REVIEWS

SAINT KOTAR

Point 'n' click adventures that don't have some kind of challenge rarely interest me. In my mind they are classified more as interactive stories, a genre that in my opinion is far from the concept of gaming. In the case of Red Martyr Entertainment's Saint Kotar, I'll make a small exception. The reason is that the game has enough engaging elements that make it an interesting experience rather than a typical run-of-the-mill walkthrough of a few hours, but also some weaknesses that prevent it from reaching higher standards.

The story takes us to the Balkans, to the modern era. The protagonists of the story are two godly men, Benedek and Nikolay. The former is a dogmatic monk, absolutely convinced that the way of the Christian God is the only correct one to follow and rejects everything that contradicts his beliefs. He has reservations about even his own sister, the journalist Viktoria, whom since they were young children, he has regarded as the "black sheep" of the family, having an innate tendency towards heretical views, such as those of paganism and witchcraft. Partly logical, since Benedek's aunt had been accused more than once by his oppressive father of being a witch, and Viktoria spent many hours of the day with her.

A panoramic view of Sveti Kotar. Hardly likely to attract many tourists...

As for Nikolay, little is known about him, except that he is a priest who seems to have lost his faith. Being Viktoria's loving husband and having little to no relationship with Benedek, the three of them depart by train from Bulgaria, bound for the Croatian town of Sveti Kotar, with the intention of Viktoria covering an event taking place in the town's castle. The reason for inviting her brother is a mystery, as Benedek is almost cut off from social life and, as mentioned above, does not hold Viktoria in such high regard. Nevertheless, he is persuaded to follow her and upon arriving there, they visit the lodge Viktoria had booked, which looks from quite strange to scary.

But the morning wake-up brought more unpleasant surprises. Viktoria is missing and none of the two remaining men know what happened to her. As if that weren't enough, various unexplained phenomena begin to make their presence in the lodge: a dead crow lying on the balcony door, the front door locked, with the key missing, and a hanging portrait emitting an intensely eerie aura. After the two men manage to get out of the lodge, the situation soon becomes complicated when they are informed by two policemen waiting for them outside that Viktoria is wanted for murder and interrogations are imminent.

When you receive early morning, uninvited visits, a "Good day, sir" doesn't sound very friendly.

This is where the horror game begins, with this accusation being the water that turns the mill of mystery. Is Viktoria a killer or not? Why did she insist that all three of them come to this cursed city? Who are these moon ghouls that are kidnapping and horrifically killing the townspeople, but no one can stop them? Are they really monsters as described, or is there something else going on? The answers will be given on your screen.

Answers to a story that, at least initially, seems quite complicated. The way it introduces the player to its world is quite steep, with events running and presenting themselves at an avalanche pace. Remarkably, the first impression left by both Benedek and Nikolay is rather poor, both of whom are portrayed as two really unappealing personalities, which was probably done intentionally. In fact, almost from the start we are given the opportunity to control both protagonists of the adventure, with their switching taking place at will, which catches the player off guard, although it is not maintained throughout the game.

Forgive us from our sins…

As a result, the first few hours of the game are spent wondering "what exactly am I doing here?" is grinding away in our heads. Later, when the game starts to unravel the darker aspects of its story, put Benedek and Nikolay's personal affairs in order as each works towards a different ultimate goal, and the first twists and turns start to appear, interest gradually rises and peaks until the enigmatic finale. Besides, in its own way, Saint Kotar manages to present images that will remain etched in the player's mind, either in the form of violent and gruesome scenes or in its glossy descriptions, which are often chilling.

Sure, the writing is nowhere near as high level as you would find in a classic game like Gabriel Knight, but it still stands at a decent level and doesn't annoy or underestimate the player's intelligence. After all, the story does have a specific structure, but there are several optional side cases we are asked to solve that shed more light on the past of the obscure Sveti Kotar and its inhabitants. Therefore, if we want to get a complete picture of what is going on in the area, it is advisable to take the time to complete some ...side quests.

What is the role of this black-clad figure?

An interesting approach not often seen in adventure games, which is reinforced by the fact that many of the decisions we are asked to make have immediate or long-term consequences. With no world-changing plot developments in sight, on many of the decisions we make depend the survival or the death of several characters we encounter. And in some cases, a wrong decision can lead us to a premature end of the story (commonly known as game over), which fortunately doesn't cost us our progress (except for one spot, which will probably be fixed in a future patch), as the game brings us back to the same screen afterwards.

