Gaming Today Preview: Culpa Innata
A New World Order has always seemed so menacing, for some reason. Maybe it’s the thought of total control, domination without compromise. In Strategy First’s Culpa Innata, it’s already taken hold.
What’s interesting about the game is it sticks you right in the middle of an alternate history which has yet to occur. You get to figure out all about how this huge global government grabbed hold of it all, albeit through the inner monologue of the main character, Phoenix Wallis. Little bits and pieces of the story are revealed at different moments throughout the beginning of the game, and as the history unfolds, so does the plot.
Culpa Innata is more toward a purist adventure game, so anyone looking for an action packed experience may very well be in for disappointment. No bullets fly, no blood is shed before your eyes, but there is a rich back-story to the world you get to explore, and it will take quite a while to catch up. It’s a nice “read” if you’re into the story—there is more than enough written on the walls to keep you occupied for a bit.
The most action you will probably see in the game besides the cut-scenes are the puzzles. In fact, a few of them litter the landscape as you make your way from your not-so-cozy office to the outside world. They come nowhere near breaking your brain—a few mouse clicks will do for the slightly above-average gamer and you’re on your way. Admittedly, they add a bit of needed interactivity to the game.
As soon as you step outside, the story starts to get interesting. You barely have time to admire the manicured view of the horizon before you have to step into a creepy cemetery to get a move on the case you’ve been assigned. Anxiety may start to set in as you have to labor back and forth between your office, scanning equipment and searching the world for clues to find out what has been done and who did it.
The game seems to excel in its story—it takes quite a bit to string together enough details to create an entire alternate version of events in a hypothetical human history. Gamers might find themselves weary of it, though, because it is actually pretty dense sometimes. And the unfortunate part about the storyteller is that most of it has been created as if it’s coming from your own head. Listening to yourself speak needs to be one of your favorite past times if you are really going to enjoy playing through this game.
But when you get the picture, it appears to be Russia versus the rest of the world, which makes for an interesting dynamic. The conflict is centered in the Eastern part of the world, something which American gamers probably will find unusual, but the science fiction will smooth out any questions. You get to make believe that Russians are the rebels and there’s treachery afoot.
It would be nice to see smoother graphics—it’s not a strong point of the game, really. When the characters move it reminds me of Perfect Dark for the N64, and there’s definitely a certain awkwardness to everything involving people doing much of anything, especially if they’re trying to get from one place to another quickly. In a chase scene early on, what is possibly supposed to be stealth seems to be a muffin man selling his goods, or something close to it.
Another rather large awkward point is the bulky gameplay, with “camera” angles which may or may not easily let you see where to go next, and a good amount of wait time as you try to get from one place to another. Double-clicking puts Phoenix into a run, but it gets tiresome. Maybe I’m just a lazy gamer, but it seems like there should be a happy medium between the thousand clicks and the hands-free adventure experience.
Despite the flaws, the world of Culpa Innata has many layers for you to dig through, and it may very well be an interesting ride. For those looking to have a science-fiction based adventure, it might be something to keep an eye on.