|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Frogwares||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: The Adventure Company||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 29, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
All of the puzzles have been integrated into the storyline and appropriately matched with the creepy settings with great care. Of course, you'd expect this would be a necessary feature of any decent adventure game. Surprisingly, this is not always the case, but Dracula: Origin accomplishes it to a greater degree than most. The challenges you'll face vary widely, and more than a few are particularly clever. Additionally, there's the requisite combining of items to use on the appropriate hotspot, a few tricky key hunts, and plenty of written clues to decipher and piece together.
The numerous interactive puzzles scattered liberally throughout the journey are the most intriguing, and occasionally brutal, of all. Some require you to search elsewhere in the current area for clues to form the solution. In such cases, it's usually not overly difficult to locate the elements necessary to put things together, and the detective work is actually reasonably entertaining. The trouble sets in when you reach complex puzzles that do not appear to have any sort of rhyme or reason. A handful of these conundrums are painfully unintuitive, though they're eventually solvable with time and a touch of patience. It's highly likely most players will hit a wall with at least one or two of the puzzles in the game. Fortunately, the game instills a desire to progress in the enthralling story that should be strong enough to push players past these frustrations. Don't feel bad if you have to resort to a walkthrough; a few challenges are insidious.
Van Helsing's dark journey runs a comfortable length - not quite as long as the average adventure game, but long enough to leave player's feeling satisfied by the end. Dracula: Origin favors quality over quantity, yet there are plenty of challenges to sink your teeth into. The slightly shorter length could potentially be due to the reduced need for backtracking. Player's shouldn't find themselves too far out of sorts, since the game won't let you progress to the next major portion of the adventure until you've wrapped up all there is to do in a given location. By the same token, getting stuck at a particular puzzle can stop you dead in your tracks. Fortunately, this shouldn't be much of a problem for seasoned gamers until later in the game.
All around, Dracula: Origin is a strong adventure title that gives an excellent, updated treatment to the vampire hunting classic. It looks amazing, plays well, and the quality storytelling is bound to suck you in immediately.
CCC Staff Contributor