Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep Review
PS3 | PC
Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep box art
System: PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Telltale Games 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Telltale Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 31, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

By the time you make your way into the bowels (trust me, there’s no pun intended here) of the game, you’ll see all of the pieces of the presentation come neatly together to form a cohesive, satisfying experience that is perhaps the perfect bite for fans of Sam & Max. At roughly four to five hours in length, The City That Dares Not Sleep is a pretty short romp. That being said, the game is paced amazingly well, and having the season doled out episodically will likely prove a great value for folks who still relish this style of gameplay.

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep screenshot

Though the visuals are far from cutting edge, the facial animations and expressions are some of the very best artistic renderings you’ll see in a current-gen game. Telltale Games are masters in their field, and the game’s graphics play no small part in telling this sordid tale. The camera pans and other visual cues do a great job of adding subtle nuance to plot points, as well as offering direction to the player.

For this review, I played the game on an average PC with a mid-range video card (ATI 4670). There aren’t many options when it comes to tweaking the graphical fidelity, but it’s a sensible interface considering the target audience. The menus are easy to navigate, and though you won’t be wowed by what The City That Dares Not Sleep has to offer in a technical sense, it’s a game that’s quite easy on the eyes.

If there’s one thing that truly stands out above all else, though, it’s the voice acting in the game. You may not find the biggest names in the business populating the credits, but the performances are absolutely stellar. The dialogue is made golden by the flawless execution of the voice talent. The themes and sound effects also do a bang-up job of capping off the vibe of this quirky, loveable adventure.

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Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of point-and-click adventure games. I had a great time with the genre back in the early 90s, but my interest eventually gave way to other types of gameplay. That being said, The City That Dares Not Sleep has renewed my interest in this particular series, and I can’t wait to go back and play through the episodes I’ve missed. Though the game’s length might be a bit short for some, I found it to be the perfect slice for my tastes. My only real gripe is that this episode is only available as part of a season package. Telltale Games’ sales approach seems to be counter to the whole notion of episodic content, but folks who are on the fence can still try before they buy.

By Tony Capri
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
There’s nothing cutting edge about Sam & Max, but the artistic design is flawless, an excellent presentation from start to finish.
4.0
Control
Mouse controls are a great way to just kick back and enjoy the adventure, though competent gamepad controls are available as well. I had a few minor gripes here and there, but overall, it’s a satisfying game to control.
4.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and sound effects aren’t major stars here, but the voice work is fantastic. I fell immediately in love with the world of Sam & Max.
4.5
Play Value
At the time of this review, Telltale Games was offering the entire season for $19.95 (direct from their site for PC). Yeah, that’s roughly $4 an episode. Go buy this game!
4.4
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Wield psychic powers against fearsome foes in epic comedy saga over five monthly episodes.
  • An otherworldy power for controlling matter and space calls to the strongest and strangest who might wield it, intergalactic warlords and eldritch gods, under-dwellers, and scholars of the arcane.
  • Gaming's greatest dog and rabbit sleuths Sam & Max seek the power’s ancient secrets, as manic Max gains shape shifting, teleportation, mind reading, and future vision abilities for battling these foes.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep screenshot - click to enlarge Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep screenshot - click to enlarge Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep screenshot - click to enlarge Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse Episode 5: The City That Dares Not Sleep screenshot - click to enlarge

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