Oh marriage! What a fun and bouncy thing you are. Sharing your money, sharing your house, and in this case, sharing your mutual desire to kill one another.
It's all about compromises.
This is.... FACADE.
The concept of Facade is quite novel. Instead of relying on a preselected menu of actions, you can type and do whatever you want. The arrow keys/mouse look move your character around and the left mouse can interact with objects and people. You're invited to a party hosted by your newly married friends, Grace and Trip. Seems friendly enough, until youâ€™re about 10 seconds in. Before you even knock on the door, you can hear the two arguing up a storm. Little things like wine glasses and paintings easily rile them into a blind rage. Not exactly happy campers. One thing to remember is that the game doesn't give you a preset role, which opens up to an entire tree of possibilities. By no means are you required to destroy their marriage. You could try to save it, make false accusations about them cheating to, and even try to engage one of them in more (ahem) romantic situations. If you wanted, you could refuse to get involved completely and just watch from the sidelines. That's only a tiny portion of the outcomes possible.
I was astounded by the amount of character development Grace and Trip demonstrated throughout the game. Whether or not you pick sides in their arguments or just agitate to turn them even more against each other, Grace and Trip definitely show signs of change as the game progresses.Facade will bring out your deepest and most sinister demons. Youâ€™re not going to start bawling over the keyboard because it released repressed memories of when your own parents argued (join the club ), but you WILL be a jerk. The first time I played, I tried to pick a fight with Trip and get Grace to come home with me. It's positively irresistible! The AI in this game is so tuned and refined, that even the smallest remark gets a realistic and understandable reaction. Nothing seems out of place or odd. This is easily some of the best implementation of AI I've ever seen in a game.
The art design, facial expressions, and voice acting are beautifully done. Seeing as how the game is designed to be a drama, it fits into it's role well. There's a soft ominous soundtrack that plays throughout and will change depending on your actions. What I found most interesting though, was that there's no way to win or lose. The choices you make in this game are your own. No high scores, no extra lives, no killstreaks. Just pure and unadulterated human interaction. At times, it gave me the heebie jeebies.
Facade is a game everybody should play at least once. It's superb execution of real time conversational AI is astounding and immersive, while still leaving plenty of replay value for the next time around. Also, Grace is one attractive pile of pixels.
Before I leave you, I have but one warning.
Edited by frickfrock999 - 10/27/11 at 6:31pm