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Great premise, mediocre execution.



If you would like to see my full playthrough, click here.

✧─── ・ 。゚★: *.✦ .* :★. ───✧

If you don’t care about how I calculated my rating and want to get to the meat of the review, skip down until you see the next text divider!

Five categories were taken into consideration which were then averaged into the final score. I will give a brief explanation as to what the categories are before we get into the meat of the review. This should give you an idea as to what factored into the score, etc.

Concept
This category covers the overarching theme of the game. Here are some questions I ask myself when scoring this category: What is the game trying to accomplish? Does it effectively convey that? Is the theme relevant and/or relatable to the average player? Is this an original idea?

Art
This category covers the visuals. To get a high score, I do not consider the visuals to necessarily be professional. I am mostly looking for stylistic choices and if they contribute to the game in any meaningful way. Here are some questions I ask myself when scoring this category: Do the visuals match the game atmosphere? Does the art contribute anything meaningful to gameplay? Is there any sort of symbolism/meaning hidden within the art? Is the art visual pleasing (easy on the eyes, at minimum)?

Gameplay
This category relates to the technical aspects of the game. It is less how “fun” the game is and more of whether or not the game properly functions. Here are some questions I ask myself when scoring this category: Did I notice any bugs? Were there any typos? Are the gameplay mechanics easy to use? Is the difficulty consistent?

Characters
This category is all about character development and design. Characters, especially the main one, can make or break a game. Here are some questions I ask myself when scoring this category: Are the character’s personalities dull? Are the character designs original? Do the character designs contribute meaningfully to the plot? Can I see any sort of character development throughout the game? If I removed the characters from the context of the game, would they be interesting?

Story
This category revolves around the plot of the game as well as the progression within it. The concept category is more of “what is the game trying to achieve?” whereas this category revolves more around how well it is conveyed. Here are some questions I ask myself when scoring this category: Are there major plot holes? Is there any “filler” material within the game? Does the game have smooth plot progression? Does the game meaningfully convey the concept that it set out to portray? Is the storyline consistent, or does it hop around?

✧─── ・ 。゚★: *.✦ .* :★. ───✧

Rating: 4.2/10 (approximately 2*)
Game Length: 2.5 - 3hrs (all endings)


Background:
Eris is a troubled orphan-- abandoned by her mother at a young age. Millionmiles, a Frankensteine'd together cat, is her only friend in the world. Things turn very dark as his demands get larger and larger, even coaxing our main character into murder... This game revolves around Eris and her decisions to either sink deeper into her own delusion, or try to get the help that she desperately needs before it's too late.

Concept: 7/10
Conceptually, I really enjoyed the game. The only true thing holding me back from giving a 10 would be the fact that the last act seems completely separate from the first 3. Everything made sense up until this point, but it was here that things got a bit convoluted. Everything was tied together at the end of the act, however it still felt so wildly different conceptually from what had been established. If things had stayed consistent the whole way through, an easy 10 would be in order.

A Figment of Discord is a game that primarily covers mental illness and its effects on relationships with people whom are close to you. As someone who has suffered from my share of problems, I honestly find the game quite relatable. Obviously I've never gone around killing people, but I understand how intrusive thoughts can put a strain on interpersonal connections. Most of the themes in this game revolve around intrusive thoughts.

**SPOILERS**
Millionmiles is revealed to be a schizophrenic hallucination, which isn't much of a surprise when playing the game. Despite this, I think his character can be interpreted another way. Rather than a physical companion telling Eris to do awful things, I think he is a great metaphor for the intrusive thoughts people with mental illness struggle with on a daily basis. The smallest issues can cause aggressive thoughts, or they can even cause an angry outburst as we see Eris frequently displaying. At the end of the day, Eris has a lot of problems. Whether you like the hallucination or the metaphorical representation theory for millionmiles, I still think that the plot and concept of the whole game stands strong.


