PC REVIEW: SENTINEL: DESCENDANTS IN TIME

For a game that is published by the Adventure Company, Sentinel: Descendants in Time, seems to have forgotten about the action for the sake of the puzzles. As a puzzle game, Sentinel is not bad although it suffers from repetition. It manages to offer great visuals, a decent storyline and puzzles that are challenging without being too esoteric. It's not Myst, but it's better than a lot of Myst imitators.

Sentinel: Descendants in Time stars a young tomb raider by the name of Beni. After his sister was kidnapped he finds that he has to enter into the Tustan caves to save her from the evil clutches of some mysterious evil character. The Tustan are an extinct civilization and it's rumored the caves are filled with treasures and dangers. An artificially intelligent female called the Dormmeuse is projected by hologram to accompany Beni. She is the sentinel. Her intentions may at first appear harmless, even helpful, but later she is suspected of some very dark motives.

The storyline sounds a lot more exciting than it is when it's revealed in the game. It's revealed slowly and it's hard to keep track of all the events over such a span, especially if you only play it a few hours a week. If you just focus on solving the puzzle in front of you the story is just an added bonus. It's the mortar that holds the puzzles together to give them some kind of cohesive structure.

Exploring the caves, Beni is able to teleport to various realms that have been preserved for eternity. It's here that he will encounter all kinds of puzzles in different environments. There must be some kind of relation between Myst fans and anti-social behavior because this game is also shy of character interaction. Considering how hokey the voiceovers and script are, the developers were right not to include too many characters.

In any case, the puzzles typically involve patterns, tones, mechanical configuration, mazes and math. You won't have to dig into your inventory for items. The items you need will have to be found within the realm which can lead to some really boring backtracking. If it weren't for the splendid scenery I would loath having to walk around already-explored areas for such lengths. Some puzzles are repeated one after the other in a series that absolutely drove me nuts. I just wanted to be done with some of these puzzles and move one - only to find myself confronted by another and yet another similar puzzle.

There are some problems with some of the puzzles, especially the mechanical, machine style puzzles. Often you can't see the entire 3D perspective so you're forced to guess at certain things. This is unfortunate since you are able to investigate the environments in full 3D without freezing and scrolling one scene at a time.

The backgrounds are exceptional and almost rival that of Myst. There's not much in the way of animation, you play from a first-person perspective, but what does move is smooth and flowing. Sounds are sparse but I'd rather have silence than repetition, as in some of the puzzles. The voiceovers are weak and don't synch up visually.

The repetition of the puzzles, the missing action and a few glitches here and there manage to turn what could have been a great game into a good game.

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System: PC
Dev: Detalion
Pub: The Adventure Company
Release: Dec 2004
Players: 1
Review by Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
2.5