GSY REVIEW | PS3 Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | 10:00 AM

Gamersyde Review:
Red Johnson's Chronicles

Gamersyde Review: <br>Red Johnson's Chronicles

After getting our hands on the preview code of Red Johnson's Chronicles, we were looking forward to finding out if the whole journey would be worth it. After completing Lexis Numérique's title last weekend, now is the time for our full review and a bunch of homemade videos. Make yourself comfortable and when you're ready, come on in.

Metropolis Street Killer

As previously stated in our preview, Red Johnson's Chronicles involves a private investigator hired by the mediocre officer Robert from the Metropolis police department to solve a murder case. The city is actually far from being a safe haven, so criminals and murderers spread like butter on toast. It is no wonder then that its inhabitants are such cynical and disillusioned characters. Red, however, is not the kind of guy to just give up; he will stop at nothing to find the victim's murderer.

The world created is very atmospheric and technically sufficient, especially for a PSN title. It is then all the more disappointing to see a lack of character and locational variation, as it then becomes more difficult to surprise the player with unexpected twists and turns throughout the story. One could argue though, that it is in perfect keeping with the claustrophobic and intimate atmosphere the game conveys. As such, it would be unfair to say that the point here is to feel like a tourist visiting a vast, endlessly detailed city... because it is not.

Red Johnson can't lose

Puzzles on the contrary are many and varied and will keep you busy during the 6 to 8 hours adventure. Obviously, the time you will spend playing the game will depend greatly on your skills at solving puzzles and on the number of times you decide to call your precious informer Saul for help. What is certain is that your wits will be put to the test more than once. Indeed, because the puzzles are so diverse, the player is always asked to rack his brain and to pay close attention to every single detail.

Solving puzzles will gain you rank, which is something we already mentioned in our preview, but so will all the other actions Red will accomplish. Money is also given and the amount received depends on how fast you have been and how many tips you've asked Saul. Money corresponds to your score, as well your final rank upon completion of the game (minus any amount used for tips). Regardless, though, if you are into puzzle solving, rest assured that you will not get bored and your cortex will be stimulated until the game's end.

The Persuader

When he does not improvise himself an electrician, a plumber, a pianist, a safe expert, etc, Red does not forget that being a good P.I. means making people and clues talk. At some point, you may have to persuade a bum too cooperate and tell you what he knows, or lure a suspect away from his/her apartment to fumble through it in peace. Once a place has been fully searched, Red heads to his headquarter to analyze the clues he has found there. Thanks to a very practical machine that looks a lot like an old arcade machine, you can find fingerprints, find out the caliber of a bullet or even compare a gun with an empty shell to make sure it is the weapon of the crime. Red also has access to a certain number of files in which he will be able to find an address or a phone number.

In short, all the activities one has come to expect from a P.I. are available and it is not long before you realize that a good memory is essential during the summary sequences. The longest one is actually the final sequence of the game where you have to recapitulate all the facts and deductions gathered during the investigation. Sometimes, these summaries are insultingly easy, sometimes they are a bit more subtle.

Finally, let's say a few words on the Quick Time Events that allow a bit more action. They are all rather brief (so quite the opposite of those in Heavy Rain) but you don't always have much time to press the correct button so you should always be prepared.


After a few hours spent on the preview, the question was if the story would be interesting enough to captivate the players. To be honest, some might be a little disappointed in that area, as the plot is actually quite predictable and a bit mundane. With more characters and a greater variety in the locations, the game would have gained a bigger scale, but it could simply be a choice made by the developers as an introduction to Red Johnson's adventures. Indeed, the game's ending makes it clear that our top notch investigator intends to be back to finish the job and clean the city from its vermin. Could Red Johnson's Chronicles actually be the very first chapter in a long series? Let's hope so because, despite the lack of surprises in the plot, it is a really nice game to play, with logical puzzles that are always coherent with the game's world. For only $9.99/9.99€, it would be stupid not to give it a go as some retail titles do not do as well. Given that the genre is also a bit lacking on Playstation 3, consider yourself lucky that Red Johnson's Chronicles is interesting. And since the game is well done, what more could you possibly ask for?

The First 10 Minutes
Download: WMV HD | MP4 HD | AVI
Download: WMV HD | MP4 HD | AVI
Download: WMV HD | MP4 HD | AVI

All comments

Commented on 2011-04-20 10:54:25
Oh wow, a first-person adventue game? Haven't seen one of those in a while. I've been playing through Broken Sword Director's Cut right now, so this looks right up my alley.

The main character's VO is a little mundane. I think I'm ok with not much location-hopping, as long as the city's varied enough for the investigations.
Commented on 2011-04-21 14:09:58
played an hour or so of this, and it's great, voice acting could be better, but the story has me intrigued, stylistically it's awesome, and the puzzles are ligical, smart, and typically observation based, which i prefer to the monkey island approach where you combine random items to form an equally random item. great game so far.
Commented on 2011-04-21 16:45:24
One thing worth mentioning that we just learned today when meeting someone from Lexis Numérique is that the game is 50% cheaper for PSN+ subscribers. :)

At such a price, you'd be a fool not to give the game a try.

We'll also have a First Look article focused on AMY coming soon. We actually went to a first presentation today and it went really well. The game seems really promising so we can't wait to play it. :)

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