Joe Dever's Lone Wolf (PlayStation 4) Review

By Eric Ace 12.11.2016

Review for Joe Dever

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf (read about its PC remaster here) is a visual novel type game developed by Forge Reply that draws upon an old series of books from the '80s that were written by Joe Dever, set in a dark fantasy world where monsters and magic both exist. The basic premise revolves around how it is up to the players to decide which way to make their way through the story.

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf is perhaps best described as a throwback to books popular in the '90s, the 'chose your own adventure' reads. On the chance you have never read these, in general, it would be something like "you see a hole in front of you, do you jump? Go to page 72. If you turn back go to page 23" and so on. This is nearly exactly how this game is played. From the very beginning the art style is pretty cool, with dark illustrations that move slightly, and it works really well despite clearly being cheaper to produce.

At the beginning of "your story" there are questions like "do you prefer to force your way through, or to think carefully?" These then alter your character to be strong and forceful, or intelligence based. It's all pretty interesting to see how it flows into the game. The actual gameplay section is about the main guy going to a fringe town that had been overran by monsters, and this is where the 'chose your own adventure' aspects come in. From the beginning things are like "you see tracks, what do you do?" If the character made has trapper skills they can follow the tracks, while a forceful guy plods forward without wasting time. The forceful path will get the horse killed, whereas being careful will not.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf on PlayStation 4

Soon at town, battles begin which is a major difference from the rest of the game. They are a turn-based affair and, honestly, desperately need a tutorial to explain it better. There are constant inputs required, and if not punched in correctly it means massive damage for the player. Even the first battles in the game can end the player very quickly, whereas good RNG can give you the chance of going out of the battle without any loss - as a side note, for an odd reason the character looks oddly like 'Guts' from the anime Berserk.

After the battle, more of the same of "the next door is locked. Do you: bust the door or climb the roof?" and so on. A major problem of the whole experience is that the battles are really disjointed from the narrative, despite how integral they are. They tend to be are extremely random, and it just does not feel like a good flow from heavy dialogue to suddenly trying to time odd symbols and getting pounded the entire time. Replaying some of these parts takes away a lot of the magic as well. Despite all the different choices, they lead to the same thing.

In the beginning, it doesn't really matter if you are careful and avoid avalanches, don't get the horse killed, and so on. The town is still the same, no big difference. It doesn't matter if you bash the door open, or if you spring some trap from the roof, the battle still happens all the same. To say this was a massive waste of potential is a huge understatement. The idea of a 'chose your own adventure' title on a console could be very well done, but this is not it. Fighting is simply too boring and punishing, the story is merely mediocre, and the lack of real choices takes away a lot of the fun.

Screenshot for Joe Dever's Lone Wolf on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf has a pretty interesting art style, and the idea of various ways to make one's way through the plot is intriguing. The problems manifest themselves from a battle system that's very RNG heavy and repetitive. Additionally, the premise of choices gets destroyed when the said choices do not fundamentally change anything that is occurring. Looking at screen shots the game looks like it could be pretty interesting, but it does not take long actually playing to have most of the magic disappear. What remains shows promise of something that could have been interesting framework-wise, but is otherwise not recommendable.

Developer

Forge Reply

Publisher

505 Games

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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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