Descend with us into the dark abyss between reality and nightmare, in this review of the brand new The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
Also mentioned in a previous article relating to the titles arriving on Xbox Game Pass, the interesting Lovecraftian horror-themed metroidvania developed by the guys from Plot Twist and published by Rogue Games Inc. is finally available on Xbox Series X / S and PC. The title had recently attracted attention thanks also to a captivating Noir artistic direction that caught the eye from the first images shown. So let’s find out together in this review what The Last Case Of Benedict Fox is like.
Randolph Carter chi?
We are in the early 1900s, precisely in the Boston, Massachusetts area. The setting and historical period already leave no doubt about the strong Lovecraftian influences that we will find in The Last Case Of Benedict Fox, and of which we have already mentioned in the introduction of this review. In the game we will play the investigator of the same name in the title, who will find himself trying to find out more about his past, investigating a villa where the two respective owners are dead. To help him in the enterprise there will be a demon, always linked to the soul of the protagonist, thanks to which he will be able to exploit supernatural powers, and will have the opportunity to enter Limbo, or a sort of chaotic parallel dimension created by memories and emotions of the deceased.
Without revealing anything else to avoid any spoilers, it must be said that the developers, while drawing heavily from the abused Lovecraftian imagery, have done a very good job of characterizing the lore of the game. In fact, the plot starts from decidedly intriguing premises, and in general manages to remain stimulating for a good part of the adventure. It must be said that at times we have perceived a little confusion in following the thread of the story, probably due to a metroidvania/investigative dualism that is not perfectly blended, with the result of passing from markedly narrative moments, made up of dialogues and/or cutscenes, to others in which the environmental narration of the places that we will discover freely predominates. A pity, above all because, as we have already said, the events are immediately intriguing and the narrative universe always remains coherent and well-woven
L’abitatore del Limbo – Review The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
In the last paragraph of this review we mentioned the villa that we will have to explore in The Last Case Of Benedict Fox. In reality, the latter will not be very extensive and will initially act as a starting area through which we will access Limbo, where we will spend most of our time exploring and fighting. Once the corpse of one of the owners of the mansion has been found, in fact, we will be able to access the relative Limbo. From then on, the villa will become a sort of hub to which you can periodically return to solve some puzzles, recover objects and talk to the NPCs who will gradually populate it. Some of the latter will also allow us to obtain new powers and useful objects to enhance our protagonist.
Crossed the threshold of Limbo, the game will show its true nature of metroidvania. These worlds will in fact be characterized by labyrinthine sections made up of platforms, blocked doors and enemies to face, with the classic two-dimensional view also adopted by other recent exponents of the genre, such as Metroid Dead and the two Ori by Moon Studios (of which you can find here the review of the second chapter). The level design is immediately rather convoluted, with the game that will do nothing (or almost) to direct you on the right path, forcing you instead to explore the various areas in depth before finding an object, a memory or a passage capable of making you to progress. What has just been reported is not surprising at all, considering the genre to which the game belongs, and yet, despite the presence of a well-made map (and the possibility of facilitating exploration from the settings), we sometimes felt a bit of dispersion in the environments, which , depending on your tastes, could more or less translate into frustration in some stages of the adventure.
Elementare Watson! – Review The Last Case Of Benedict Fox
As mentioned earlier in this review, in The Last Case Of Benedict Fox we will also have to deal with investigations and puzzles. The former mainly consist of collecting objects (which we can also inspect if necessary to discover their secrets), some of which will be useful for solving the numerous puzzles that the game offers us. The care placed in the latter is immediately evident, with the developers who have done their utmost to even recreate a sort of runic language (recurring in various puzzles) that we will have to go and decipher using the tools that we will recover during the adventure.
They range from more immediate puzzles to others that will require you to squeeze your brains to be able to reach the solution. If you then encounter too many difficulties, there will be an option in the settings that greatly facilitates our investigator’s life, allowing us to solve any puzzle with the simple push of a button (provided you have recovered the necessary tools, a fundamental condition for not “break” the game progression). It must be said that the investigative system made up of objects to collect and puzzles to solve, although not perfect, turns out to be the side of the gameplay that works best, in the whole work.
