Despite the abolition of privileges on the night of August 4, 1789, some unfair privileges still exist. Take 12 Minutes, for example: Since his return in great shape at the heart of E3 2019, it’s an understatement to say that the entire editorial staff at Gameblog have been impatient with the idea of finally getting their hands on him. As with everything in life, sometimes you just need to be in the right place at the right time. Come on, no hard feelings, guys.
For those who have accomplished the feat of going through the well-oiled communication of the title, remember that 12 minutes takes the form of a narrative thriller that largely borrows its mechanics from the point-and-click genre. As in the theater, the plot opens with a seemingly banal evening, as a normal boy goes home to find his wife, not suspecting the dramatic turn that events will quickly take.
The first trailers did not hide it: Luis Antonio’s game tells from the roof of a small apartment at the end of the hectic day of a couple, who without thinking sees an individual disembarking, posing as policemen, who quickly approach pon our dulcine in irons. Dirty history. As in a play of the Poquelin type, the protagonists have (for a time) no other description than that of their pure function: husband, wife and police, therefore, they form a narrative trio of unsuspected richness, which will be revealed as the enchanting loops, and lift the veil in a dark past.
With 12 minutes, it’s a bit like Port-Salut: the events break down through an evolutionary loop of a harsh eponymous name, but the springs still need to be discovered to show curiosity and a lot of ingenuity. Because every failure, it all begins anew: whether he died from strangulation, electrocution, or a good knife wound, our heroic husband begins his evening all over the very second he walks to your door. The opportunity to change the course of things for the better, and perhaps for the worse …
And we dance to pass
If the adventure has managed to capitalize to a great extent on the prestigious trio of actors who give life to this trio with rarely identifiable faces, it is the entire sound atmosphere of the title that shines through its concern for details. The realistic, howling gameplay of Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, and James McAvoy not only benefits from flawless adaptability to the plot’s many branching events, it also benefits from a palette of filters offering more and more clues about the plot. . Spatialization of the characters, but also allows you to touch … the ear. Even if you want to know certain dialogues by heart? All ready.
The sound effects, which also show meticulous care, sound after a few tries like a melody of which we already know the tempo, and which allows us to evolve at least for a few minutes in familiar terrain, before trying new things, sometimes blind . , Let’s be honest. Between the thick conversations of the neighbors, the arrival of this damn storm (which gives an accurate indication of the few minutes already elapsed, the sound certainly plays a decisive role in your progress. The music, obviously, is not far behind, to despite your discretion). : if it manifests as a jingle, or in the digse of 12 minutes, it is also to signal the imminence of certain markers and to increase the pressure as the loop once again approaches its conclusion. Who would have thought that the harmless sound of an elevator could create so much stress?
From the intestable school Jonathan Blow, Luis Antonio (artist of The Witness, forgive the little) has fun with his narrative thriller he lets the players experiment as they want, but relies above all on accumulated experience. 12 minutes It is also a point and click, and offers to this title a good number of interactions with and between the objects of the decoration, but also with the duo of interlocutors instead: first tones, we explore the initially restricted framework of this encapsulated intrigue, just to get acquainted with our new playground. Everything is there, before our eyes, but we still have to understand what is at stake. Fortunately, even the most distracted will finish well, thanks to the skillful play of lights and colors, as they look away and let curiosity dictate their movements. The game even gives us a final flower by automatically listing certain lines of dialogue once the topic is discovered, whether we pay attention to it or not.
However, the interface is not the most practical on the console – due to a menu that disappears too quickly while systematically placing the cursor in the first position – but we do have fun between two technical knockouts that interact with the most common elements. Banal in a western apartment of our time, without necessarily understanding the role they could play in the plot. Like the brilliant Outer Wilds, the deliberately repetitive structure of the action allows, however, to take a small step ahead of the rest of the events. So we test, we test things. Yet. And yet. Even if that means spending ten minutes listening to the horrible music waiting for a mutual insurance lambda.
Obviously, this is where the sick preoccupation with details that Antonio seems to have borrowed from his mentor finds its full meaning: the (very) small team has thought EVERYTHING. By accumulating errors, but also clues, we hardly understand the complexity of 12 minutes, which manages to tell in a fragmented and at the same time fascinating way, a very curious investigation. Because unlike the other masterpiece told by Annapurna Interactive, here it is unthinkable to run straight towards the goal: it is only by dint of trial and error that we manage to take new paths, and progress in your reflection. If nothing really shows you what to do, the lyrics are fine enough to sprinkle the dialogue with hints, suggestions, and clues that will end up repeating themselves when you make fun of you. The rest will follow, quite naturally.
The progression obviously involves examining, using or combining objects like any good point and click that is respected, but the dialogues are also enriched as your discoveries are made: if one will try during the first few races to convince his dear and cuddly of the infinite loop that seems to repeat itself over and over again, the questions multiply as you go, but you still have to find the right time to ask them. Why 12 minutes it is governed by an implacable realism, and it is not because a subject burns on our lips that it is necessary for all of this to be approached point-blank.
Certainly, it is only after many tests that the absence of an option that allows to quickly restart a new loop is finally understood … Not only would it be very easy to continue over and over again in the same way without realizing that the branches are (very) numerous, and all rich in clues, but the prospect of a rat race (or one that wouldn’t go exactly as planned) very often turns out to be saving, as this is the moment when we try everything for everything , even if it means plunging into the improbable, wonderfully discovering new interactions.
It is quite simple: all cases seem to have been considered, and the options are so numerous that it would make you lose your head. Who would believe that a closed door or a tinted light could change the course of events so much? Or that the same phone call has so many different repercussions just a few minutes apart? Close to Her Story, or more modestly to Normal Lost Phone, the sauce gets along so well that the hours (and nights) are enchanted without us not seeing time pass, too busy since we are monitoring the internal timer of 12 minutes, set with the precision of a Swiss watch. The slightest race aimed at checking a hypothesis immediately generates more than one variation in the slightly curious player’s head, and we no longer even ask the question of asking the controller as questions are pushed around and the truth inevitably emerges.
like the unforgettable ludico-philosophical experience of Master Blow, 12 minutes it does not cease to exist when unfortunately it is necessary to go and take a few hours of sleep: impossible not to think about what we could do differently once we return home, and the adventure then becomes a true obsession. We think about it by reaching for Morphe’s arms, in transportation, at the coffee machine, or pretending to listen to the quiet musings of your editor-in-chief (pro tip: consider taking a notebook with you, really). The brand of the greats, without a doubt.
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