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Review: The Journey Down: Chapter Two (Nintendo Switch)By RudyC3 At 03.08.2018 21:32

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Bwana, Kito, and Lina finally took off for the Underland in Chapter One and the story continues here as they run into more than just one problem along the way, with the bulk of Chapter Two taking place in Port Artue. For the sake of keeping the plot safe from any spoilers, as really the point of the genre is for the player to uncover the story for him or herself, more detail about it won't be revealed here, but there is one main aspect to touch upon: length. Chapter Two is, by comparison, a lot longer than Chapter One. The Port Artue section of the story offers a comparatively larger map to explore and things to see and do are way more diverse. In fact, the section is so large that the inventory has the potential to build up quite a bit with a lot of different tools and objects at disposal but, overall, puzzles don't seem quite as far-fetched this time around. The balance of cleverness and difficulty is struck much better in that regard, although it was not completely off in the previous episode, either.

The grime look of the city, coupled with the jazzy vibes of the soundtrack, gives this chapter a kind of film noir atmosphere that really goes above and beyond the more cheerful, tropical, reggae tones of the first chapter that were more reminiscent of the Monkey Island series. Here, it goes pretty much full on Grim Fandango with its atmosphere and, with the more thriller-oriented plot here coupled to the afro accents of the characters, the overall feel could be likened to a Blaxploitation film of the 1970s, something very rarely seen exploited, no pun intended, in videogames in general. It is simply bliss to sit through, especially because of one more aspect: plot development.

In Chapter Two, unlike Chapter One, the story evolution becomes completely unhinged. The plot thickens very early on and things become way darker and more interesting. The pacing is better and the cast of characters encountered in the corrupted city is much more colourful, as well, truly building up an interest in the player for what is going on. With how long each chapter took to be developed, it's easy to understand that the development team had not quite found its footing by the end of Chapter One and it is a real treat to see that it did by the end of Chapter Two.

It's a bit sad to see that Chapter One really shouldn't be priced the way it is with the amount of content it offers, but this one gets it right, at least, so that leaves much to hope for with Chapter Three. Besides just the plot being better and content being richer, all technical aspects of Chapter Two are just the same as they were in Chapter One; nothing major has changed on that front. Although to expand a little bit on the opinion from the first chapter, it must be admitted that the compression level of the FMV in the game is of rather poor quality. It does not get in the way of the experience in any way, and lower quality also means that a lengthier chapter of The Journey Down like Chapter Two won't take up too much storage space. Chapter One being shorter took only 1.2GB and Chapter Two weighs in at 1.9GB, for comparison's sake. Beyond those technical considerations, though, the same controls are in place and the same types of presentation styles are in use here.

There's a point in the story here where it rains on the city that, despite being just a looped FMV playing, really gives off a nice feel to the scenery, especially since a lot of time is spent in the same city, so seeing it under more weather conditions feels like a welcome addition. Chapter Two is dedicated to the memory of Simon D'Souza, the composer of the fantastic soundtrack of The Journey Down who passed away in 2014. Jamie Salisbury contributed to the soundtrack of Chapter Two, so it will be interesting to see whether Chapter Three uses only Jamie's talent or if it will use material recorded before the passing of Mr. D'Souza... or a mixture of both options, like in Chapter Two. To further expand on the analysis of the technical aspects from Chapter One, there are occasions when sound recording levels for the lines of dialogue go up or down, depending on the character being recorded and, although this is not a problem with just The Journey Down but a recurring problem in point n' click adventure games in general, it is recommended to lower the volume of the background music to better appreciate the acting and, even then, during FMV story scenes, sometimes the voices can be drowned in the music and sound effects in more extreme cases, but this only really happens once or twice.

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Final Score
[i]The Journey Down: Chapter Two[/i] offers more and better story content than [i]Chapter One[/i] did, exactly like was hoped. Things bode well for the finale and this chapter elevates the overall feel of the trilogy so far from a status of good point-and-click adventure to something more special than the first chapter taken on its own merits may have led some to expect.



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