From this first episode of the new season, it appears as though each of the Sam & Max episodes will be self contained (rather than having one on-running story that stretches out over a number of games). While that’s a good idea, I can’t help but notice that this mystery was a little on the short side. Just around the time I was really starting to get into it Sam solved the case and the credits rolled. In all Culture Shock will probably last you no more than a couple hours, which may disappoint some gamers looking for a meatier experience. Thankfully a new episode will be ready shortly, and once the full season is released the game’s length will no longer be an issue.
The game’s graphics have undergone a major overhaul since the last time we saw Sam & Max. While the original game used sprite-based graphics to convey a hand drawn look, this new Sam & Max is rendered with 3D polygons. I was originally skeptical about how well this would work, but after spending some time with this new look I have to say that I’m thoroughly impressed. The game still has a funny cartoon look to it, but with this new graphic engine Telltale Games was able to get camera positions and reactions that the original game could only dream of.
The game does have one major problem, though. The puzzles themselves are a bit on the easy side, especially when you are dealing with the limited inventory. When you only have a few items it’s not hard to figure out how to solve the puzzles, which ultimately makes this game far too easy. This may be fine for those who are new to the series, but veterans of the graphic adventure genre will find themselves frustrated by how simple everything is. Hopefully Telltale Games will ramp up the difficulty as the season continues.
But enough about the bad, because Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock is a great way to reintroduce two of the best video game characters of all time. This is one adventure that offers a compelling story, great voice acting, great music and a whole lot of humor. We don’t see a lot of games like this anymore, and that’s yet another reason to seek out Sam & Max. Whether you’re the type of gamer who misses the days of the LucasArts point and click adventure games or you’re new to the genre, Culture Shock is a great game that is not too expensive. At $8.95 this is one case worth digging into. Of course, once it’s over you’ll want more … but is that a bad thing?
Holy jumpin’ Saints aplenty riding sideways on a candy pink fat boy, it’s a brand new Sam & Max game! One of the coolest video game duos are back for a brand new adventure full of memorable characters and great graphics. Whether you’re already a fan or new to the genre, Sam & Max Episode 1: Culture Shock is a great game worth your time and nine dollars!
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