|Pub: Telltale Games|
|Release: August 25, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
It's a big problem that Hector's shtick is growing old so soon, because storytelling is important in the point-and-click genre. While a few point-and-click games have puzzles that are so well-designed that they can overshadow a mediocre plot, they're few and far between, and Hector is not one of them. The first episode was about average in this area, and this one is considerably worse. Most of the puzzles are simple matters of collecting items and then trying to find a place for them. Several of them are so unintuitive or obscure that you'll almost certainly require the help of the (poorly designed) hint system. And while there's one interesting plot twist, most of the story developments exist solely to push you into the next puzzle.
All of this is a drag, and it keeps on dragging for longer than it should. The PR folks at Telltale (Hector's PC publisher) are promoting the fact that Episode 2 is twice as long as the first one—I'd say it's closer to one-and-a-half times as long—but the added length is a burden, not a bonus. In fact, the game's sheer size, with three separate plot threads you have to resolve simultaneously, is one reason the puzzles can be so convoluted. "Senseless Acts of Justice" would benefit immensely if some of the weaker puzzles were trimmed out, or if the unfunny bits of dialogue were kept to a minimum. I don't mind when a game episode ends after just a couple of hours, especially if those hours are highly entertaining, but I don't have much patience for lackluster gameplay.
The presentation hasn't changed much since Episode 1. The graphics are still drawn in the same simple but personality-heavy style, the voice acting is still competent, and the sound effects and music still complement the disgusting jokes and hard-boiled-detective vibe perfectly. The only significant difference I noticed is a fairly embarrassing visual glitch; in a few scenes toward the end, large black boxes started covering up some of the characters, and one time the game even crashed. Telltale really needs to patch that; while it doesn't affect the gameplay too much, it looks unprofessional.
Hector has a hilariously rancid personality that few point-and-click characters can match, and when the writing is good, his antics can be highly amusing. However, the writing in Episode 2 is simply not up to snuff, and it brings the production down—especially when paired with boring puzzles and a story that goes on for too long. Hopefully Episode 3 will do a better job of concluding the story than Episode 2 does of continuing it.
CCC Contributing Writer