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Game Info:

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today
Developed by: Fictiorama Studios
Published by: Daedalic Entertainment
Released: April 10, 2015
Available on: Windows, Mac OS X
Genre: Adventure
Number of players: 1 (offline)
Price: $19.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you, Daedalic Entertainment, for sending us a copy of this game to review!

The genre of "post-apocalypse" tends to be a popular one, and one aspect that tends to be commonplace is that the future is a bleak, scary place. The world in "Dead Synchronicity" is no different, as it seems that the end of the world is nigh, and society has collapsed because of it.

In the game you play Michael, a lanky, angular man who has no memory of who he is or where he came from (a common theme in adventure games, since it allows the players to discover the world as the character does). You quickly learn that the entire world has been subject to a disaster known as the Great Wave, which led to the collapse of civilization and the installation of martial law. In addition, a highly-contagious disease has swept the land. Those who contract it apparently have the ability to see visions before they eventually die from organ failure and their flesh melting. Those afflicted are called "the dissolved," and harboring them is a quick way to get shot by the "clean-up crews" which frequent the refugee camps. 

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today
Highlights:

Strong Points: Interesting story and unique art style
Weak Points: Music sometimes clashes and gets repetitious; occasional bug; only one ending, and little replay value
Moral Warnings: Strong language; violent and gory imagery; tobacco and alcohol use; references to prostitution, smuggling and black markets

Unlike many adventure games, the puzzles are fairly straightforward. There are no instances of having to combine objects in bizarre ways in order to proceed (e.g. "Use the flyswatter on the bookshelf in order to get the bolt cutters, then use the box of cereal on the clown's nose to summon a lion.") However, in a sort of tribute to adventure games and the different works that inspired the creators of the game, you can try these bizarre interactions anyway. This usually leads to a unique line of dialogue from Michael, and occasionally an achievement (for example, if you're familiar with Ray Bradbury's story "Fahrenheit 451," you should know to try and burn any books you come across). The game does have a lot of achievements, and many of them can be missed unless you take the time to explore the world and try to interact with it in unusual ways.

At the same time, though, the player is railroaded down one way. There is only one correct solution to each of the problems that comes up, no matter how distasteful that solution might be. Although you as the player can think of other options that could work better, these are not permitted in the game. Also, there is only one ending. Even though there is an occasional sense of urgency to the game, as well as foreboding threats, Michael will never be killed as part of normal gameplay. So the tension is false – even with soldiers threatening to shoot you dead, the game never allows for these threats to be carried through. There are no "losing conditions" in the game. This seems to be the trend of adventure games lately, though, and a distinct departure from Sierra and other pioneers of the adventure genre. The game is quite long – 7 to 10 hours is a good time for an adventure game – but after all the achievements are gained and the ending seen, there isn't much reason to play again.

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 52%
Violence - 0/10
Language - 3/10
Sexual Content - 7/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

The controls are responsive and straightforward, and typical for adventure games. Click on the screen to direct Michael around the scene or interact with different objects. You can press the space bar to cause shimmering purple dots to appear on areas of the screen you can click on. Opening the inventory can be easily done with the mouse wheel, or clicking on the briefcase in the corner. The graphics are sharp, with an interesting art style which reminds me of "The Batman" or "Justice League Unlimited." The music, on the other hand, is unimpressive, repetitious and sometimes even clashes with the scenery. The sound also led to an odd, one-time bug that hit my computer. The game seemed to take control of my volume slider and wouldn't let me change it – since I had muted it earlier that day, that meant that there was no sound at all from my computer. This bug persisted even after I closed the game, and even quit Steam. Restarting the computer fixed the bug, but it was a bit jarring.

There is quite a bit of language in the game – the Lord's name is taken in vain many times, and pretty much every other curse word can be heard at least once in the course of the game. People get shot, leading to sprays of blood. There also are instances of prostitution, smuggling, alcohol and tobacco. One area is known as "Suicide Park," and shows dozens of corpses hanging from the trees there – including one suicide that your character watches in a flashback, helpless to prevent. In another scene, you have to graphically mutilate a corpse, with the results of your handiwork shown on the screen for several seconds as the narrative continues. This game can be extremely gruesome at times. The "New World" is a very bleak and dismal place, indeed. Michael seems to be one of the few people trying to cling to any semblance of morality, although other characters in the game also try to do the same, to varying degrees of success. This does lead to some interesting discussions about the spiritual and philosophical natures of the new society, though. The sole priest in the game, however, who believes that the Great Wave is God's divine judgment and a punishment for man's arrogance, is largely regarded as a crackpot.

It sounds as if this is the first chapter of a longer series, but even with that there is easily 7 hours or more of gameplay here. With the game fully voice-acted (in English and German, actually), it is an impressive entry into what could be a promising, if dark, franchise.

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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