Throughout the game the player is given option to fall deeper into delusion and intrusive thoughts, or to reality check themselves and realize what us happening is wrong. I genuinely liked the multiple ending mechanic in the game for this reason, which I'll cover more in depth in a later section. These sorts of games normally make it a bit difficult to go back and get every ending, but the process in this one was super streamlined. Getting to see all the reactions based off Eris' choices was refreshing.

**SPOILERS**
In one the endings where Eris comes to her senses, she is welcomed by all the other orphans. They recognize her struggles and do their best to support her and remind her that she is not alone. This ending was probably my favorite, as it really goes to show that everyone needs to know they have support. A support net is absolutely vital for people that are struggling to keep themselves grounded in reality and not fall victim to their circumstances.


Overall, the concept was pretty strong and meaningful... at least initially. I wish that the last act hadn't strayed so far from what had already been established, as it took away from the overal meaning and purpose of the game. For this reason, I give the game an 7/10. The last 3 points were deducted from the last act, where I felt the concept changed to something completely out of left field.

ART: 8/10
The art in A Figment of Discord was actually really nice. Each character design was simple, but visually pleasing. Each character had different sprites as well, which helped mix things up! I rate the art a 8 overall. Though it was very nice, there were points where it seemed a bit uninspiring.

Most of this feeling came from the actual background/setting of the game. Areas such as the orphanage seemed a bit generic and uninspired. Nothing looked bad, but there was nothing necessarily special either.

The characters were visually pleasing, but they also seemed a bit generic when it came to design. When it comes to character deisgn, it's nice to see unique elements that represent who the person is. It's a very "show not tell" mindset. Though each character within the game looked unique, you couldn't tell much about them through how they looked. Nothing seemed overly personal about why they looked the way they did. Millionmiles was the one exception to this, however!

**SPOILERS**
I really liked his sprite toggles between his normal self and whatever... bloody demon thing(?) he truly was. It was a huge juxtaposition between what he portrayed himself as to Eris, and what he truly was.


Overall, I really enjoyed the graphics in the game. The only real issue in this aspect came from the lack of uniqueness in design, which I feel is a fairly common issue. Because of this, I feel comfortable leaving an 8/10.

Gameplay: 2/10
Everything up until this point has been rated pretty well, but this is where things begin to take a turn for the worse. As you read through this section, please remember that the gameplay category us about the technical aspects. A poor score in this area does not indicate that the game was unenjoyable. It simply means that there were bugs, mechanic issues, etc.

I'll be honest, there are some seriously game breaking bugs I encountered. I'm not entirely sure where to start off, however I think that I will start with the worst.

While playing this game, I was attempting to have a 100% playthrough for my youtube channel. There are 9 endings, and I had made it through 7 out of the 8 needed to unlock the secret bonus ending. Due to bugs, I was completely locked out of my run. This honestly left me very defeated and frustrated. Bugs happen, but getting soft locked out of a playthrough (especially at the home stretch) really leaves a bad taste in your mouth. In the spoiler section below, I will leave a link to an unlisted youtube video showing the softlock as well as what led up to it. Hopefully this can save you from the same fate, should you choose to play the game.

**SPOILERS**


Beyond that, I've also compiled a list of other issues/bugs I encountered during the game. These are less serious, however they still spoiled some of my enjoyment of the game.

**SPOILERS**
- Upon entering Moloch's office for the first time in my playthrough, Chantico was visible between the bookcases. I thought nothing of this until I interacted with her. Chantico repeated a riddle, followed by a dialouge prompt by someone named Alys. At this point in the game, she had not been introduced which left me confused. I realized later in my playthrough that this interaction wasn't supposed to be until the last act, where you are playing as Alys and exploring the abandoned orphanage.
- The storage room puzzle was actual hell. It could just be me being dumb, but I really wish there was an option to pull boxes rather than only push. I consistently was stuck and had to reload my last save point just to try again. This method got old extremely fast.
- The puzzle in the last act where you do algebra to get a code made no sense to me. The algebra was fine, and honestly would have been a clever puzzle. The issue for me was that everything was mirrored, but there wasn't a clear hint of that. Apparently the half second prompt of Alys' reflection in the mirror was the hint, but that didn't translate very well. The paper was on the opposite side of the room, and I would've never put two and two together without the included cheat guide. I enjoy challenging puzzles, but challenging ≠ poorly instructed/explained.
- Honestly, it's not even worth explaining every puzzle. I think the above bullet point is a general theme. Puzzles were poorly explained and there was never any clear instruction or direction. I think I had to consult the cheat sheet for most things, which really sucked.
-There is only one save slot, which was a huge pain. If you are someone who likes to save at multiple points so you can go back and change your choice in a later run, you'll hate this mechanic. Luckily once you get an ending, there's a special room to go back to deciding points in the game. This is nice, however I still would have preferred more than one save slot. It would have saved me from being soft locked from my 100% run. I'm still salty.


