You play as a down on his luck detective Jack Del Nero in New York during the Great Gepression. The intro actually starts off with someone important getting away and you being shot, it then cuts back 24 hours to you getting hired to do another sleazy job. Jack is a bit of a bum, drinks to much, doesn’t seem to care about anyone, doesn’t seem to like his job all that much either, but it keeps him mostly in whiskey and that’s all he’s really interested in. The story travels at a fairly even pace from one puzzle to the next, and before long you find yourself accused of a murder you didn’t commit. At this point the game becomes a race against the police to prove you’re innocent before they “find” enough "evidence" to get you locked away for a very long time.
Thinks I liked
Face Noir is far and away one of the best looking adventure games I’ve ever played; its rolling storm clouds alone are simply breathtaking. I also liked the pace of the game; it fits the type of story very well. I was impressed by the 3D inventory and its layout - I’ve not seen one like it in adventure games before, and it’s a nice touch. Then there’s the music... I mean wow. The amazing jazz that plays in the background just brings the game to life, and it puts you so firmly in that era. It probably helps that I absolutely love that kind of music, but it really fits with this game. Then there is the story. I actually really liked it, it’s well put together save for the few hiccups I’ll mention later, it’s compelling, funny in places, serious in others and it depicts some of the more desperate feelings of the Great Depression very well.
Things I wasn’t so thrilled with
It is a indie adventure game, so some allowances do need to be made, but still, I found the voice acting a little stunted. The lines sometimes felt very much read rather than acted. Plus the actual lines themselves sometimes left me rolling my eyes, and that can pull you out of the story a bit. To be fair though, it is originally in Italian, so some allowances have to be made. I also felt that some of the puzzles were over complicated purely for the sake of being complicated. It’s a problem that has affected games in this genre since it started - you know what you need to do, but there is one tiny, seemingly meaningless box you need to tick before the character is willing to doing it. It’s a pain in the neck, and it’s usually there so that you can solve another puzzle much later on in the game, but again it can pull you out of the flow of the story. It's something that can actually prompt someone to give up and stop playing, and Face Noir does this to you on the very first puzzle. Quitting at that point would be a shame, because over all Face Noir is actually a very good game.
I’d love to say this is a perfect game but it’s not, that being said it’s not a bad game either. If you can get over the actually quiet minor speed bumps and keep at it, what you quickly discover is that its pros greatly outweigh its cons. If you like adventure games, Face Noir is for you, if you’ve already got it and have fallen at the first hurdle, go back and put in five minutes more effort to solve that annoying puzzle and you’ll quickly get swept back up by the story, I promise.
What types of little annoyance make you put down a game? Let us know in the comments section.