To be honest, it is no secret how much I have pushed the notion of episodic content delivered via digital distribution, i.e., Half Life episodes 1 and 2 and the now not-so-dearly departed SiN Episodes. I thought the future would be small games, in small chunks, enough to play and enjoy, delivered rather consistently and sold at realistic and competitive prices. Sam and Max have certainly fulfilled their respective ends of the bargain with a consistently released and reasonably priced set of episodic titles. What follows is my look at Episode 3 of the Sam and Max Freelance Police game.
With two cases down, Sam and Max have found a relative amount of success with their semi-high-profile work, work which will now have them facing the wrath of the Toy Mafia. Much like the previous episodes of this series, Episode 3 will have your heroes fulfilling a number of tasks in order to gain access to the bad guys of this episode, followed by a confrontation of sorts and then the end game. This formula was used in the previous two episodes and to be honest I was hoping for a bit of a break from it.
Yet again you will find yourself dealing with a new persona of Bosley’s, followed by a quest to gain enough money for his latest invention. Following this will follow yet another new career with Sybil and using it to help achieve your goals. If I sound a bit unhappy, I am. While I understand that this series is episodic content, meaning small games designed to only provide a few hours of fun, I don’t need to play the same game three times, just with different scenarios but fairly similar tasks and challenges. There is, however, a new character or sidekick introduced in this title and it will be interesting to see if he is used in the forthcoming episodes or just this one.
"...I don’t need to play the same game three times..."
The gameplay remains a series of point-and-click screens and one mini-game involving you and Max driving in the car (also found in the last two episodes as the only mini-game). You will yet again find yourself parsing through dialog choices and inventory items using them in various combinations involving just as much trial-and-error as luck. I did find most of the puzzles to be fairly logical this time around, something which pleased me greatly.
The graphics in this game remain as stable as in the previous two episodes, which means the same very well done models used in previous games as well as some very attractive backgrounds inside of the Mafia Free Casino.
The voice acting and sound effects remain as perfect in this episode as in previous episodes, which adds a welcome element and helps keep the humor coming as much of the humor relies on witty wordplay and banter.
This episode lasted me just around two hours and was completed in one sitting. I found the challenges to be slightly easier than in the previous game and only really struggled with one particular sequence at the Casino.
As I mentioned in my previous review, this is a game which caters specifically to a certain type of gamer, the adventure gamer. I certainly feel that there is enough included in this game to have that gamer return for another round of play. To the less adventure-inclined, Sam and Max will feel more like paying $9 for a movie you are only kinda-sorta interested in. As such, I yet again only recommend this game to serious adventure gamers and hardcore Sam and Max fans. Bearing all of this in mind, I found that Episode 3 was nearly identical to Episode 2 in terms of the experience offered. If the scoring seems similar between the two, that is because the two scores are identical – the two episodes are that similar.
As a side note, I do feel it important to point out that Telltale notified our PR people that Episode 4 will, due to production schedules, be the first game able to make use of all the feedback given to them regarding the previous episodes. That leaves me with the hope that the next installment will mark a departure from the same old, same old formula we have been experiencing thus far.
- Sam and Max continue to provide a humorous story that seems to build off of previous episodes.
- The price, graphics, and sound all remain consistent from the previous two episodes.
- This game definitely plays identically to the first two, right down the structure of the game, its narrative, and challenges.