Game Review Time with Samuel (Part I): Girlfriend Rescue by Aldorlea Games
Before we get started
Before I begin, I would like to say that I had not quite finished playing the game Girlfriend Rescue by the time I started writing this review, but I had gotten to past the halfway mark of the game in one play-through (before my computer decided to be stupid and eat my save files on me). This is essential to understanding that not everything I'll be talking about will be completely accurate. Indeed, having accuracy at the point I managed to get to in the game is nearly impossible, especially since I would need to beat the game from the beginning again.
However, the key points I would like to leave you with are as such:
- I want to make sure you, the readers, decide for yourselves whether or not you want to play the game on your own.
- Not everyone who reads this will want to play computer games, even if it's what this review is about... a computer game, made for RPG fans.
- Even with the above point being made, not everyone is a fan of the engine used to make this game. I would say I'm a fan of the engine, but I can understand where the naysayers are coming from, too. More on that later.
Now, if anyone would like to see the game in action from my play-through review of it, I will have a new save ready for the purposes of this review. In order to understand how the game goes, I'll not only use screenshots of the game, but also video content that would make more sense than anything else.
Now, with that out of the way, let's get started with the actual review of the game itself from the Prologue to the Epilogue. I sincerely hope you enjoy the game as it is presented.
The Title Screen
Now, before I get engrossed by the game itself, I have to be clear that the one screenshot I had forgotten to take as of the time I started writing this article is probably the most important one of the game itself. If you don't have even a halfway decent title screen, chances are, you'll be seen as a laughing stock for forgetting to present a good title screen. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but to what degree? And in which direction am I doing so?
Now, the effect that the team's title artist went with was interesting, to say the least. For starters, it has the main character with a cut on his raised and clenched upper left arm (even on his right cheek and who knows where else), and he's holding the eponymous Girlfriend in his right arm. The scene is a rainy city, as can be determined by the effect on the screen, and to their right, which is our left, there's a bolt of lightning that manages to strike dangerously close to them... and, inside the bolt of lightning, is what we need to say if we're going to play for the first time, load one of three save files (four if going by the autosave option in-game), or quit the game.
Nominally, I would be skeptical of this as a great and inviting title screen, but this is, honestly, the best I can hope for at this time. It sets the atmosphere, which, as described on Steam, is a homage to Streets of Rage. I would nominally rate the title screen something like 2 out of five if I was hoping for something even more impressive, but, since Aldorlea Games is primarily a 2D game group, I will be fair and rate the title screen a more realistic 4 out of 5.
Freedom of Choice?
Alright, now we get to the prologue of the game itself... okay, let me be perfectly honest. This is where the game offers a few choices that are, in all honesty, incapable of causing an impact on the game's story. First off, it asks if you are a man or a woman. Okay, that's something nice to ask, but then one remembers that the main character is a man, so how are we going to go about the whole man or woman choice? For the sake of this review, I will only go with the choices that were properly put together for the story, nothing more or less.
Then again, there's also the option to repeat what was said, which is kind of a strange thing to do in my opinion. I would expect those to be with more space between the beginning of the dialogue before choices and the end of said dialogue.
So, next it asks about your name. All fine and dandy, but there's another choice involved here. The choices are much like the options from the previous question, except there's "I'd rather not say" and "My name is...", with you having the default name of Dan.
...okay, I cringed at the pun I unintentionally made, sorry.
So, when you choose your MC's name, it asks for the name of your crush. It has the same first option as the prior two choices, which is a "Please Repeat" type option, but there's three other options this time around. The first two of these three are similar to the prior choice, true, but the game also offers the option of being gay.
...excuse me? Why are we rescuing our girlfriend if we don't like girls to begin with?
Now, there's such a thing as having meaningful choices in the games, but there's also such a thing as a sloppy illusion of choice in-game. I believe this is where we find the biggest offender of such a case in-game.
For the choice factor in this game... yeah, sorry, but I'll have to rate you an incredibly weak 1 out of 5. There's only two other times in the game when you get to choose anything, and that's in Chapter 1 of the game, when you have to choose your party and a difficulty setting. I would've rated this a flat 0, but I'm not heartless, and I don't recall any rating scales being from 0 to the max number.
Please note, if you try going without selecting a party, you're forced to select one anyway. If that doesn't scream lazy to you, I don't know what is lazy, then.
