Baron Wittard Nemesis of Ragnarok – Hands On
With a game like Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok, setting the scene is vital, so as to get you in the mood for getting scared and set your nerves on edge. The intro movie does this perfectly with haunting black and white images of you driving through a storm, making your way to your newest assignment as a journalist investigating Baron Wittard’s final works: Wittard Utopia.
As you arrive at a strange and deserted builders’ yard at the entrance to the boarded up Utopia your editor reminds you why you are here, to gather photos and info in relation to strange goings on at the location and to find out just what happened to the eccentric Baron Wittard before the local council condemned his project; kind of reminds me of the last job Phil sent me on, to a haunted roller disco to review a new Hello Kitty game [Hey. I only pick the best locations - Ed]. It’s only when you get into the grounds themselves that your editor calls again to mention that there have been several missing persons reported and strange goings on in the area recently. Now any self-respecting journalist would turn tail and wiki the hell out of the article but of course, where’s the story in that? So you brave your way into the sewers below to be confronted by strange whispers, blood curdling screams and an interesting early twist.
The gameplay is essentially one step up from a text based adventure game, with a large photo realistic view in front of you, your mouse cursor will change depending on where you point. It could show a magnifying glass to look closer or point in a direction that you are allowed to travel; in doing this you load a new screen and repeat. Exploration is the key to this game, requiring precision eyesight to progress, miss an area or walk past a blind alley and you could be stuck for a while on this game. If the first batch of puzzles are anything to go by this will drive even the hardened adventure game players up the wall.
There are many positive areas already forming in this early build; the music matches the story really well, with haunting tunes swirling in and out of the speakers. Of course, any game like this is only as good as the puzzles and these are real mind benders, just trying to figure out the first few for this preview caused many a headache and requires an awful lot of patience, a keen eye for detail and also a spare pen and paper.
The whole game is voice acted to add extra realism and whilst a few of the characters are a little bland and amateur sounding the majority work really well and are able to keep the suspense of the game. The basic presentation is probably going to be the games main hurdle to overcome. Thankfully, the story and puzzles will entertain those who relish these sorts of titles and I expect good things once the final build is released.
Sadly, the preview comes to an abrupt end when I get to one of those horrible tile sliding puzzles with far too many pieces and a ludicrous picture to create (it borders on a jigsaw puzzle of baked beans), why must they put these puzzles in games? I could get no further, but so far the Baron Wittard: Nemesis of Ragnarok holds a decent pace with enough suspense to keep even the most level headed of people on the edge of their seats.