Community Reviews for Saint Kotar by AkritazPowersound – Adventure Games
I would like to start this review by saying that Black Mirror, The Dig, Broken Sword, and Gabriel Knight are in my personal preference 10 best Point & Click games list. All 4 games existed in the golden days of the Point & Click era and most genre enthusiasts would agree with me that they are highly regarded and respected.
There is an obvious trend in my selection. I love a serious, well-crafted mystery game with a touch of darkness and sometimes even a drop of the supernatural. The eerie atmosphere of Black Mirror and Gabriel Knight haunted me for weeks after completion. This means that they did a really good job of getting me under my skin and succumbing me to their immersive atmosphere and their story. For me, it’s the difference between a good game and a game that defines the genre.
Saint Kotar had been on my radar for quite some time now, as it was the only title in recent years that ticked these boxes in my books. Of course, I enjoyed the Blackwell or Lamplight City series, but if I am to be honest they were nothing like my favorite titles. Saint Kotar promised to give me the dosage I wanted. And he kept that promise almost perfectly!
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Saint Kotar is a Mystery game surrounded by strong religious references (Your main character is a monk after all!) Which strengthen and become more evident over time. You will have to make many choices that will develop and test your character’s faith in God but also in his peers. It takes place in rural Croatia and at the start of the game you will already find yourself in the deep waters, looking for your missing sister. You will quickly realize that things are not at all what they seem and through the eyes of 2 different characters, Benedek (the main character) and Nikolay (your brother-in-law) you will embark on an adventure that you will keep on your toes from start to finish. Personally, that’s all I ask of the scenario of a PNC game!
The amount of hard work and dedication that has gone into this game is amazing and it can be easily understood after playing the game for about an hour. It was not a simple task.
Making a scenario of this magnitude (deep and complex!) And following it takes a lot of planning, motivation and persistence, because every mistake will create loopholes. (There are some in the game, but I have to play it a second time and choose different options to see if they’re loopholes or just different paths to different story development.)
Even though there are plot holes and some dialogue could have been more… believable, it has a solid and unique storyline that “mutates” into a dark and sinister story that is sure to captivate you. It is a promise !
Saint Kotar uses my favorite blend. 3D characters in a 2D environment. The stunning graphics are digitally hand drawn and you can clearly see the personal touch the artists have applied to every shot in the game. The character animation could have been better but that doesn’t detract from the experience.
The game was created using the Unity engine and I’ll dare say this is one of the best uses I’ve seen for a PNC game using it. Glory!
Shadows, lighting, attention to detail on all the old buildings, paintings or just the fog that covers the city are so well designed, drawn and thought out that you sometimes feel uncomfortable. I found myself being alert to my surroundings on several occasions. Needless to say, playing this game with powerful headphones or surround sound at night adds a LOT to the overall experience and I highly recommend it.
The game uses the classic PNC interface which is exactly what we need. Simple, fast and functional. You have an inventory screen like the one you imagine, you have the cursor that changes shape whenever you’re supposed to talk to someone, look at something or use an item and of course the point-and-click movement! (No use of the keyboard here !!!).
The only thing missing is the “get more info by right click” technique that we find in some other titles. It does not exist here and any additional information you might need will always be obtained by the left button. For example, you could examine a stick and the answer will be “There is a big stick on the ground”, then when you examine something else that is relevant to the stick, it will give you more information about the stick. once you’re gone click on it again. But this information will only be accessible to you if you really need it and have already established a connection!
There isn’t much pixel hunting in the game, and there is a “reveal all hotspots” option if you get impatient. (I really don’t like this option to be honest!)
One thing that stood out to me, however, was how the dialogue tree in conversations developed. As usual you get 2-3 options when talking with another character, but at the end you can click on all 3 options and they seem to be part of a big sentence instead of being used as options. Sometimes you can go through all the available conversation options and the NPC character will respond when you finish clicking all three.
I don’t remember having any noticeable issues with the gameplay or feeling like anything could have been done better. Straight to the point and keeping the old but golden recipe of previously played and loved PNC games.
Most of the time, the soundtrack is the “make or break” point in such games. PNC games rely heavily on conversation and when these are done through real conversations and not just text, they are vital. Saint Kotar does a good job with the dubbing. Especially the main character. When angry, worried, relaxed or tired, the actor makes sure he sounds exactly what he feels!
The rest of the characters (bar 1 or 2) are also quite good, so the quality of voice acting is kept to very good standards.
I’m always worried about voice acting in PNC games as we have countless games that just don’t pay the necessary attention to it and as a result they feel cheap and rushed. It’s amazing that some devs still don’t understand how much this can affect the overall performance / experience of the game. I’m sure if they did, they wouldn’t go for a below average dub.
The soundtrack of the music is subtle but also effective. This adds to the weird atmosphere built by the graphics and storyline, so a fine blend of the 3 ingredients gives that scary and uncomfortable (sometimes depressing!) Feeling you get while exploring the Weird Town. I’m sure that’s exactly what the designers were aiming for.
It took me about 12 hours to complete the game, but I’m sure there were other options I could explore to make the game have some replay value. Personally, I find myself wanting to replay my favorite PNC games every few years and Saint Kotar is definitely added to this list now, especially since it offers different paths to follow.
It must be said that the game does not offer brainstorming puzzles that will take you hours to complete or understand. Instead, it focuses on the information gained from exploring the city and proceeding with that information accordingly.
If you are expecting lots of puzzles and lots of inventory combinations, you might be a little disappointed. I understand that being an adventure game puzzles are to be expected, so some PNC fans may think this is an important part of the game. The good news is that the story is so good that the lack of many stimulating puzzles doesn’t seem to affect the overall feeling of personal accomplishment at the end!
Yes. There I said it. Can it be added in the same company as Black Mirror, The Dig, Broken Sword and Gabriel Knight and be considered an all-time classic? For me it is possible. Of course, this is my personal opinion, but listen to me here.
The guys at Red Martyr did a brilliant job at a time when the genre doesn’t offer a lot of games that are faithful to the “pure” PNC games we all love. And I’m sure they tried to do just that. Stay true to the “cause” while affixing their own authority and signature in a “new age” PNC game.
They took the risk through the scrum and delivered a great game that I’m sure will put you in the skin. It’s serious, dark, evil, complex and sometimes sick and surreal. Without displaying too much gore, they will make you imagine things that are just plain sinister and they did that by creating a story, a world, even a story that takes place in a small town in Croatia.
Sometimes I really felt like I was there with Benedek, sensing his every worry, thinking about his every thought, and weighing all the risks we were about to take. It is simply sublime when it is made by a PNC game and for that, this game will be in my “All Time Classic” list!
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Game time: More than 20 hours