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The Secret Legacy A Kate Brooks Adventure

 

 

SCORE: 88

 

The Secret Legacy A Kate Brooks Adventure 

 

Hidden object games seem to be all the rage these days. The Secret Legacy: A Kate Brooks Adventure is yet another addition to the genre. Fortunately The Secret Legacy makes some effort to set itself apart from other run-of-the-mill releases. Offering a great story and outstanding gameplay, The Secret Legacy is one hidden object game you won’t want to miss.

The visuals in this game are fantastic and very highly detailed. Since this is something that players have come to expect from hidden object games, Meridian 4 has decided to go a step further with The Secret Legacy. Each beautifully drawn scene is also “layered”. This adds new depth to an otherwise 2D image. Players can scroll from left to right in each scene causing the “layers” of the environment to shift revealing objects that may be obstructed by other items in the foremost layer. It is a sort of virtual 3D effect that makes this game stand out from others. Another unique visual feature of this game is the motion comic cut scenes. As players transition between areas of gameplay, the gaps in the story are filled with highly stylized comics that very much help to keep the plot alive. While these may sound like minor things, they certainly take this game to a whole new level in comparison to others in the genre. It will please families to know that this game is graphically presented very tastefully as well. No violent or obscene imagery is used and there’s no blood or gore to contend with.

The music in The Secret Legacy: A Kate Brooks Adventure is about average for this type of game. It’s very subtle so as not to distract the player, yet it manages to add some atmosphere to the game as well. Most of the musical selections are relaxing and accompanied by appropriate ambient sound. The sound effects are minimal but effective and fit nicely within the game. Parents also have very little reason for concern in regards to the audio in the game. There is no spoken dialog and thus no foul language (spoken or written) to be found. There is a very brief instance where players will hear the distant sound of a violent death occur, but that is the extent of potentially offensive audio that I found within this game.

The Secret Legacy is a good value, but holds little in the way of replay. After completing the game there are no bonus features or unlockables to entice players to give it another go. The striking visuals and satisfying gameplay are definitely an incentive that may draw some players back in, but there are very few options that will keep the game fresh. In fact the only option the game offers is an “expert mode” which removes the highlighting on “active zones” and increases the recharge time for the hint and skip options in the game. The game is fun to play co-operatively with others which creates an opportunity for some family fun. The object of the game is simple enough that nearly anyone, including young children, can join in the fun.

Players take on the role of Kate Brooks whose grandmother has recently passed away. As Kate soon discovers, there’s more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye. Following clues left behind by her grandmother, Kate stumbles into the adventure of a lifetime. Incidentally, Kate Brooks is based on a character created by Benoit Sokal, the creator of the outstanding Syberia adventure series. While his involvement with The Secret Legacy is apparently very limited, the fact that he’s attached to it at all adds substantial credibility to this game. The gameplay of The Secret Legacy: A Kate Brooks Adventure also offers some variety that similar games do not. Instead of simply searching each scene for random objects, players are presented with various objectives that keep things from becoming tedious. There are primarily three ways in which players will search for objects. First you have your typical “shopping list” of items to look for in the scene. Secondly you have lists of silhouette objects which you must visually match to items in the scene. Lastly there are various “find the pieces” tasks to complete in many of the scenes. For example, there may be several pieces of a letter strewn about the room which you must reassemble by finding each piece. Another thing that stood out to me during the course of the game is that each time I was required to search for a list of objects, one of the found objects was required to progress through the game. In other words I wasn’t just collecting random items for no particular reason; I was searching the area for some vital tool or clue. These items are even added into an inventory screen for use at a later time. This helps make the game a sort of hidden object/adventure hybrid. Various logic puzzles are also found within the game increasing the adventure feel. On the down side some of the puzzles, specifically the tile pattern puzzles late in the game, are both redundant and frustrating. Also while the story is intriguing and presented very well throughout the game, the ending was quite anticlimactic and left me with a sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction. Overall I still rate the gameplay as excellent despite these blemishes.

The Secret Legacy holds up well under the microscope of family friendliness. While murder, death, Egyptian gods, and some very mild sensual narrative all make an appearance in the game, they are greatly overshadowed by the game’s virtues. There is a strong sense of family displayed throughout the game as Kate works to defend her grandmother’s honor and reputation. The game is certainly safe for all ages even with the content mentioned above as it is handled very tactfully. This game was a pleasure to play and review. Sequels to this game would certainly be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection of family friendly games. If you or someone in your family enjoys hidden object games, or adventure games for that matter, The Secret Legacy should definitely be on your list of games to check out.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 91%
Sound: 85%
Replay/Extras: 77%
Gameplay: 98%
Family Friendly Factor: 89%
System: Personal Computer
Publisher: Meridian 4
ESRB Rating: 'E' for Everyone

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com