What is Face Noir
Face Noir is a 2.5D detective point and click adventure with a grim sepia filter and serious atmosphere. You will play as a private eye – Jack Del Nero, who somehow lives from day to day like most people after the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange. His only pleasure are cigarettes and whiskey, which he generally can’t afford and his job as a private detective doesn’t earn much. But one day he answers the call from his old colleague, who was involved in a pretty tangled cobweb of underworld.
The story begins at the end to entice you, then of course you will play retrospectively to find out why it happened. Because I don’t want to spoil the whole story, let’s continue with parameters, which can be reviewed without interfering with the plot.
3D characters have slightly more sophisticated Max Payne’s graphic. The textures are visibly more balanced. Well, there’s a difference of 12 years so it’s not an objective comparison, but I mentioned it only as a metaphor. Character’s facial expressions are horrible, but you honestly can’t expect more here (it’s technically impossible). I personally really didn’t mind the lack of facial expressions, even though it has lowered the seriousness and emotionalism of the situations. However the whole graphic is in the well chosen sepia tone, which underlines the depressive undertone of the game.
As every adventure game this one has mini games and tasks too. Does Face Noir have some atypical elements? I can think of one mechanism – you collect thoughts by examining various subjects and obtaining information, which you can lately match together in order to get new conversation topics or it can lead you to a crucial track of the investigation. Otherwise, the mini-games are not significantly different from other adventure games.
As a player you don’t have any freedom. The game is exactly scripted and if you don’t complete everything in the correct order, there’s no way to get further in the story, even if you know what to do. This game simply doesn’t care that you as an experienced point-and-click player know, what is expected of you, here the game decides what’s next. E.g. You know that you need to go into that locked dark alley, but Jack won’t go there, because it doesn’t make sense to him. So you have to convince him that he actually wants to go there. Sounds interesting, right? Sometimes I had the feeling that Face Noir is pulling my leg, because I somehow always missed the right point and found it after I walked around all possible locations, I made a circle and returned to the same location, but this time I was successful. Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to speed up the character movement with a double-click.
If you are handy and easily progress through the game, you will soon realize that it’s pretty dynamic. You won’t play as Jack the whole time and you will find out that what seemed to be realism turned out to actually be a magical realism.
My Italian vocabulary of four words – grande, italiano, grazie and arrivederci have expanded by another word – dannazione! Jack will use it so many times that you will never forget it. I don’t blame him, I would be cynical and negative too if I were him. But what I definitely don’t find negative is the English voice acting. I think that the voices fit to the characters and the music is also appropriately chosen.
I rank Face Noir among the games that didn’t really impress me, but didn’t really disappoint me in the same time. But what really did upset me is the end. I don’t mind the open end, but I mind that at the end I was acquainted with a sequel – Face Noir 2, which I wanted to play because I obviously am interested in how the story turns out. But instead I found out that Face Noir 2 was never released. I don’t know what happened, maybe the development team broke up, anyway, I as a player feel cheated. Of course, this fact doesn’t affect the evaluation of Face Noir, on the contrary, my disappointment is a compliment, because I’m interested in the sequel.
- gloomy, cynical design and atmosphere
- decent voice acting
- plot twists
- double-click – speeds up character’s movement
- funny monologs
- Face Noir 2 was never released
- the story is scripted, no freedom as a player