Adam's Venture: Chronicles
Reviewed by Victoria Liu-Anderson
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2014-03-09 PS3 Adventure/Puzzle E (Everyone) Playlogic / Vertigo Games

With such a wide range of action-adventure games out there with their Indiana Jones-esque themes of questing for anthropological - and often mythical - items and locations, it's quite rare to see one that caters to the Christian population. Enter Vertigo Games' Adam's Venture: Chronicles an episodic action-adventure that follows the titular character's quest to first find the Garden of Eden and then King Solomon's Mines. Filled with intrigue, often mind-boggling puzzles that test your skills at math and logic, join Adam as he embarks on his epic journey!

Adam's Venture: Chronicles begins February 1928 in Luz, France, where our young hero Adam finds a scroll marked with Templar symbols. This scroll is the key to unlocking the whereabouts of the Biblical Garden of Eden, as it can lead Adam to the four rivers mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and subsequently the Garden of Eden. With some funding from the Clairvaux Corporation, Adam quickly embarks on a quest with Evelyn and Professor Jacques Saint-Omair.

As Adam explores a network of caves, this archeological adventure takes a turn towards the mystical, when a malevolent being in the form of a dark ominous cloud appears at random moments with taunts and threats, trying to dissuade him from continuing any further.

Gamers may find that the gameplay is rather linear, with very little leeway to explore off the beaten path. While it's understandable that some games may restrict you to a given area, it becomes quite baffling that your character can't jump 12-inches to reach a nook that holds treasure (indicated by floating green orbs). Camera angles and the hint to "Inspect" an item guide you to your next location or objective. When you come across major focal points in the story, the game will require you to solve a puzzle in order to uncover ancient relics or unlock the next area. These puzzles are quite prominent within Adam's Venture Chronicles, and will lay out equations for you to complete, Biblical verses to put into the proper order, and pattern logic to figure out.

While the game's controls are very straightforward, they're also somewhat glitchy, and oftentimes you'll find yourself pushing the left stick in random directions just to get Adam to go the way you want him to - especially when it comes to climbing on and off ladders or walking in a crouch position. When you approach an item to "Inspect" or "Use", you'll also notice that you can only get the action prompt to appear from a very specific angle; approach the item from a different direction and it'll just be a decorative piece within the environment.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of this game is in its sound department. Ambient sounds and music create an enchanting atmosphere while you explore the caves. When the mood grows dark, so does the music, with basal undertones like something ominous sneaking into the glittering mystical garden. The sound effects are quite realistic, with the water splashing in the caves, sounds of rocks sliding across each other when you manipulate pieces of ancient puzzles, and your steps pitter-pattering on the ground. Unfortunately, the voice acting is only subpar, oftentimes seeming as though the actors are just reading words from a page, with a very limited range of emotions injected into their tones.

On the flip side, the graphics are a bit dated, with the characters looking unnaturally stiff with limited range of motion. For example, Adam jumps waist-high whether it's for jumping up a tiny step or jumping onto a raised platform. However, the visuals are saved by the much more realistic environments, which invite players to delve deeper into hidden caves and sparkling grottos. Light and water reflect off of smooth surfaces, fish lazily swim in underground ponds, and the flame from a sconce dances across the cave's rough textures. The pretty surroundings are enough to make you forget the occasional awkward automatic camera angles that sometimes leads to you staring into Adam's forehead from behind a wall.

Despite its many shortcomings, Adam's Venture: Chronicles is a fun little adventure, with some tongue-in-cheek humour and beautiful areas to explore. Though this title may seem to cater to a specific niche at first glance, anyone who enjoys action-adventures and/or puzzles may find this game to be well worth their while. So, gear up, my brave adventurers, and dive into Adam's Venture: Chronicles!

Adam's Venture: Chronicles is available on PC, Steam, and PS3.