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Review Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure (PC): Happy that I got to play it but also a little disappointed!

genre: adventure
year: 2014

The Tex Murphy adventures are easily one of my most favourite games have played in my lifetime. For me it started with a demo of Martian Memorandum and got me so hyped I purchased a copy of Under a Killing Moon. I loved it. Then when The Pandora Directive came along I did not hesitate to purchase it and I was blown away. It was bigger, better and so much fun that I have replayed it many times. Overseer was the first game that gave me some trouble when installing it since at this time it was obvious my PC was in dire need of an update. Despite this and some slow down issues it never got into the way of enjoyment. In fact a lot of moments in the game got to me emotionally. That scene with Michael York was one I played over and over again. The beautiful soundtrack in combination with the bitter sweet victory was very dramatic and effective. Same goes for the scene with Henry Darrow. They took Tex Murphy to the next level. It was clear that Tex Murphy had evolved. When this game ended on a cliffhanger I could not imagine that they never would follow up on it. As far as I was concerned Tex Murphy  getting a sequel was a given. When I got word that a sequel would not be coming I was devastated. Took me some time to accept this but eventually I got over it and moved on. Then many years later a friend told me a sequel was in the works. Before that I didn't quite know what to make of kickstarter projects but that made me appreciate the hell out of them. I would finally get my closure. And more importantly I would get to play a proper adventure game again.

So what are my thoughts about Tesla Effect? I liked it a lot. But I can't deny that I am a little disappointed. Mind you I am not saying the game is bad. As adventures go this is easily among the best. But compared to the previous parts in the franchise it was coming a bit short. Especially story wise. In The Pandora Directive the decisions you made had real impact and changed the outcomes significantly. The Pandora Directive and Overseer did a better job of drawing you into the mystery and events. Tesla Effect never quite grabbed me since for some reason I did not feel as invested as in previous games. Now I am very willing to admit that this could be a personal issue. And that I myself probably have become more critical of the genre or worse even outgrown it. But I know myself very well and I can assure you this is not the case. My fondness and passion for good storytelling has never diminished. I would even dare to say that I am longing for good stories now more than ever. And Tex Murphy used to provide that. Still that does not negate the facts that I finally gotten my closure and that I appreciate some of the plot elements. Tex Murphy literally being an old soul is something I liked very much and would like to see that explored in the later parts (like Poisoned Pawn) that are coming.   

But it's not the story itself that has disappointed me. I also thought that some of the gameplay elements were rather annoying. Up until the Sesen Cathedral I found myself thoroughly enjoying the game and then suddenly Tex Murphy becomes a stealth game. I am aware that the older games had this element too but I never disliked them as much as I did here. And that is saying something because I love stealth. It is also at this point that the game overwhelms you with so many puzzles that I had to force myself to keep playing and not lose interest. The Pandora Directive also was filled with puzzles but it was stretched out over the entire game and far more balanced than in this game. The lack of interaction with other characters or FMV scenes made it a real chore to get through these later sections that never let up on the puzzles and other dangers. I mean getting killed by a random bee is one thing but the huge ass spider not even triggering an eek or death scene was underwhelming. The puzzle sections clearly were put in to replace the storytelling and not to give significance to events. I personally would have laughed hard if Tex accidentally gotten eaten by the spider. Or a scene where the spider admits to Tex not feeling like eating him since he already is quite full and then show us some half eaten body parts. Because for a moment I was genuinely freaked out by the sounds it made. It would have been a nice way to rekindle that typical Tex Murphy humour that is missing at this point.

I know that some of you might think I am overly harsh and critical but trust me I am just being honest here. I am very grateful and happy that I got to play a Tex Murphy again but I am not going to ignore the flaws and issues this game has. It's a good game no doubt but not as good as the previous parts in the franchise. That being said I am looking forward to a continuation of the franchise since Tex Murphy himself (Chris Jones) hasn't lost his charm one bit. 

Also check out my list of the best FMV adventure games I have played (by clicking on this link).

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