Overall, I was severely disappointed. I had to consult the guide that came with the game for nearly everything. There was never any clear instruction, and most of the gameplay consisted of wandering around and clicking on every little detail while hoping you'd magically trigger the necessary prompt to continue your progress. Only having one save slot bothered me as well, which is the sole reason I was soft locked out of finishing the game. My last save was after the soft lock occurred, as I didn't know I was soft locked until a few minutes later. This means I can't go back and do anything unless I entirely restart the game, and honestly I'm not invested enough in the game enough to go through that much trouble. I honestly am a little rocky on my decision to rate a 2/10, because that might even be a bit generous. It's not a 0 because I was still able to play the game, it was just a massive headache to do so.

Characters: 4/10
For characters, I feel like I already said a lot of things that I wanted to back in the art section. The characters weren't unlikable, but they definitely weren't interesting either. Everyone seemed like a generic trope, and they seemed quite one dimensional.

Every interaction in the game felt forced and predictable, as if it was simply a bunch of NPCs randomly interacting with each other. There was no sense of depth or relatableness, and that honestly hurt my immersion during my playthrough. Occasionally there would be blips of backstory, but nothing that truly made the characters feel "real".

Our main character Eris fell a bit flat for me. Despite being the lead, I definitely felt a lot of Mary Sue energy. A good rule of thumb when it comes to character design is to imagine the character completely isolated from the context of where they are from. In this case, if I separated Eris from the game I'd gave 0 interest in her as a person. She seems like some ordinary person who is angsty and a bit of an asshole to those around her. This goes for all the characters. Their purpose was served, however it was completely average.

Once again, millionmiles was the only exception to this whole "Mary Sue" pandemic. Even then, he was only average at best though. The trope of which he followed was a very angel and devil on someone's shoulder, which is quite frankly overused in a lot of media. I would have been more invested in him if there was more explanation as to who/what he was. Unfortunately, there weren't many questions answered. I hope that maybe some things would have been brought ot light in the secret ending, but I have no way of knowing now that my run is ruined by bugs. Because of these things, I feel comfortable giving a 4/10 rating. Having said that, remember that a 5 means completely average, so 4 only means that things were slightly below.

Story: 3/10

Now we are moving on to the last category-- Story. I have a lit of mixed feelings regarding this game, but I'll try to talk through all of them.

The game started off pretty strong, and I was initially pretty hopeful as to where things were going to go. I'm a sucker for a bit of angst and mystery, so the game definitely seemed to be my style. I quickly was disappointed, however.

As the game progressed, I realized that I mistook mystery as ambiguity. There were many points when things felt a bit muddled, and I wasn't really sure what exactly was going on. I held on hope that my questions would be answered at some point in the game, but they never truly were.

In my opinion, a good story is one that explains itself. Everything should have some sort of purpose or reason to drive the plot forward. If something is lacking purpose, then I wholeheartedly believe it could be left out. If you can entirely remove a character, interaction, encounter, etc and it doesn't change the plot, then chances are that the writing is weak. Many core elements of the story were left almost entirely unexplained.

Who is Millionmiles?
Obviously he was a stuffed animal initially, but why is he the way we see him now? Is it a demon? An imaginary friend? Telling us he was a stuffed animal in the past doesn't really answer any of those questions.


