|Publisher||Rogue Games Inc.|
|Minimum Requirements||Processor Intel Core i5-7400 3.0 GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.2 GHz, 12 GB RAM, DirectX 12 graphics card and 4 GB memory, such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 480, 8 GB hard drive disk, Steam account, Epic Games Store or Microsoft Store|
|Recommended Requirements||Intel Core i5-10600K 3.6 GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 3600X 3.8 GHz, 16 GB RAM, DirectX 12 graphics card, 8 GB memory such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 / AMD Radeon RX 6700|
|age limit||From 16 years old|
|release date||April 27, 2023|
|Platforms||PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S|
Played on PC and Xbox Series X
The announcement trailer for The Last Case of Benedict Fox caught my attention right away and turned out to be one of the most memorable events of last year’s Xbox Showcase. Not least thanks to the grotesque style that combines mysticism and the twenties of the last century – as if Tim Burton decided to film something from Lovecraft. And for the gameplay, I somehow did not worry. How can you ruin the classic formula? As it turned out, you can.
The story takes off right off the bat. Benedict Fox first breaks into someone’s home, fights some cultist, and then escapes across the rooftops of the city. It’s as if we were shown an episode from the middle of the story, and then they will give what is happening more context. Sounds logical, but no. The Last Case of Benedict Fox focuses on that very last case of the detective. How life brought Mr. Fox to him is anyone’s guess.
The main plot starts with the hero’s arrival at his father’s mansion, with whom he has not communicated for a long time. But there Fox discovers only the lifeless body of a parent. Benedict, however, is not very upset, but decides to find out what happened. A dark fellow traveler, a demon who has settled in the mind of the protagonist, helps to unravel the mystery of the murder. This duet vividly reminds of The Darkness, both in terms of communication dynamics and visual display. Even the voice actor for the demonic voice seems to be imitating Mike Patton.
Supernatural forces help Benedict to penetrate into the minds of others, including already deceased people. Another dimension – limbo, as it is called here – is assembled from fragments of memories. Visually inventive environments are the strongest feature of The Last Case of Benedict Fox. We have to constantly jump between the real world and several limbs generated by different personalities. Knowledge gained in one dimension helps to discover new secrets in another.
The locations are breathtakingly beautiful. Artists and animators masterfully transferred the author’s idea to the screens – reality is mixed with human experiences and nightmares. For example, the library turns into an intricate labyrinth of shelving, and the workshop turns into a multi-level laboratory – as if you were in the tower of Dr. Frankenstein.
Of course, many paths are initially blocked by impenetrable obstacles. Someone else’s consciousness is required to be studied by poking. To progress through the story, you must not only apply certain abilities in the right place, but also solve puzzles. Most of them are based on encoding four-digit numbers with a special cipher. In the second half of the passage, you will need to collect Tarot cards, the correct combination of which serves as the key to some doors. There are also unique puzzles, such as playing the piano or a chess game, where you have to move certain pieces in the right sequence.
Solving puzzles is fun, but remembering what and where you met is not so much. But the developers decided that it’s more interesting not to fix on the map where and what type of puzzle you met, if suddenly you don’t have a tool to solve them yet. The maximum that the settings allow is to automatically mark which lock the door is locked with.
The map is annoying with its lack of information – and this is in a game that has made the main emphasis on the study of the environment. Did you see an item that you can’t reach right now? It remains only to write down in a notebook where to return later. They would at least put markers on their own. Well, at least the areas where something is missing are marked with a translucent reddish background – and thanks for that. It is a pity that I personally noticed this only closer to the finale.
All this, however, is trifles compared to the main problem of The Last Case of Benedict Fox – battles. It seems that even the developers understood this and therefore reduced the number of monsters in limbo as much as possible. It seems that the battles are arranged smoothly: the detective famously swings a knife in close combat and can accurately shoot with a single-shot revolver, knows how to bounce and block blows, and the inner demon allows you to grab enemies with a tentacle from the shadows and throw them. But as a whole, the design works through time.
Special effects from blows block the actions of enemies, and sometimes you don’t even notice that the enemy is going to slash the hero with his claws in the face. Sometimes your combo cancels an enemy attack, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the animations are so abrupt that they leave no chance to react. And in another situation, you want to shout: “But I pressed it!”, But even though you even saw how the hero raises a shadow shield, the damage still passes. And the saddest thing is when the slap arrives from outside the visibility zone: go into the next room, even the camera has not yet had time to move, as some bull with a running start knocks out Benedict.
There are times when the fights suddenly come to life. Especially after getting a couple of active skills. The hero scatters enemies with a roll, grabs one monster with a shadow tentacle and throws it into the abyss, cuts down the second with a quick combo and, slowing down time, blows the head off the third with a well-aimed shot – you even begin to enjoy what is happening. But such episodes are rather an exception. And avoiding fights is not worth it, because it is the victory over the monsters that gives the hero ink for applying tattoos, which open up new mystical skills.
On the resulting crutches, it was not even possible to assemble interesting bosses. There are only two battles, and other collisions are an escape from danger with the route memorized. Where too there are enough annoying moments. Escape from the dragon’s head inside the snowy panorama under the glass sphere is played as badly as it sounds original in words. Just keep in mind – if you just close the game in a fit of anger without using the option in the “Save and Quit” menu, you will lose all progress.
* * *
Shame on The Last Case of Benedict Fox. She has an amazing presentation, and there are a lot of good ideas hidden under the hood. But a number of design blunders and offensive flaws in every possible way prevent you from enjoying the game calmly. And after all, most of the troubles can be fixed with updates. I hope that will happen.
- visually mesmerizing adventure;
- interesting puzzles;
- the dynamic between Benedict and his inner demon.
- unbalanced, unsightly battles;
- indistinct history;
- The map leaves much to be desired.
For Unity, the game looks surprisingly beautiful: detailed backdrops, smooth animation, juicy effects. And predictably bad optimization – in some scenes, even the Xbox Series X does not hold thirty frames.
The voice actors do their best, especially the inner demon sounds impressive.
Single player game
Damn beautiful metroidvania, in which they managed to spoil the main elements. Only the puzzles are really good.
Estimated travel time
The last case will take Benedict Fox 15-20 hours, along with all the nuances and secrets.
As if the last case of Benedict Fox was not the last game, no doubt, the talented studio Plot Twist.
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