the necessity of progression makes the endgame much less effective.
Horror often involves being chased, or made to feel so, but in Anna it is found through pursuit, investigation and discovery. What is frightening lies ahead, not behind, and so there must be a compelling reason to continue. Hitting a brick wall of an object hunt was a compelling reason to stop and it’s the recognition of that, more than any technical tweak, that could really change the game for the better.