The Novelist PC Review
There’s a reason gaming is becoming the dominant force in the entertainment industry, The Novelist is a prime example, showing us that a meaningful story doesn’t have to be on the big screen or in a book.
The story revolves around a troubled family of 3; The father, Dan, who is in a slump with his book and career on the line; the mother, Linda, trying to reignite her painting career while keeping the family together; and the son, Tommy, trying to cope with his learning difficulties and school troubles.
You are a ghost, haunting a secluded house that the family has moved into for the summer, where they try to cope with their family problems. The game is all about decisions that will affect the family’s future, the struggle of balancing career choices and trying to keep the group intact and the loved ones around you happy. The game offers stealth and story modes, which determines whether you, the friendly ghost, will need to avoid the family members in order not to help them and not “spook” them. If and when the clan detects you, they become spooked. As a result their story choice for the chapter will no longer be available. The stealth mode required you to posses light fixtures and jump from light bulb to light bulb in order to get around undetected, this felt really unnecessary and more of a nuisance than anything.
As the game progresses you learn things about each of the characters and can’t help but to connect with at least one of them from time to time. In order to find out what they want, and/or need, you have to read their minds and possess them in order to uncover memories. During my first playthrough I ended up making decisions I really didn’t like and had to fight with myself for a few minutes on which character to please. There were some plot points that felt a bit shallow or over-dramatized that made me raise my eyebrow more than once. Yes, life is about choices and consequences, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be worked out and everyone kept happy. If basically felt like the game was a bit too black and white at times.
In the end, the game does what any form of entertainment should; it makes you think. Think about the characters that you’re so desperately trying to help throughout the game and about yourself as well. Are you making the right choices in life and how will that possibly affect the outcome?
My overall experience was not that immersive. I have to say that the sound effects in the game are sub par. For example the footsteps of the characters don’t sound like footsteps at all and get really annoying as you get further into the game. The lack of interaction between the characters in the house as they go about their day and the graphics engine that shows no facial expressions (or faces for that matter) fail to fully channel emotions to the player.
In order to enjoy this game you must have the correct mindset. You need to realize that you are playing an interactive storytelling game, it might not be dynamic or pretty as the current best sellers, but it is an enjoyable journey that has replay value, and inspires meaningful thought.