Games Gazette Logo

     launch video

EMPATHY: Path of Whispers is an intriguing first-person point and click animated adventure developed by Pixel Night and published by Iceberg Interactive.

It is both brilliant and painfully annoying at the same time. As the hero of the piece you are thrust into a weird and wonderous adventure where the world is a universe of unusual structures and ruins. To continue through this world you have a hand held device called an E-15P (OKG DUCHY) Full-Spectrum Energy Scanner. Throughout your journey you will find places that you can search and items you can collect to use by way of a unique mechanic. You will also see glowing blurred objects that you need to identify by using the E-15P. By holding down the right mouse button when you are holding the E-15P near one of these objects a white wavy lines like those on a graph, similar to sound waves seen on a scanner screen; over this will appear a red wavy line that by manipulating the Mouse Wheel and the LMB you have to position it exactly over the white line of waves. When you have completed this the object becomes solid and you get lines of text relating to it across the bottom of the screen, then you may or quite often may not pick it up.

  

The unique mechanic of using the items and objects you collect is a split screen where on the left screen you see the puzzle and on the right screen you see a list of the items of your inventory. By moving the items (shown as text) on the Right you align them with the puzzle on the Left, and once they match they automatically unite or activate, either solving the puzzle or giving you something new to use.

Other puzzles are either more complex, need different items to work, or are obvious; one of the easier ones is rebuilding the railroad tracks. You see a broken railway line and three planks of wood (supposedly railway sleepers) by picking up these planks, one at a time you can put them in place for the railway track and then you have to hammer the spikes in as they appear. When you have laid the third plank the entire track rebuilds itself - I took screen shots (below there are 3) to show this solved puzzle but I am not going to explain every puzzle I have come across as this is my thoughts on the game not a walkthrough.

The art, especially that of the backdrops, is beautifully surreal and yet almost believable. The old Atlas theme park is a scary remnant and visionary reminder of how spooky and eerie an empty, decrepit Disney-esque world would look if left to go to ruin - there is actually a theme park in Brunei which has been left to its own devices of overgrown weed and rusting rides simply because it isn't the Bruneian way to repair things when they break.

  

The game isn't linear, well not totally, because you can venture all over the current area you are in, but it has linear problems, such as you cannot continue until you have found certain objects, the hammer, a key or a key-card etc and this can lead to much roaming around and cursor waving. There are hot-spots that you can activate and these are located by moving the cursor, which is a small white dot, until it changes into a circle and then there may be something you can do or find. The annoying thing is that there are so many places, objects, buildings, areas etc that look like you should be able to interact with them and yet they are just matte backgrounds, immovable and nothing but eye-candy, there isn't even any text that pops up to tell you what you see or why you cannot go any further in that direction.This always frustrates me and reminds me of the old text adventures from the 80's where you enter a room that is described as 10ft square with a door opposite and a painting on the North wall. "Look at painting" you type and receive the reply from the A.I. "I see no painting". Those text adventures have advanced to be like this, beautifully illustrated, eerily atmospheric, amazingly realistic and yet "I see no painting" still applies in its own sweet way.

Fans of fantasy art will love this for its beauty. Fans of Cthulhu will enjoy the atmosphere created by the illustrations and spooky backdrops. Fans of point and click will enjoy it because they are used to only clicking on hot-spots and not worrying about anything onscreen other than the next step in their journey - the beauty of the piece passes them by. Players like myself will be drawn to the game for all the points just mentioned, but also frustrated by many of those same points.

The story slowly unfolds and it is not an easy one to follow, it isn't like reading a book or a graphic novel, or it is exactly like that but piecemeal. Physically taking notes is probably the best way to help you keep up with the storyline, but it will slow down your playing. You are exploring the past from the future and from the memories of "ghosts" that you meet en route. Your aim is to piece together what occurred to make the world such a desolate place and then to hopefully find the means to reverse the process so that the future, your future, is as it was planned to be. You are empathic with the people and surroundings of these past lives and through this you will decipher the elements required for success. It is a clever, but slow, process and demands thought, planning and time. There is no bull in a china shop way to play. No running around shooting and blowing things up. Your adrenaline levels will remain low but your brain cells will be whizzing around like demented dervishes as you seek and search for answers.

The screenshots on this page are literally that, photo shots I have taken with my camera of the screen as I played, because for some reason the [Print Screen] ability didn't work for me. I have not completed the game as yet but I do keep returning to it because although it frustrates me it also entices me. I am not playing because I don't want to be beaten by a game, I am continuing because I am intrigued as to what lies ahead. If you like point and click animated adventures which have a strong detective motivation then there's every possibility that EMPATHY: Path of Whispers will be for you.

  

Available on STEAM

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

 

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Windows 7 64 bit (32 bit NOT supported)

    • Processor: 2.5 Ghz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 or equivalent

    • Memory: 8 GB RAM

    • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti or ATI HD6950 or equivalent

    • DirectX: Version 11

    • Storage: 9 GB available space

    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Audio

  • ABOUT THIS GAME

    Blinking against the light, you step into a world that seems broken apart, almost dead… Yet there is a pulse, beating faintly in the back of your mind. What has happened in this place, where the people are gone and their memories echo in the silence? Where emotions appear as physical things, hanging in the air, just waiting for someone to reach out…

    Empathy: Path of Whispers is a first-person, action adventure game with a strong focus on storytelling and exploration. Players will find themselves in a surreal world, made from people’s emotions and memories, which they can manipulate and explore. Those lost memories are the key to rebuilding the crumbling world back to its former state, discovering its mysterious past and halting the impending apocalypse. Through its innovative narrative mechanics the game will challenge the player to explore and gain an understanding of the weird world they are traveling through.

    Game Features:
    • Discover and explore other peoples’ memories in order to change the world around you, solve puzzles and access new areas.
    • Traverse a strange world and uncover what triggered the silent apocalypse.
    • Follow a narrative as it develops, interwoven with your exploration.
    • Experience the story through multiple first person perspectives and use your wits to piece the events together.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015