The Whispered World: Special Edition (PC) Review

By Nikola Suprak 04.07.2016

Review for The Whispered World: Special Edition on PC

German developer Daedalic Entertainment has been quite prolific when it comes to the point-and-click adventure game genre. Their Steam catalogue is overflowing with titles released in recent years, and they've undoubtedly helped fuelled the recent resurgence in the genre. Part of this is probably due to the fact that almost all of their old games get some sort of special enhanced edition at some point, as evidenced by one of their newer releases The Whispered World: Special Edition. It should become apparent almost immediately that this is quite certainly yet another Daedalic Entertainment title, both for good and for bad.

Things aren't going to well for Sadwick. First off, his name is Sadwick so his parents obviously hated him. Secondly, he is a clown in a struggling carnival act consisting of only his disdainful brother and forgetful grandfather. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, he is fated to destroy the world according to the words of a trusted and respected oracle. It's hard to tell which of those three things are worse for him. He seems to be taking the whole "destroy the world" thing the hardest, and once he hears of his unfortunate fate, he begins doing everything in his power to prevent it. He must get to the king, he decides, so he embarks on an adventure full of a colourful cast of weirdos to save the world… from himself.

Something Daedalic has always done well, and something that The Whispered World: Special Edition does particularly well, is the world building. The world of Silentia is a wonderfully and amazingly creative place, with so much thought and care put into all the various little aspects. The creativity here is excellent, and so much time is put designing these wonderfully unique characters and locations. The bizarre thing is, first, that some of this lore is only mentioned briefly, and, second, that characters will only have a handful of lines. It is admirable how well they were clearly dedicated to building an imaginative and creative world, and every little aspect of the lore and story was thought about so nothing feels haphazardly thrown in.

Screenshot for The Whispered World: Special Edition on PC

Unfortunately, while the creativity and imagination are both great, the actual story is a mess. Daedalic is somewhat infamous for throwing in unlikeable playable characters in their game, and Sadwick might be the most unlikeable of all. He sounds like a mixture of Eeyore and a creepy guy leering around at a bus station in a trench coat, and every single thing that comes out of his mouth seems to have been optimized at annoying everyone. All he does is whine and complain, and dragging him around makes the experience significantly worse. It's like if someone made an adventure game where an air horn would randomly go off every five minutes, and the hardest part of it is not reaching through the monitor and trying to strangle Sadwick every time he speaks.

It isn't just Sadwick that sours the experience, however, as the entire story here feels like a waste of all the energy that went into the setup; a setup which is great, but has an awful execution. There are no likeable, entertaining characters, and while a lot of time has been spent in order for them to be unique, the developer forgot to give them anything interesting to say. The dialogue is excruciating, and there isn't a single conversation worth sitting through. The entire cast is just utterly humourless, and while this seems to be going for a comedic tone at times, the writing is such that it always falls flat. This is just a humourless, boring, uninteresting slog from beginning to end, and it wastes the amazing world that was created around it.

Screenshot for The Whispered World: Special Edition on PC

The gameplay is significantly better, and there are some good point-and-click puzzles here to solve, while following fairly typical conventions within the genre. Items can be looked at, talked to, or interacted with, and certain items can be picked up and put in the inventory for later use. The line between a good point-and-click adventure and a bad one can be very thin, and frequently comes down to how logical the puzzles are, and The Whispered World is just on the "good" side of the line, although most aren't revolutionary, and too many are just a bit too obvious. Most of the time talking to everyone should make the next course of action crystal clear, although there are some real clever obstacles thrown into the mix.

Some of the best ones come when they get away from the point-and-click mechanics and get into actual puzzles. In order to summon the oracle, Sadwick needs to play around with a clock and set it to the right time. It seems obvious enough, but the solution is actually quite clever and will take a couple of minutes of contemplation to solve. There are a handful of puzzles like this that pop up at random times, but it would've been nice if there were even more. These are much more creative than most of the more standard puzzles in the game, although puzzle enthusiasts are likely to have encountered some of these very same puzzles before. For example, there is a chess puzzle here where eight queens must be placed in such a way that they don't overlap with each other, a classic puzzle that has popped up in at least three different games before. Still, overall the puzzles here are fairly decent, if somewhat forgettable. There are some standouts to be sure, but too many that fail to impress are included.

Screenshot for The Whispered World: Special Edition on PC

This also keeps up the Daedalic tradition of bizarre bugs and errors. This is the "Special Edition" which was supposed to take care of most of the technical issues, and on that count it largely succeeds. There were no random crashes or things of that sort, but it still winds up feeling like an unpolished mess. There are numerous examples of little hiccups along the way, small spelling or dialogue errors that added together make it feel like it desperately needed an editor. The most obvious, however, are these weird errors where the dialogue on screen doesn't match with what the character's voice actor is saying.

In one utterly bizarre example in the oracle's house, the dialogue shows that Sadwick is saying something, his mouth is moving, but the voice coming through the speaker is the oracle's, and she is saying something completely different. Something terribly wrong must've gone wrong in translation, or voice actors went rogue at some point and just started reading their own dialogue. These aren't huge issues, obviously, but taken in totality do amount to a bit of an annoyance.

Screenshot for The Whispered World: Special Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

The Whispered World: Special Edition is yet another example of a long line of Daedalic adventures where a perfectly enjoyable point-and-click game is sabotaged by all the stuff going on around it. There are some pretty solid puzzles here and there, and an unbelievably creative world built in the background, yet it is still hard to get too excited about anything happening here. From the excruciatingly annoying main character, writing and dialogue devoid of any sort of humour, and too many minor design failings to count, this is a title that seems to be desperately trying to convince everyone and anyone not to play it. It is hard not to like this, but even harder not to hate it.

Developer

Daedalic

Publisher

Daedalic

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Flynnie, lukezeppo, Ofisil, Steven M

There are 4 members online at the moment.