The adventure games genre is regulated by ambiguous rules. Many times a game will be criticized for its graphics while on the same time its low resolution graphics will be praised. The AGS engine has been on the line of fire for quite a few times in both cases. But when a game serves its purpose and simultaneously pays homage to the founders of the genre, graphics and the rest of the technological parameters are put aside. Kathy Rain proves that with the above you can make an adventure so fresh, while at the same time it subtly reminds us all those elements and influences that led to its creation.
The adventure starts with Kathy Rain which isn’t exactly the definition of an A student, learning about the death of her grandfather with whom she hasn’t had contact in years, decides to attend his funeral. The events following force her to dig deeper and discover something that in the beginning sounded like a simple case of dementia, has deeper roots and of course as a restless spirit she starts the quest for the truth while she will have to face her inner demons.
Kathy Rain’s story is a little bit of everything but to the point where a familiar to the ‘90s adventures will recognize right away. I can’t omit the multiple references to the first Gabriel Knight, a fact that didn’t bother me because they appeared in the game as embedded references rather than an attempt to imitation. I liked the reference in the Lucas Arts’ games when Kathy was asked about the model of her motorcycle (e.n. you guessed correctly, those who guessed she drives a Corley Motors and for those who read this review and you don’t know who Corley Motors is, punishyourself in the sounds of the Lucas Arts’ game.).
From the difficulty side, the game doesn’t want to push the player too much (even though 2 of its puzzles were very clever) something which in this case allowed me to enjoy the game with a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia these titles emit. Personally, I would prefer an increase/decrease of the character’s speed because sometimes the coming and going from screen to screen get tiresome.
The graphics of Kathy Rain is in the classic logic of AGS and it is exactly what someone expects from an adventure game without being let down, not in slightest. The only discord is the fact that it doesn’t adjust on wide screens (they’ll make me get the CRT from the attic) something I don’t know is because of AGS or anticsof the pixel/indie/ adventure scene.
The sound I can’t say it left me speechless but can’t say it bothered me too, but the speeches on the other hand – especially when Dave Gilbert is involved as the Voice Over Director – were atmospheric with beautiful colorization that shot the immersion factor high.
Kathy Rain introduced us the titular heroine and her world with a promise of a sequel. I would be very glad to see her get into adventures again, while I’m digging up the first Gabriel Knight to remember much and looking forward for more. The small duration and some flaws are forgiven from my side. It may become a classic adventure game once, it may not. Point is Kathy will continue her journey and I’m sure that most of us will be there to see her turn into a new Kate Walker or a faithful student of Gabriel Knight and always an avid nostalgic of Corley Motors.