Developer Elseware Experience and publisher Freedom Games brings us Broken Pieces. An action-packed investigative and adventure game set in France. You play as Elise, a woman in her 30's, that with her fiance decide to leave urban life. They settle near the french coast but after an unexplained paranormal phenomenon occurs, Elise ends up completely alone in a dark, post-Cold War climate. She will have to investigate to unravel the mysteries surrounding the region of Saint-Exil, its ritualistic cult, and its lighthouse overlooking the coast.
What we liked:
Visuals - At times the game looks absolutely gorgeous, with detailed environments and varying locations. Set in a fictional region reminiscent of Brittany in the 1990's you are able to interact with the environment to learn more about what has been going on.
Audio - As you explore you come across a variety of cassette tapes which you can listen in your tape player as you play. These an be informative or musical (composed by Pierre for Elise) but they were enjoyable and having the ability to fast forward/rewind them whilst playing like a real tape player was a nice touch. The atmospheric sounds were also decent and fitted with the environments on offer.
Weather Mechanics - The changes of weather from storms to sunny etc was interesting and looked fantastic and enables you to solve certain puzzles.
Puzzles - I enjoyed a good chunk of the puzzles, some of them were well implemented. Very reminiscent of 90s adventure games with inventory management.
Camera - I'm a sucker for the more fixed camera angles in 3rd person games, so the addition of a revised camera system that homages these 90's games was cool. You can also switch into first-person mode if you want to look around more!
What we didn't like:
Puzzles - Some of them were exceptionally complicated for no reason.
Combat - This is worst part of the game is the combat, It's just terrible. The dodge hardly works and it's a clunky mess. Luckily there is a mode to turn this off and I HIGHLY recommend that's the mode you play.
Camera - The camera can be a little janky at times.
Story - I don't want to say the story/plot is bad as honestly the first 3/4 of the game is great, but the ending just falls flat on its face and won't be the satisfying conclusion you are hoping for!
For a first game made from a dev team of 5 people, Broken Pieces is a great attempt at a psychological thriller. The atmosphere and story is unsettling and intriguing but the combat does let it all down. Luckily the developers have provided a mode that minimises this so you can focus fully on the story and puzzles. The game is far from perfect, but the investigation and puzzle aspect made me want to keep playing to the resolution. The end of the story falls a little flat too but all in all its a great first game attempt. Definitely check it out if you enjoy a bizarre game that reminds me of games like Syberia. TOTAL SCORE: 7.5/10
Broken Pieces was released on the 31st October 2022 on the Xbox store. Priced at £20.99 it's playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles. You can purchase the game HERE. A copy of the game was provided for this review. A big thanks for that.