Developer: Vertigo Games
Format: PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One
Released: April 1, 2016
Copy provided by GameFly
Adam’s Venture: Origins is a bit of an oddity.
Originally released as an episodic experience between 2009-2012, Adam’s Venture tells the story of a young man named Adam, the adventure he embarks on, and the shady organization that tries to thwart him. With this “Origins” version of the game, all three episodes are combined into one package, complete with updated visuals.
If you’ve ever played an Uncharted or Tomb Raider game, then Adam’s Venture might seem familiar to you. You explore dark caves, use a grappling hook to swing around the environment, and solve puzzles. However, unlike the aforementioned games, there is no combat to be found here. Adam’s Venture is solely focused on narrative, exploration, and puzzle solving.
The story is arguably the thinnest part of the package, resulting in a story that just isn’t that entertaining. Adam’s father has been studying the Biblical book of Genesis and believes that he has found the location of the Garden of Eden. As his young, agile son, you’re tasked with going out into the field and discovering whether or not your father has really pinpointed the location of one of the most tantalizing religious secrets. This could have been a really fascinating story, but the poor writing and lazy voice work make reaching the end of this game a chore.
The research done by your father is never fleshed out, the religious significance and historical importance of this find is barely touched on, and the plot takes a very sharp turn about halfway through which practically eliminates everything you did, making it an entirely different type of story. The worst part is that despite everything going against it, there’s a lot of potential. This could have been a really interesting story and theme to play with, but it becomes rather apparent that those in charge of the story were either not sure how to progress it, or not confident enough to see it through.
As for the voice acting, it’s painfully atrocious. We’re talking “Jill sandwich” levels of cringe. Adam has an almost nasally voice, and every other character speaks with some of the most overdone accents I’ve ever heard in a video game. Combined with the poor attempts of humor in Adam’s little quips he throws around, the game is almost begging to be laughed at.
Unfortunately, problems persist in the actual gameplay as well. You spend a majority of the game walking through different environments looking for a path through, a puzzle to solve, or an item needed to proceed. It feels extremely basic, with nothing that really stands out in any unique fashion. There is a grappling hook mechanic that lets you swing across gaps and pull down ladders, arches, and other items, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. What bothered me the most though was the actual feel of walking around. Adam is quite clunky to control, making maneuvering through tighter areas occasionally difficult and frustrating. There were a few times where I accidentally fell off a ledge or cliff, resulting in the need to work my way back up or sit through a loading screen in the case of death.
Thankfully, the video game God’s have partially shined their light down in the form of puzzles. Surprisingly enough, Adam’s Venture has some very clever and well thought-out challenges for you to overcome. Some puzzles have you rearranging wires to reroute the flow of electricity, some have you using math to adjust the pressure on a gas valve, and others require you to crack a code to gain access to a room. Some of these puzzles can be quite difficult to figure out, but they’re all logical and just require some clever thinking to solve. Without a doubt, this would be my one reason to recommend the game to somebody.
Last, but not least, there are a ton of visual/performance bugs that completely drag down the experience. For starters, the game looks pretty outdated. It’s more like a title for the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 than any kind of game you would expect to see in 2016. The game also suffers from massive pop-in issues, screen tearing, and occasional moments of slowdown, dropping to the 10-15 fps range. The loading times are absurdly long too, with 30-45 seconds being the norm for most levels.
On the plus side, the game is very short, clocking in around 4-5 hours.
Trophy hunters will be proud to know that it does contain a Platinum trophy and that all but two of the trophies are story related. With chapter select, you can easily get those last two trophies and earn yourself a quick and easy Platinum!
Although there’s some interesting and clever puzzles, Adam’s Venture: Origins is a game you’re best off avoiding. It’s a real shame, because you can tell the developers were really trying to make a fun experience and were running with an idea that excited them. Unfortunately, there’s too much stacked against it that I simply can’t recommend you spend your time and money on it. I would be interested in seeing a more polished sequel, but I highly doubt the sales from this game will lead to that being a possibility.
– Zack Burrows