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    dumpster_fox's Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)

    [January 14, 2008 03:24:51 AM]

    Hotel Dusk has failed to pick up. The game continues its molasses-like pace and shows absolutely no signs of nearing any event that would cause any sort of acceleration in the gameplay whatsoever. It has not improved in any way since the previous entry, and in fact has revealed strange new bits of gameplay that have in fact lowered my opinion of the game.

    Hotel Dusk has continued in its habit of not teaching the player how to do things. Basic interface tasks, such as giving items to characters, making a person turn around, and using one item on another, are presented to the player and it is just assumed that they know what the designers intended them to do. For the most part it is relatively simple to figure out (assuming you are used to conventional game mechanics), but it can often get to the point of obscurity where you deduce the solution simply by scrawling randomly all over with the stylus.

    The game is also frequently unclear as to what your objectives are or what you need to do to advance the plot. Probably the most annoying example of this was when I was put in the ridiculous situation of systematically knocking on every door in an attempt to find someone to engage in conversation so that I could go back to my room and have a package arrive. There is no indication whatsoever that the player needs to talk with the character before the package can arrive, and even less indication that the person is even able to be talked to. Situations like these make the game nigh unplayable.

    Another odd gameplay portion appeared that managed to confuse and even insult me a bit. Apparently, at the end of every chapter, you are quizzed on the basic details of what occurred during said chapter. Do they assume that I am not paying attention? This portion was completely unexpected and really threw me off-kilter.

    Finally, and perhaps above all else, the speed of this game and its plot is absolutely glacial. The player is tasked with the most menial of tasks that take positively forever to actually accomplish. The player arrives at the hotel at 5:00PM in the game, and at least three hours in, I have only managed to advance the in-game clock by forty minutes. The game is, in a single word, catatonic.


    This game is SLOW. Normally in stories you have high points and low points, and this generally carries over to games as well. The changes in the pacing is important, as if it is always high-tension the player gets fatigued, and if it is always low-tension (as in this case) the player tends to get bored. The three hours of gameplay I experienced could be used as an example of how not to pace games and stories in general.

    The art direction of the game, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic. Everything has a sketch-y quality to it, with the characters literally being roughly animated sketches, and the environment fading out to a blank canvas in areas of no importance (the blank stretch of wall between a sitting area and a door, for example). The environment that is detailed maintains a hand-illustrated feel, with a painted feel to the areas with color. The art is one of my favorite parts of the game, and feels creative and fresh. Likewise, the characters are developed to a degree that is uncommon in games, and the conflicts that arise with them, as well as their responses, feel natural and believable. These two things are perhaps the only thing keeping me playing at this time, as the gameplay and plot certainly fail to provide incentive for continuing.

    The game is largely based around conversation with characters, with the player doing a lot of passive dialogue absorption. Every so often you are allowed the honor of tapping a blinking button on the screen to "follow up" on something, which simply results in more text to read. You are also given the option to ask certain people about certain things, which while interesting from a character perspective is not particularly engaging nor fun. Very rarely do the choices of things to ask about hit on any really interesting or difficult choices, but every so often you have to give pause to honestly think about it.

    Being on the DS, the game offers some interesting features as far as gameplay goes. The occasional puzzle requires you to interact directly with objects, moving things around and grabbing certain places. The DS also presents problems, however, as moving around in first-person is accomplished by moving a cursor around on an overhead map, which requires you to focus on that instead of the actual first-person view. There are also load times between menus, rooms, and views that are encountered often enough to significantly contribute to the slow pace of the game.

    All in all, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a game with great writing and art direction that is made nigh-unplayable by the pacing, lack of proper instruction for the player, and lack of gameplay-based incentive for continuation of play.
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    [January 13, 2008 01:28:25 AM]

    Hotel Dusk is an Adventure game for the Nintendo DS with a heavy noir influence. You play as a washed up detective named Kyle Hyde, guiding him around environments, examining objects, taking notes, and engaging in dialogue with non-player characters. The game is set in a small hotel in Nevada, with Kyle Hyde investigating events leading to the disappearance of his former partner. The goal of the game is pretty vague even at over an hour in, with the player left to themselves to find what to do next in order to trigger plot advancement. To accomplish this, the player explores the hotel, initiates dialogue via options with people, and collects items to solve puzzles.


    This game is mind-numbingly slow. Almost every aspect of the game contributes to a pace that can be generously described as plodding. You are dumped into the game world with nothing but the high-level objective of checking into the hotel and the player is left to their own devices to figure out movement, interaction, and the interface. While not particularly befuddling, it still takes a while to fully grasp these things on your own. Dialogue, a major facet of the game, is tedious at many times, with the characters being by and large evasive and insubstantial in their conversations. You may gleam one or two bits of helpful or interesting information out of a conversation, but it takes you a good ten minutes to actually extricate it from the stumbling back and forth between your character and others.

    The rest of the gameplay is not much better. Movement through areas is relatively slow, and the loading time between areas is roughly a second (which wouldn't be bad if the areas weren't tiny sitting rooms and hallways). This makes moving from one end of the small hotel to the other a trial of patience. A similar pause is noticeable when going between menus in your inventory or notepad, which again, would not be nearly so bad if you were not trying to navigate them at any tolerable speed.

    Hotel Dusk's story is similarly paced. Over the course of the first eighty minutes I played it, I had managed to check in, chat it up with the proprietor, bump into several people in the hallway, and make it to my room. Very little is revealed to the player in terms of the character's motivation or as to why he thinks that he will find the things he believes are at the hotel. It is clear that they do have a decent plot based around this, but they are so reluctant to reveal any of it to the player that it just ended up turning me off.

    The characters in the game are by and large unique, well thought-out, and all indicate that they will have been developed by the end of the game. This is actually one of the few things that really compelled me to continue playing. The player is given very little freedom in how and when they interact with them, however, as when you're on your way to your room and a door to another room opens, you're having a long conversation about why they're here and that's that.

    Overall, the game is very slow, but interesting enough to keep me playing. I haven't had much fun to be bluntly honest, but hopefully the game will hit its stride eventually.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 14th, 2008 at 01:20:34.

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    dumpster_fox's Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)

    Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated

    GameLog started on: Saturday 12 January, 2008

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 15 January, 2008

    dumpster_fox's opinion and rating for this game

    The pacing makes this otherwise good game simply intolerable. Great art, great writing, great characters, but actually getting to this content takes absolutely forever.

    Rating (out of 5):starstar

    Related Links

    See dumpster_fox's page

    See info on Hotel Dusk: Room 215

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS) by jp (rating: 5)
    2 : Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS) by MichBelle (rating: 5)
    3 : Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS) by Midboss (rating: 5)
    4 : Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS) by Skeeter (rating: 5)


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