Daemonica Review

Daemonica puts you in the role of Nicholas Farepoynt, a Medieval CSI or sorts with a very unusual method of investigation. Farepoynt has a talent for potion-making and one of his potions allows him to communicate with the dead. You can probably guess why this particular talent has his services in high demand when a murder occurs. In Daemonica we join Farepoynt as he arrives at the village of Cavorn at the bequest of the town’s mayor. The sleepy little hamlet has been rocked by murder most foul and the locals are understandably upset that a murderer may be lurking in their midst. As Farepoynt you are surprised to learn that during your journey the mayor has “solved” the crime on his own and swiftly executed the accused. Unconvinced at the quality of the mayor’s work, you decide to stick around and get to the bottom of the crimes. First of all you’ve got to find a way to get your hands on the corpse of the man executed for the crime and see what he has to say for himself…

On the case, Medieval-style.
When you enter the game and find yourself just outside of Cavorn, the first thing you’ll notice is that the game bears more than a passing resemblance to Diablo. You have the same camera angle for viewing the game’s world, the quality of the graphics is equivalent to games of Diablo II’s era, and you control all of the action with mouse clicks. The similarities end there though as Daemonica is not a monster-slaughtering orgy. In fact, you’ll find yourself in a fight only a small handful of times during the entire course of the game. You’ll instead spend the vast majority of your time with the game reading conversational text. The village of Cavorn might not have much of a population, but the people there sure are talkers. Now adventure games are naturally very story-driven and a fair amount of reading is par for the course, but Daemonica’s conversation trees are more extensive than in most adventure games. The conversation trees can also be tedious to navigate. You pretty much have to follow every branch to make sure that you don’t miss any critical information, but when you reach the end of a branch you’re often required to pop back up to the top or out of the conversation entirely in order to follow the next branch.

The game’s puzzles are generally good and straight-forward – don’t expect Myst-like challenges but the game is thankfully free of obscure puzzles that can only be solved by consulting a hint book. There are plenty of fetch Item A for Character B in order to obtain Item C type of quests in the game, but if you’re an adventure game veteran you’re certainly used to this sort of thing. The one aspect of the game that can prove to be tedious is hunting for ingredients for your potions. You’ll need to spend time scouring the town’s outskirts for the herbs needed to make your various potions and it is possible to find that you’ve wasted all available supplies of a key ingredient for an important potion.

Although the village is not all that large, Daemonica provides you with a map that marks special locations as they become revealed by the story. The map can be used to instantly travel to one of these locations which is a very nice feature that relieves you of the need to click your way across town screen by screen. This convenience is offset by the time you’ll spend looking at load screens, though. Daemonica will throw one load screen after another at you, each time you enter or exit a building, move to a new part of town, and sometimes as you move to another part of a building. Since you’ll spend a lot of time moving back and forth between the locations in the village the load screens do become annoying and detract from your feeling of immersion in the story.

Overall Daemonica is a decent little game with an interesting and unique storyline, as long as you don’t mind the slow pace and excessive amount of required reading. It won’t appeal to the gaming masses, but if you’re an adventure aficionado you’ll appreciate the game’s unique qualities and storyline.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 71%.  It’s taken a guy who speaks to the dead to breathe some life into adventure gaming.