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Reviews by MassimoS

Detective story

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Make It Good, by Jon Ingold

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Some thoughts about ‘Make it Good’ by Jon Ingold, April 27, 2009
by MassimoS
Related reviews: Detective story, Noir
We have to wave the hat in front of Make it Good, because of two reasons. The first is that this is an excellent job, with a smooth writing and an excellent design. The second is due to the fact that in this IF we impersonate a drunk and ‘bad’ detective, dressed in the usual waterproof coat and hat, who will have to deal with a terrible crime. The frame of the investigation will be an anonymous terraced house, with a suspicious maid whose boyfriend conceals a mysterious past, a desperate housewife with a shattered marriage whose ‘close friend’ is a vicar of the near parish and also an excellent victim: an average man by the not so average past.

So the ingredients are all there to make the plot of Make it Good a real noir, sophisticated and engaging.

The game design is innovative and well-maintained. Let’s forget about a story with a simple linear sequence of commands or actions. Make it Good is a story alive with dozens of items to consider, different rooms and locations to be visited and some riddles of low difficulty rating, but definitely good and affordable through various strategies. This is the highlight of this text adventure, which leaves ample room for the player. The NPC’s artificial intelligence is really nice and there is a distinction between the interaction with the mere dialogue, with which you can inform an NPC about your latest developments on the crime investigation, and interaction with interrogation applications, which can be used to collect the suspecteds’ alibi and modus operandi. It is worth also to say a few words about the intensity of the betatesting which has undergone the game in the first period of public release and the considerable speed with which the author has fixed some bugs, more or less heavy, afflicting the first version. All of this has made the current version of the game, namely the ninth, very pleasant and more enjoyable.

I would really like to note the hinting system which automatically comes to the aid of the player by suggesting the appropriate commands for some situations (this system can be deactivated by the most hardcore gamers!). Good and concise documentation in the game.

I would like to return a moment on the quality of the work’s plot (some spoilers below!).

As with his other work, in fact, the author tries to reflect on the deep dichotomy between the player in flesh and bones and his digital alter ego, making the discrepancy between their knowledge a fundamental point for the ending revelation of the main plot storyline. This analysis is an excellent springboard to think about the importance and significance of the information’s medium and the timing of notification. Not only because this trick, we can find that in fact our task is not merely to investigate a crime so savage but to try to understand, through a few bold descriptions, the ironic and grotesque violence of the likely events prior the crime.

Final Vote: As a result, Make it Good ranks as a timeless classic, having the veins of the mystery stories and the verisimilarity of daily life. It offers an extreme interactivity and vivid characters, although in some sections they are a little ’stereotypical’ but always functional to the plot. Watch out, because their behavior will be certainly plausible and exciting! My final vote for Make it Good is 9.5.

Massimo Stella

PS: I'm sorry for my badly managed English, it is not my main language. The italian version of this review can be found here:
http://nonunsolospettacolo.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/pensieri-sparsi-sullavventura-testuale-make-it-good/


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