A man of action – The Last Case Of Benedict Fox review
Continuing this review, we now come to the fights of The Last Case Of Benedict Fox. These will see our investigator mainly use a melee bayonet, but if necessary it will be possible to take advantage of a very powerful pistol, although capable (at least initially) of firing only one bullet at a time, rechargeable by hitting enemies with standard attacks or through the various teleportation points. In the villa you can also buy secondary items such as smoke bombs and explosives, as well as treatments to be used when necessary. The circle is closed by a dodge and a parry which, if performed with the right timing, allows you to deflect the attacks and return the damage.
Unfortunately, the clashes, in practice, seemed awkward and generally a little approximate, thanks to the movements and attacks of our character who seem more often than not rather woody. The same goes for the platform phases, which at times will be more difficult for the movements and, in particular for the character’s jump, than for anything else. Instead of a common double jump, in fact, our investigator will be able to take advantage of demonic tentacles to hook onto ceilings, platforms (and sometimes even enemies), like a sort of grappling hook. Unfortunately, this peculiar choice does not always work as it should, and in some passages it has forced us to make more efforts than necessary.
Soon in the adventure we will meet a character capable of expanding and enhancing our demonic abilities, by spending Ink obtained by defeating enemies. Most of these upgrades, however useful, will mostly be accessories, but there will be some that will be practically mandatory to obtain to continue, and the choice to place them together with other upgrades that are not necessary for game progress might make obtaining them a little less intuitive for some. Unfortunately, precisely the obtaining of powers and objects to advance, which has always been the beating heart of every metroidvania, is here instead another of the elements that could have been better refined. In fact, a couple of times it has happened to us that the story led us to try to recover an object to advance, but to not be able to find the way to reach it, then later discovering (after several idle turns) that in order to obtain it, it was first necessary to find another item or upgrade to clear the way.
The sound of other dimensions – The Last Case Of Benedict Fox review
We cannot close this review of The Last Case Of Benedict Fox without mentioning the artistic sector of the work. In fact, as already mentioned above, the graphic style is perhaps the greatest strength of the entire production. The environments, made entirely in 3D, are truly beautiful and inspired, as well as expertly designed. In some areas of Limbo the artists of the team have clearly given free rein to their imagination, outlining chaotic, otherworldly and dark worlds, but at the same time colorful and detailed, perfect representations of the vivid dreams described by Lovecraft of his stories. It is a real shame therefore that in some situations we have encountered sporadic bugs and framerate drops. Nothing serious that can’t be fixed with a patch, mind you, but we certainly wouldn’t have expected something like this, having played the title on Xbox Series X.
As far as sound design is concerned, however, we have a rather fluctuating situation. In the face of some overall successful sounds (such as the shot of the gun and the cries of some monsters), we have others that are decidedly less convincing (footsteps on some surfaces, or some feedback of successful shots, to name a few), which unfortunately they dampen the final effect of some scenes, especially the more agitated ones. Even the soundtrack, strongly influenced by the Jazz style of the 20s/30s, is overall devoid of songs that are really capable of getting noticed, preferring to remain relegated to a background that slips away without infamy and without praise, but which could have added a touch more atmosphere. Finally, there is also an overall successful English dubbing (special mention for the interpretation of the Demon linked to the protagonist), but with some acting tests that seemed a little lacking in pathos to us.
The solution of the case
As we have seen in this review, The Last Case Of Benedict Fox is a title with good narrative assumptions, able to excel in the setting and above all in the noir artistic style, refined and well cared for. Unfortunately, to counterbalance all this we have a progression that is not always clear, platform and combat system phases generally with an unsatisfying feeling, and a fluctuating audio sector that would have deserved a greater characterization. On balance, the title still remains a pleasant and atypical metroidvania with some overall interesting investigative and puzzle elements, but which, with the right filings, could have become a new pearl in the recent panorama.
And what do you think? Have you already tried this title? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to techgameworld.com for all the news dedicated to the world of video games. To buy video games at a discounted price, we advise you to take a look at the Kinguin catalogue.
An interesting experiment but one that could have shined much brighter
- Accurate and intriguing plot and lore
- Investigate and solve puzzles in the…