Official Review Chronique des Silencieux Review

Set in 1970s southern France, you play a rookie private eye tasked to dig out the secrets of a stubborn old man.

General Information

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In Chronique des Silencieux, the main gameplay idea is well conceived: talk to everyone, make connections and progress. The problem with this model is that as a human you can forget what you've done, and end up going around in circles through tonnes of dialogue only to realise that this is a dead-end.

I found at first, that I had no clue what was going on other than this was set in 70s France, I (Eugene Faury) was tasked with looking for my uncle Flavio, there was a brothel run by Madame Solange in Meriadeck, and the police are investigating the murder of someone known as One Armed Hervé.

However, after the introductory 30 minutes or so the game opens up and you finally get a taste of what this title is actually about: and with no spoilers, I shall explain my impressions of this title.


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Quaintly Presented, But Flat and Uncompelling

Talking to people, collecting information and finding contradictions is key to success if you can wade through it. Building a file brimming with documents, statements and testimonies you begin to piece together a "murder-wall-esq" timeline of connections and inconsistencies. Using virtual string you visualise and join together the snippets of information gleaned by chatting to all and sundry, and form ideas that you can use to take your investigation further.

Sometimes you're completely wrong. Your trail of thought goes off track and you begin to extrapolate who you think is involved, which information is useful and which breadcrumb is useful to you. I found that sometimes I was re-reading chunks of text to re-acquaint myself with the facts, and attempted to re-assume the role of trainee investigator repeatedly to make sense of what fits where.

The implementation of this mechanic should be fun, but it's not, and making connections feels less like you're a honed-in detective and more like you are bumbling around until something fits. I don't think that the game guides you towards a conclusion either, and the padlock method of ticking boxes and gathering ammunition towards forming a hypothesis is equally as bland.


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Hard to Deduce Many Enjoyable Moments

To say that this game is fun would be incorrect, but making correct assumptions and forging new lines of inquiry is rewarding in small doses. Very small doses.

Graphically the game has a nice look to it, but all too quickly the backgrounds and characters become flat and tired. The explorable area is relatively non-descript and overall it becomes a chore to try to sniff out new areas to traipse. Talking to people is hit and miss too with no real direction at first, and you wading through heaps of red-herring filler chat before stumbling on something useful.

Pointing and clicking to traverse the locations is cumbersome in places, with Eugene getting stuck behind layers of scenery and lots of areas that contain next to nothing of interest or value to the progression of the game.

There is a bit of a Professor Layton vibe to this game, probably due to the detective theme and the French setting, but the lack of interesting puzzles, direction, and excruciatingly slow pacing causes Chronique des Silencieux to stumble throughout. Sure the puzzle element is supplemented by the investigative role you undertake, but it's unduly monotonous and fraught with moot points and inconsistencies that made me struggle to want to continue playing this game purely because I was not enjoying any stretch of it.

At times I re-entered into dialogue with NPCs that I didn't need to and couldn't get out of the 30+ clicks required to finish the entire dialogue. Some of it made no sense or didn't follow up on whatever it was on about anyway, so I felt a little cheated by the amount of time I put into the game versus anything meaningful I got out of it to solve any mystery.


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Ambitious, Yet Poorly Implemented

The scope and ambition of Chronique des Silencieux are to be admired, but the implementation seriously needs to be refined to give the player some underlying form of enjoyment throughout and the feeling that you are making meaningful decisions rather than constantly pursuing trial and error.

Perhaps I'm just no good at these types of games, or perhaps the game is so tough on the player that no one would find this level of paper-work-sifting-fact-finding fun, at all.

With more time in development, and better enforced proofing and checking, this could have been way more cultivated and better presented to the player to grant some satisfaction. As a result, I would find it difficult to recommend Chronique des Silencieux in its current form, but there is definitely some potential here, let it be noted.


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