Geekly Speaking About… “The Resonance of Commander Shepard”

He was the best of commanders, she was the worst of commanders...

Meet my Commanders Shepard! (c) Bioware

Thanks to a confluence of events, I finally finished playing the original Mass Effect as both a male and female Commander Shepard in July… which means it’s podcast time! After a bit of juggling and some technical difficulties, I sat down to check in with co-editor Jill Pullara, and writers Jonathan Cherlin and Lowell Greenblatt on how their summer has been going, to do a review of an indie game called Resonance, and to answer a very important question which we asked previously: Does the gender of your Commander Shepard really have an influence on how you play the game? Show notes after the jump.

Resonance
(Actually, a 4.5)
Created by Vince Twelve
Designed by Vince Twelve
Published by Wadjet Eye Games
Starring Edward Bauer, Sarah Elmaleh, Logan Cunningham and Daryl Lathon
Rating: Appropriate for teens and older

From l to r: Ray, Anna, Ed, and Detective Bennet must race against time to save the world... and you can help!

Official Blurb: When a brilliant particle physicist dies unexpectedly, the race is on to secure his terrible new technology before it falls into the wrong hands. The lives of four playable characters become entangled as they fight against the clock to find the dead scientist’s secret vault. The suspicions they harbor, the memories they guard, the connections they share—all will converge as these four ordinary people work together to prevent a potentially cataclysmic disaster.

Pros: Great storytelling and narrative, plot twists, characterization, musical score, level of challenge to player, art design
Cons: Puzzles can be unintuitive, differences in opinion on voice acting

Jonathan: Resonance has wonderful art design, music, and mostly solid game design. The game design is spotty in some places, in the sense that either you’re right on the dot of what you’re supposed to be doing, or you have no clue at all. It would have helped if there was something in place that told you that you were close. My favorite parts of the game, the survival-horror geek I am, were playing through Anna’s dreams. Truly disturbing game design, imagery, and sound design. Absolute brilliance, especially considering this is a low-budget game. Overall Resonance does what the title suggests…it resonates with you.

Jill: Resonance is a fantastic throwback to the great adventure games of gaming’s past, with beautiful art deign and retro graphics that are executed so perfectly you’d think it was made in the early ‘90s—which, in this case, is a good thing! Of course, with that comes the aches and pains that every good adventure game: the puzzles can be hard to solve, and hard to find, the solution often being the one thing you didn’t try, or the one person you didn’t think to click on. Some may call it unintuitive, but I call it old school. But the hard (and admittedly sometimes oblique) puzzles are worth it for the narrative presented, with compelling characters you come to care about, and a twist that you may not see coming. The most interesting aspect of the game, for me, is being able to switch between four different player characters, each with their own distinct voice. It would be remiss of me to not mention the music and sound design—beyond just adequate, the sound design and music do exactly what they’re supposed to do: draw you in, understand tone, and heighten the emotion of a scene. I hadn’t been as terrified of my character dying since Clock Tower’s Scissor Man was chasing me through a mansion as I desperately looked for a place to hide. Any fan of old school adventure games will enjoy this game, though gamers unfamiliar with the genre will have some issues with the interface and puzzle-solving. While it’s no King’s Quest VI or Day of the Tentacle, Resonance certainly belongs alongside I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.


Resonance was released on June 19 via the game’s official website, GOG.com, and on Steam after August 1 as well as in traditional retail stores.