Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 27.04.2015

Review for Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PC

Point and click adventure games are a dime a dozen nowadays, so the only way to stand out from the crowd is to do something unique and risk breaking the standard mould. If it pays off, a smash hit emerges. If not, then prepare for the ultimate backlash, condemned to the pits of obscurity forevermore. Fictiorama Studios' Dead Synchonicity: Tomorrow Comes Today started off with funding from a Kickstarter campaign and has now hit the light of day with expert adventure publisher Daedalic Entertainment on-board. With its take on a dystopian world, complete with expressionistic 2D visuals and shocks aplenty, it is time to see whether Cubed3's positive thoughts from the early play-test were indicative of a game that could stand up and be counted come final release time.

It's difficult working within the confines of a genre that fans adore so much to the point where any drastic changes cause uproar. Remember when Monkey Island moved into almost third-person adventure territory? Despite the core game still being enjoyable, many bemoaned the control change, and consequently the old school point-and-click approach was reverted to in subsequent releases. Dead Synchronicity, despite the oddball name, has not strayed away from the standard conventions of the heritage of its genus, instead opting to go for a more artistic adjustment to help it stand out from the crowd.

Screenshot for Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PC

The world around lead character Michael is fading away, people are not just dying but 'dissolving' thanks to a disturbing sequence of natural disasters that knocked out energy sources and communication channels, plunging everything into a downwards spiral, reaching ultimate chaos, and somehow having a knock-on effect for the populace. Distraught folk all over, destitute, scrabbling for their lives in the torrid storm of decay left behind by the 'Great Wave' of destruction that took place, with only ruthless authorities and the army left to take charge, but doing so with a fear of not understanding what is happening that subsequently leads to violence and more harm being done than good.

Michael is the one controlled by players, with the primary aim being to recover his identity, and then unravel the mystery of why events have occurred in the manner they have. He has a handy briefcase at his disposal, which acts as they easily-accessible inventory screen where items collected along the way can either be used on other objects or given to people encountered, or joined with other paraphernalia to craft something far better and more useful than before in the hopes of cracking a conundrum preventing progression. It delivers what is expected from games of this ilk, but does fall into the trap of being a slight bit too smart for its own good. Mostly, figuring out what goes where is obvious, yet there are a handful of 'What?!' moments that leave a bad aftertaste when every permutation of 'item-item, item-scenery, item-person' possible has been undertaken to get to the final solution.

Screenshot for Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PC

The chronically dark, hard-edged 2D visuals, give off an almost deathly ambience, with traumatically atmospheric locales that ensure those playing are truly thankful this is far from reality, and it all comes with instances of shockingly gruesome events that would send a chill down anyone's spine. This is by no means a light-hearted, brightly coloured and joke-filled adventure - prepare for a warped escapade not for the faint of heart. Witnessing what happens to 'the dissolved' - whether they have supernatural cognitive powers or not - is not intriguing, but highly disturbing, as is one particular sequence of events required to evade being fingered by a group of soldiers. Some will relish the change of tilt, although others may be put off entirely. Artistically Dead Synchronicity is a breath of fresh air, yet being controversial for the sake of identity is a fine line to walk. Fictiorama just manages to err on the side of caution with its graphical themes, thankfully, and helps keep the game on track with some fine acting from the cast of actors and actresses employed for the script's delivery. Oftentimes, voice work will be overlooked as the story itself takes the limelight, but here the writing is actually enhanced considerably by some fine performances being turned in, complemented by a soundtrack that ranges from sombre to reflect the depression, to painful and rough-edged when facing almost impossible situations, right the way through to delicately sweet with dark undertones.

Screenshot for Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PC

As with all good things, there are some sticking points. There are times throughout, for instance, where if standing still too long in an area it results in static appearing and a glimpse of another scene coming into view before flicking back to the present situation. Intriguing at first, and possibly hinting towards how to proceed, they eventually grow extremely frustrating when simply wanting to mill around at a slow pace, figuring puzzles out, yet they keep on occurring, and they do not even seem to always link to the current predicament anyway, so do indeed become more of an annoyance than anything. Their reoccurrence is touched upon later in the game's actual story, and perhaps they will be of more importance in the next chapter, but here they quickly turn into an 'Oh no, not again…' moment that cannot be skipped. Equally frustrating is, in the early stages, not always knowing exactly where to go. Despite the existence of handy interactive hotspots that can be momentarily revealed, there are a few instances of not realising there is another exit/entrance lurking at the far side of an area, leading to aimless wandering until stumbling upon a 'new' place likely due to sheer happenchance as random clicking ensues to have Michael wander and interact with every tiny aspect of the surroundings. These are minor complaints, however, in what is otherwise a very pleasing take on a very familiar genre.

Screenshot for Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Dead Synchronicity tries to stand out from the crowd with its aesthetic style and succeeds in almost every area, despite starting off somewhat slow, confusing, and even a slight bit frustrating. With a stellar voice cast to drive home the weight of the macabre story at hand, a delightfully dark setting, and a slew of impressive puzzles further into the journey, any initial concerns over navigation confusion and a shorter than expected length given the price-tag are overcome, resulting in what is actually a superbly fresh take on the genre that deserves the attention of any traditional point-and-click adventure fan.

Developer

Fictiorama Studios

Publisher

Daedalic

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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