Ritualistic murders and blood-stained walls..
What Yesterday Got Right
|+ Highly polished visuals and voice acting
||+ Multiple perspectives and flashbacks
|+ Risky, dark & twisted story-telling
What Yesterday Wrong
|+ Way too short
||+ Bland, boring characters
|+ A little too easy on the puzzle side
||+ Unsatisfactory resolution
From the studio who released Runaway and The Next Big Thing, light, comedic adventures with bizarre storytelling, Yesterday caught my eye as a newer release that would take on a different angle. With it's dark, twisted storytelling and murderous plot, how does it fare as a divergent from Pendulo Studio's hallmark adventures?
The game starts off with a horrific scene of blood-marked walls, ritualistic murders, and screaming faces. From the get go, you know you're in for a dark adventure (and it's definitely not for kids). The story starts as you take control of Henry White, a teenager investigating an abandoned train station following a string of homeless murders. What results from this is something you'd never expect, as the story takes a dark turn and leads to places you'd never imagine.
Yesterday is unpredictable at any turn, and as soon as you wrap your head around the story, a different perspective shows up and you're always left guessing. The story unfolds through multiple perspectives, either through different characters or flashbacks from the past, and it's not quite linear.
At the core of the story, you are John Yesterday, the protagonist investigating a murder who does not remember his past. The story switches between points in his past before he lost his memory, and slowly unfolds as you put the pieces together. While the game features some strange themes, I never really hit a chord with any of the characters (especially the female lead), due to their fairly bland personalities.
It's evident Yesterday features some high production values. It's told through a comic-book style presentation, with slick visuals and edgy presentation. With multiple screens popping up and smooth animations, there's no doubt it's a great game to look at. The cartoony sprites do take an edge off the dark themes, although they do have a rough quality about them. The voice acting and haunting music is also spot on, successfully bringing about a haunting quality to the gameplay.
The game mechanics of Yesterday are fairly typical for a point and click adventure, as you navigate rooms, pick up objects, and talk to people. There's some neat innovations which leads to a fluid gaming experience, such as automatically teleporting in front of an object in question, and a hotspot function which easily highlights the spots to be examined. With an in-game hint system, it's fairly straight-forward and the difficulty level of the game is a little easy.
Unfortunately, as soon as the adventure starts to take off and the final showdown happens, the game ends before it really gets anywhere. Without giving anything away, it never really resolves the mystery behind John Yesterday. Although you have the ability to select from multiple endings, none of them are quite satisfactory.
The Final Verdict
Not only has Pendulo Studios taken a risk with a completely different style of adventure, but they have also focused on innovative storytelling and presentation. Yesterday features slick visuals, perfect voice-acting, and risky storytelling, however, character development and length have taken a dive. It's worth playing for the experience alone, but don't expect anything too deep when it comes to answering any questions.
By Jeann Wong - Bio