In terms of puzzle implementation, Saint Kotar overwhelmingly relies on dialogues. By conversing with the characters we meet, we learn new information that opens up more places to visit, new dialogue options to characters we've already encountered with, and the ability to take certain items that our protagonist previously refused to collect. The items we keep in our inventory can be counted on the fingers of one hand, and for the most part, their use is obvious. As such, it's very difficult for someone to get "stuck" in the same spot for a long time (the lack of challenge we were talking about in the introduction to this article), let alone when the game itself often limits our movements, delimiting the scope of action within very specific boundaries.

For no reason would I put a frame like that in my house.

However, Saint Kotar suffers from some issues that obviously spoil the atmosphere it is trying to create. The biggest problem is the voice-over, which is an unstoppable hot and cold behavior. There are characters that have decent voice-over, such as Benedek, but some others offer generous laughs. Just listen to the voice of the old lady in the cottage near the lodge and you'll know what I mean. I don't think I've heard a worse voice-over in my life.

Besides, there are some important shortcomings in the so-called quality of life characteristics. Mouse controls may be simple and there is a very useful hot-spot indicator, but it would be very convenient to be able to move from one screen to another with a double-click, without having to wait for our main character to run up to it. The existence of the map is entirely decorative, as we can't use it as a fast travel tool, and it raises questions about the reason for its inclusion. In addition, a few glitches and bugs are detected, minor in nature (such as the accompanying hero occasionally getting stuck in walls), but they contribute to the overall impression the player gets.

Something very bad must have happened here.

An impression that certainly wins many points from the graphics. Aside from the simply nicely crafted-looking and animated characters, the environmental design of Saint Kotar is gorgeous, and often the landscapes resemble regular paintings. The dark color palette, the macabre sense of death being the master of the area, the eerie imagery depicted when things go off the grid, are all excellent and contribute greatly to the horror atmosphere the creators were going for. But as mentioned above, the voice-over lands us abruptly, while the melodic soundtrack is above average, satisfyingly accompanying the action.

In conclusion, Saint Kotar is an adventure that is more aimed at horror stories fans, rather than those looking for a point 'n' click adventure that will challenge their brain cells. If you can get past the "clumsy" first few hours, the game ends on a positive note and will satisfy fans of the genre for the seven or so hours it lasts. As long as they don't have very high expectations, of course.

RATING - 70%

70%

K'asag

With much more emphasis on plot and dialogue than on puzzles, Saint Kotar is a worthwhile experience for fans of horror stories.

Giorgos Dempegiotis

Lover of action, shooter, adventure, RPG's and sometimes racing games, he prefers mainly single-player gaming. Every now and then he breaks out into a multi, but he doesn't overdo it.

manofsorrows

Gelatinous Cube
Joined
Feb 21, 2013
Messages
96
Είχα παίξει πριν λίγους μήνες ένα demo και μου είχε κάνει πολύ καλή εντύπωση. Το έχω στα κορυφαία της 60+ τίτλων wishlist μου, και θα τιμήσω μάλλον μετά από κάποια ανακοίνωση patch για προβληματάκια που αναφέρονται στο review και θεωρώ θα διορθωθούν. Αυτό που μου άρεσε, πέρα από την ατμόσφαιρα, ήταν η στρωτή και λογική δράση του. 7 ώρες διάρκεια είναι επίσης στα μεγάλα θετικά για εμένα κι ας μην συμφωνεί το 95% των gamers.
 

pornostars

Gelatinous Cube
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
155
Απ' ό,τι είχα διαβάσει στο διαδίκτυο καθώς και από γνώμες παικτών που είχαν παίξει το demo, κάπως έτσι το είχα φανταστεί και να που ο Γιώργος το επιβεβαιώνει. Όπως λέει και ο Μάνος, ατμόσφαιρα συν λογική δράση είναι το μεγάλο ατού για να ασχοληθείς μαζί του.
 

Adhan

Horror addict
Staff member
Joined
Nov 27, 2012
Messages
11,307
Μου φέρνει κάτι από Black Mirror και γενικά με ψήνουν τέτοια σκηνικά.
 

Related Articles

Back to top button
en_USEnglish