First Girlfriend Rescue CG (part 1 of 3)
First Girlfriend Rescue CG (part 2 of 3)
First Girlfriend Rescue CG (part 3 of 3)
Girlfriend Rescue party choice
Girlfriend Rescue In-game difficulty settings to unlock
Okay, so the opening segment of the game's detailed for us... now what?
Now, we get to the meat of the game, namely... the first stage. *mock gasp* Shocking, I know, right?
Now, most of the game is fairly easy to understand from the get-go, such as status ailments like poison, being burned, et cetera. However, there's a kinda unique feature that they incorporated into this game. See, every once in a while, the party ends up having one of their own in need of food. Not only is this realistic, it's a way to remind the player that the characters are in a reality much, much like our own. Yes, that doesn't make for much of a fun game, but what ever happened to writing (or game developing) about what we know? This falls under the same category completely.
For clever use of real world stuff in a computer game made with RPG Maker, this section deserves a 5 out of 5.
Now, then, where was I...? Oh, right, the first stage of the game!
Legitimate First Stage Video Coming Up
Before you watch the video, I must urge you to at least understand that this was... what, my third time recording it? I didn't know that I had goofed until I first tried watching the video on my computer... oh, wait, we're not here to discuss my video recording blunders.
*ahem* Anyway, here's what we're here for. The upcoming video is my way of saying, without words, what was good, bad or in between. Now, granted, I could've done better and said my thoughts. However, among other reasons, I was kinda rushed for time as it was. Therefore, please excuse the rush job, and learn from my actions what could have been better about the game's design as an RPG.
Up to the end of the first stage, give or take
Now for the verdict on the first stage...
Okay, given that the backdrop's supposed to be Detroit, I find it hard to believe that there would be actual enemies like what we see in this game. I mean, seriously, foes with katanas of all things?! Plus, if anyone's able to deduce what Kayzer was wearing, you'd have to wonder what sort of idiot he was for going out and about in that sort of getup.
Now, that's not to say there aren't good apples in the bunch... please forgive the pun, because the game gives away fruit and other food items for healing items.
*ahem* Anyway, as I was trying to say, the game has a bit of a reality disconnect with its bad apples. However good the remaining apples are, they don't outweigh the bad this time, I'm afraid.
Let's review, shall we? First off, the common story telling plot devices:
- Damsel In Distress: Honestly, I feel this plot device is way overused, even discounting the secret character options you can eventually go with. Now, under normal circumstances, I'd have ignored the part where Laura, the damsel in question, gets kidnapped and we have to rescue her. Unfortunately...
- Railroaded Plot: Okay, this is more of a video/computer game thing, but it still applies. In terms of plot, the whole game's pretty railroaded, going as far as having no such thing as an overworld map... granted, the whole game most likely stays in the area of Detroit, some exceptions notwithstanding. This leads us to the final point that I wish to bring up...
- Random Locations For The Hell Of It: Alright, so I made that name up, but it fits with what I have to say about this pretty well. Please note that there are spoilers in this section that I need to go over at some point, anyway, so as to hammer the point home. First off, there are the streets of Detroit. We already saw those in the video above, along with the opening portion of the business park of the company Kayzer was hired by. Next, after the business park, there's what amounts to a red herring lead to where Laura is... and zombies?! I mean, yeah, I get that it's a laboratory for all sorts of illicit activities... but can't the people behind Aldorlea Games come up with something more original with their resources?! After escaping from a horde of zombies, the heroes end up going into a cave underground, which... leads them to realizing that their trip was the red herring that it was to begin with. After that, they end up on a train, although it's never explained quite how they go from one place to another.
As far as the whole game goes, from what I gather, the last three stops along the way are Chinatown, a Sports Stadium, and, for the last stop, an Airplane. At this rate, however, you'd think that the authorities would boot the heroes and the villains from the plane and have them all arrested. Still, realism aside, I'll have to rate this a 2 out of 5.
So... what did we learn?
Well, since I only graded it on four total areas, I will have to multiply the total score by five to get the out of 100 score. 12 times 5 equals 60, last I checked, so that's the score.
Coming up below is a small poll related to this particular review. Please be honest about it for me, will you, my dear readers?
What we have REALLY learned
How do you think this game could've been polished up?
Alright, alright, enough of the review
I guess now I'll say that I'll see you at a later time... preferably with a longer review of something that I invested a fair bit of time into to get from start to finish. Well, I'll see you later... preferably after you leave a second poll answer and a comment or two.