What exactly is Abbadon?
We can put two and two together that this isn't a real place, but that doesn't necessarily answer all our questions. It's not that big if a deal, but I would like to know more. I'm assuming this is simply some sort of psychosis Eris is experiencing which causes her to hallucinate the world, but she is conscious of this other place. That's not exactly how psychosis works. You don't just "go" there because you want to. Maybe this is me being overcritical though, so I'll let you decide fit yourself.


Who exactly is Moloch and what are his intentions?
We know that there were nefarious things going on in the shadows, especially when you find a diary where he talks about Eris being his favorite. The character is also named after a pretty prolific demon, which is one thing I noticed when his character was introduced. It's one thing to have an antagonist, but I wish he had more reason for existing. I want to know his motivations, etc.


These are just a few examples of questions that I felt were left unanswered, although there were many more. I know I've mentioned it a million times before, but I got locked out of my playthrough which means I have no way of knowing if these questions ever were answered. There may have been a bit more information shared in the secret ending, but I have no idea seeing as I will never be able to see it.

My other main complaint with the story was the jump into the last act. It felt completely out of place, and was never even truly explained.

**SPOILERS**
One moment we are playing as Eris, and the next we are suddenly a girl named Alys? The only real connection between her and the past was that she married Glenn, the creeper at the orphanage. Later on we find out he has Eris living with him and is saying she is his cousin, but nothing was much explained. It felt like a weird jump, and suddenly I felt as if I was in a completely different story altogether.

Sure, Alys goes to the orphanage and meets the ghosts of everyone Eris killed. I understand that she helped them find peace, etc but it just didn't really satisfy me. Everything felt so abrupt, and I felt like I never really understood what Eris' problem was. There were some hints that maybe Eris and Alys were related to each other, and I'm really hoping that connection would have been made in the secret ending or something. If that isn't the case then I genuinely feel like the last act could have been deleted entirely with no change to the game whatsoever. The best way to describe how I felt about the last act is to compare it to a movie who's plot is just 30min short of a full time film. Rather than end it where they should, they try to stretch out and milk every last detail to meet a quota.


I may be a bit picky when it comes to the story, its just that the loose ends really bothered me throughout the game. Nothing felt explained, and everything was disorganized. I may have missed some information, but this is a story game. Not a detective game. A plot and meaning should be clear, and not be left entirely to ambiguity. As someone who really looks for the meaning in everything, there was nothing much to find. A 3 might be a bit harsh in other people's eyes, but I'm genuinely dissatisfied with the game. I left feeling confused and a bit empty.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
I honestly am a bit disappointed in the game. Overall the game to a 2/5, which is a bit low. If it weren't for the art and concept, I honestly thing the score would have looked significantly worse. The moral of the story is this: Just because a game is pretty and sounds good in theory doesn't mean that it is legitimately well done. The gameplay was subpar, and I finished feeling mostly frustrated and confused.

Having said all this, I don't think the game is unsaveable. Fixing the bugs in the game would have drastically increased my rating, as that is the main reason I have such a bad taste in my mouth. Beyond that, with a little practice in character design and writing strong plot, I think the game could be great. I would rather play a short game that is well thought out and meaningful than a long one that leaves hundreds of loose ends.

Would I play the game again? Probably not.

Would I recommend the game? Yes, my one stipulation be the bugs being fixed. It's not a terrible game, it's just unplayable when encountering so many mechanic issues.

Posts

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author=rpghorrorfan
Nice to see an in depth review.


Yeah! I've been playing these games since probably 2012, and they are a huge interest of mine. I figure I have the experience to give a decent review, and honestly I think more games need them! I feel like a good analysis can really help a game shine through and convince more people to give it a shot.

Having said that, I'm trying to make a habit of doing an in depth review on every game I play from now on.
OzzyTheOne
Future Ruler of Gam Mak
4698
Keep at it, it’s always nice to see new reviewers joining the forum. Always good to see different reviews on games.
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