I want to preface this review by saying I truly like The Adventure Company. They generally put out solid games, many of which are very good. They are also one of the few companies consistently bringing us adventure titles, a genre that is lacking on the PC these days. Despite the track record, Traitors Gate 2 is just not a good game from any viewpoint. It’s frustratingly bad, in fact, like watching a favorite sports team have a completely off day, unable to do anything right.
I have not had the opportunity to play the first Traitors Gate, but it seems that previous knowledge of the series is not needed in any way for this second outing. There’s a weak plot kicking everything off—seems a terrorist group has developed a crippling computer virus, and is poised to unleash this upon the world soon. These terrorists have holed themselves up in a secret-underground-lab-that-isn’t-quite-secret-enough, and so special agent Raven is sent in to deal with the issue. In an extreme oversight, the lab has a back door that is somehow located in the heart of an ancient temple/tomb thing, and all Our Hero needs to do is navigate the obligatory traps and puzzles riddled throughout the ancient structure, infiltrate the lab, and save the day.
Traitors Gate 2 is first and foremost a puzzle-solving game with some action-y elements, so don’t expect a lot of Tomb Raider-esque sequences. In fact, the puzzles themselves are mostly the over-done “find the proper button or lever” style. Most of the puzzles are either ridiculously easy or hair-pullingly frustrating, with very few falling in between. Raven is given some notes from the archeologist that explored this temple before, but these notes are obscure and somewhat difficult to comprehend. Although they’re supposed to offer hints for certain puzzles, many times they’re just too subtle to understand, and a few times they’re just downright misleading. Further adding to the puzzle problem, many of the more complicated puzzles offer absolutely no indication of whether or not one is getting close to the correct solution. Most adventure games offer an occasional hint as a reward for moving in the correct direction when solving a puzzle, but not Traitors Gate 2. For instance, there’s a musical puzzle that requires a combination of a large number of button pushings and lever pullings (I’m leaving out the exact number to avoid spoilers), with no indication of whether or not anything is working until the correct combination was found. And, unless I missed a hint somewhere, one of those steps involved has to simply be guessed. With another puzzle, I figured out the solution in about 30 seconds, but it took almost 20 minutes of pressing a single key at the correct time to carry that solution out (I timed this one). This sort of puzzle is just not welcome in my adventure games.
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