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Nightlong: Union City Conspiracy
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Having owned this game before and unfortunately had to lose it when i got a new PC, im glad to get it back on my newer system.
But onto the game, you are introduced to the whole focus of the game immediatly upon entering the world of Union City: Puzzles
The plot (without spoiling anything you wouldnt already know) focusses of "Josh Reev", an ex-military man who now works as an investigator come agent for an old friend to which he owes a favour. His assignment is to get behind the scenes in a terrorist organisation and find out what has happened to two agents that have gone missing. In order to complete his mission, Josh must solve some of the most baffeling puzzles ever made in a video game (surpast even Portal!! ).
Again without spoiling anything, i can tell you that the very first two areas (a rooftop carpark, and inside a small entrance to the car park) involve picking up 4 or 5 items, combining 3 of them, and solving one problem before moving onto another area with items to spare (can you see how complex this game is going to be yet?) some items will be held onto for most of the game, whereas others will be used as quickly as they are found.
Sound isnt hugely intrinsic into the story, it isnt a necessary addition since all dialogue is subtitled and the ambient noise serves no purpose other than atmosphere (which is acheived! very well i might add!) however without it the game would not feel nearly as real as it does. Although set in the late 21st century, it feels very Very real.
Graphically this game is very impressive, the developers have created a futuristic environment, without leaving the realms of what-could-be-true. Elements of the present day are in too! Even train stations, and cities seem very real and immersive.
The puzzles make up 99% of gameplay, with the final 1% being spent walking around and interacting with a pletherer of characters and machines. The only gripe i would have about nightlong is to do with the puzzles. Some are very clever and will really get your head going, but others are so complex that they will have you reaching for a walkthrough after hours of trying every conceivable solution. This somewhat retracts from what could be a near perfect game. The solutions can be as simple as using a single item, as complex as combining 5 of them, and as medial as asking someone (including a homeless bum!) for information in exchange for one of your items or your credits (currency).
The mention of currency has no doubt scared you, but i stress that due to the nature of the game and its extremely linear progression, it is impossible to fail or die. Money cannot be spent, items cannot be used, doors cannot be opened unless you are supposed to at that point! take that as a good or bad mark as you wish!
In conclusion, this is one of the few puzzles games i can say i have enjoyed! the focus isnt so strong on puzzles that you forget your objective however some are so difficult they really make the game seem futile in certain places, and for little reward once it has been solved. The plot offers a surprising twist part of the way through which will keep you interested and the constant flow of new characters will make you suspicious of them all!