Alice gave the low-down on conspiracy-focused adventure-RPG Majestic Nights back in July. I liked the look of it for cramming every last UFO-spotting and government crop-dusting rumour into one storyline. Ambitious, yes, but an interesting concept I’d like to see the endgame of. What’s it like navigating a world where these things are obviously true? Now there’s a demo that also serves as a prequel, which you can read my thoughts on below, and a launch trailer for the first episode of the planned six.
It’s not the world I dislike. That’s a neon paradise – a caricatured, ’80s any-city, all flashing dance floors and awkwardly shaped instruments. Sharp suits in vast underground bunkers with circular doors, bouncers in straw hats and drug dealers in colourful pants. The writing, though it seems to forget the introduction and set-up of telling a story, does a fine job of characterising cold agency man John Cardholder. It’s careful to dance around flatly stating things, instead giving you the opportunity to work them out for yourself. The conspiracies come thick and fast, the Kennedy’s assassination being a backdrop to the early plot.
Unfortunately, I found the game behind all that mediocre, and occasionally outright broken. The puzzles consist entirely of talk-to-this-person, bring-them-this-item. There’s a dodgy stealth system using shadows, which is alright when it works. Combat is imprecise, making the large swathes of goons you often have to blast through an absolute chore. Worse than that, there are times when the scripting just straight up doesn’t work or character models glitch into the floor.
There are flashes of good ideas in there. Exploring areas and extending conversations will unlock ‘evidence’ which can be used to find new routes, convince characters you’re on their side or expand the storyline. Again it’s hampered by only half-working due to bad scripting or the frustrating combat it forces you through on the way. I didn’t manage to finish the demo, but your mileage may vary. You can also grab the first episode for a launch-discounted £3.39 or the full season for £12.74.