Gray Matter – Review
Follow Genre: Point and Click Adventure Game
Developer: Wizarbox
Publisher: Lace-Mamba Global ltd.
Platform: 360

Gray Matter – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Compelling story with a great atmosphere.
Bad: Tedious magic tricks, mechanic is slower than actual point and click on PC.
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

About ten years after the release of Gabriel Knight III, the same author, Jane Jensen, is back with a supernatural adventure game. Is this a must-buy for adventure game fans on the Xbox 360?  

Story

Samantha is a young American street performer and aspiring magician who’s on her way to London but takes a wrong turn and winds up in Oxford instead. To make matters worse, it’s night, the weather is awful and her bike breaks down so she’s forced to look for shelter. She ends up at the mansion of Dr. Styles where she pretends to be an Oxford student who the doctor hired to be a temporary assistant.

Dr. Davis Styles used to be a famous neurobiologist who had a tragic car accident and is since then trying to contact the spirit of his dead wife through a series of experiments. Samantha only planned to stay one night but because she needs the money and because she’s fascinated with Dr Styles and his experiments she decides to stay a while longer.

From here on you’ll help Dr. Styles with his experiments, explore various places in Oxford, solve riddles to join the Daedalus Club (a secret society of magicians) and learn about the tragic past of both the Doctor and Samantha.

When you play point and click games it’s usually strictly because of the story and Gray Matter doesn’t dissapoint. The game spans over 8 chapters and starts a bit slow but builds up quite nicely after that.

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Graphics

The graphics of the detailed static backgrounds are well done without being superb. The colors and the look and feel of the surroundings suit the story well. However, the animations of the characters weren’t that good. It shows that the game is allready a couple of years old and could very well even be a few years older. But since this is a point and click adventure it’s all about the plot so it certainly didn’t bother me.

Hmm, now I think about it, what did bother me were the animations of the characters heads who are ‘talking’ next to the subtitles at the bottom. That wasn’t really necessary for me and the faces looked kinda strange and creepy.

The cut scenes during the game aren’t that impressive either. They’re static ‘hand drawn’ images and they look kind of cheap.

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Sound

The music is good but not very memorable except for the main piano theme you hear often throughout the game. But that’s probably only memorable because you hear it all the time. Overall, the soundtrack supports the story and does it well, nothing more. The characters’ dialog is a bit more impressive. The voices of the main characters, and to a lesser extent the secondary characters, are very convincingly done. I especially liked Samantha’s jokes throughout the game. The actress who played Samantha delivered them very realistic and naturally.

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Gameplay

Pointing and clicking is quite hard on a console so they changed the mechanic. You have to press and hold one of the trigger buttons. When you do this you’ll see a circle with gray dots. Each dot is an item you can check or an action to complete. You select the action (the dot) with the left joystick.

It’s not as fast as pointing and clicking with a mouse but it’s still manageable. Sometimes you have to zoom in on an object and then you can move the cursor freely with the joystick and point and click on details in the image. Whenever I had to do this, i realised why they used the trigger+joystick mechanic for the game because moving the cursor with the joystick is annoying.

Besides pointing and clicking you can run with your character freely through the static environment but that’s pretty useless since you always need to select an action with the trigger+joystick.

The game is divided in 8 chapters. You need to finish a chapter completely before you can advance to another one. You can easily keep track of how much you still need to do by clicking on the LB button. Here you can see how much you still need to complete of the different quests in percentages.

By clicking on the RB button you get a map with all available locations. You can teleport (take public transportation) instantaneously from one part to another with a simple click on the map. I found this really handy and it definitely made the game a bit faster. This map also show where you still have some unfinished business. Also quite handy.

Most of the puzzles and things to complete were challenging without being extremely difficult. The only tedious thing to me were the magician tricks you need to complete to convince a character to do something or to take something from them. You have a magician book with spells where you can choose a spell that’s right for the job. From here on, you need to copy the moves from the book to some sort of schematic and hit play. Samantha does the trick and you get the item.

Another thing that bothered me was that it seems you need to go through the events in a chapter in a certain order. I finished chapter two, I had 100 percent on everything i needed to do and allready saw one cut scene but chapter three did not want to start. I redid chapter two in a different order and this time it did go on to chapter three. Something like this can be really bothersome when you do not safe often in a different save slot. I’m one of those people. I had to replay chapter 2 and a small part of chapter 1 as well. Not fun. Maybe i had to talk to someone before chapter 3 would really begin but as i said, i allready did everything i could do and i had the impression that i talked to everyone there was to talk to.

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Conclusion

Besides the gameplay mechanic, tedious magic tricks and bugs that won’t trigger an event (well, i think it was a bug anyway) you get a fun and mysterious point and click adventure with a compelling story. If you’re a fan of adventure or story driven games this is definitely a game for you, however if you’re not really into this kind of games i doubt Gray Matter will convince you otherwise.

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