Metropolis Lux Obscura is a noir style comic adventure which is very reminiscent of Sin City. You play the part of Jon Lockhart, an ex-con who has been recently released from prison and is intent on finding out who sent him down. The games story is presented via comic panels with the meat of the gameplay being a MATCH3 system.
First off, I’m a self confessed comic fan who’s been brought up on a diet of classic DC and 2000AD characters. The art style grabbed me immediately and the hand drawn panels really help set the scene. Presented almost exclusively in black and white with flashes of colour, it really popped on my One X. From rain slicked streets, to busy strip clubs and bars, every panel is full of detail and more often than not, sexy women. Be aware, this is aimed squarely at adults with various levels of nudity as well as depictions of bloody violence. The artwork is definitely the highlight of the show here.
Having been put away due to evidence given by your ex, Goldie, Lockhart is out for answers and he’ll get them the only way he knows how. If he hasn’t been based on Marv from Sin City, it’s a really big coincidence how similar they are. All the way down to the basic story arc.
The game presents the player with story choices, kind of like those old Fighting Fantasy novels, with each decision affecting the outcome of the story. A basic city map allows you to choose which route you’ll take to one of the four possible endings and each chapter is fully voiced. The quality of acting varies wildly and none of it is terrible but none of it is entirely memorable. Let’s just say it doesn’t have the gravitas of Max Payne. But hey, you can run through it all in about an hour so it doesnt outstay its welcome. The music on the otherhand is bland and uninspiring with the same track repeating during every fight.
This is where my positivity ends. There really isn’t much game here and what game there is, turns out to be a very shallow MATCH3 title like Bejeweled. Each chapter starts out with a bit of conversation and then leads to someone getting punched. The game then moves to a tile interface printed with various weapons, healing items and police badges. The more tokens you can get in a horizontal or vertical line, the more damage you deal or health you regenerate. Or in the case of the police badges, the more damage you’re dealt by invisible roaming police.
Rage tokens also allow you to build a bar to deal extra damage. The enemies themselves always have a higher pool of health but are never challenging. Sometimes you’ll have to fight more than one person in quick succession but this is always done one at a time. I never once worried about losing a battle and actually ended up losing on purpose just to grab a quick achievement.
The game really seems to want you to see the endings and the placement of the tiles always seems to be in favour of you dealing as much damage as possible. Combat is turn based and the first person to hit zero health loses. Pretty standard stuff. Upgrades will also allow you to deal extra damage among other things and are unlocked after every successful battle. And thats it – watch a cutscene, fight someone, repeat ad nauseum.
It feels wrong to have a go at Metropolis Lux Obscura though as it only costs £6.39/$7.99, but for the content that’s on offer it personally feels too costly. If you have a deep love for comic books, especially noir, and can get past the simplified gameplay you might find some enjoyment here. For most, this shallow experience won’t entertain you for long and ultimately you’ll be disappointed.
Metropolis Lux Obscura will be available for Xbox One on 4th April.
• Good story
• Nice cutscene graphics
• Easy achievements
• Short on content
• Minimal interaction
• Basic gameplay