Review: Hector: Badge of Carnage

Okay, so recently I played the “Hector” trilogy of adventure games, developed by Straandlooper in association with Telltale Games. It’s basically a three-part episodic series. I generally don’t like episodic games, as I feel they lack depth from the complex, overlapping, longer story arcs that you see in tv shows but (strangely) not games. Well, I haven’t played them for a while so maybe this isn’t true anymore. But it turned me off them pretty early on.

I’m just going to break this into the pros and cons of the game.

Pros: Snappy dialogue. Amusing characters. Tricky but not absurdly complex puzzles. Voice acting was good, except for the lack of female actor in the first episode (so there was just a Pantomime Dame voice or three)

Cons: Over-the-top grotesque gags (seriously, I love dirty, inappropriate, irreverent things… but this was a little too far at times!). All female characters were especially unlikable slags. Inaccessible player character, protecting a town that was shit. I found myself aligning with the villain’s motivation to “clean up this town” more than Hector’s unwilling desire to find his pants and stop said villain.

Seriously. Like, the protagonist is the smartest of a town of the scum of the world, he’s not really interested in saving people, but for some reason he does. It’s almost like it’s just expected, “Oh, you bought the game, you’re here for an Adventure game, now GO!” And I have to admit, this is actually why I persisted in playing it. It wasn’t hard or overly irritating (no ragequit moment), but I’d spent good money on it and wanted to get my money’s worth. I was mildly more engaged when playing as Lambert, the idiot assistant. At least he was kinda adorable and endearing, like a puppy. His motivation was believable… “I want to help Hector!”

Overall, I’m curious as to how many people actually enjoyed the experience of playing the game. Did they feel motivated by the storyline? I was actually disappointed that it was difficult to get into the game, as the dialogue was well written and the puzzles were enjoyably challenging.

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