Best known for its point and click series Runaway, Spanish-based independent studio Pendulo’s latest offering sees the studio return to the mysterious world of hero John Yesterday with Yesterday Origins. Similar in style to Revolution Softwares Broken Sword series, Yesterday Origins is a beautifully detailed graphical adventure and a follow-up to 2012’s PC and mobile title – Yesterday. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience a small fragment of Yesterdays Origins on PC, with the full game set to launch on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Mac October 13th.
As loveable protagonists go, John Yesterday is certainly one of the more intriguing and interesting ones. During the Spanish inquisition some 500 years ago, a ritual forced upon Yesterday left the games hero immortal, unable to die. While he can still meet his maker at any given point in time he will merely return to that same moment albeit with no prior memory, leaving Yesterday with the unfortunate affliction of amnesia. Yesterday Origins story finds us 500 years before present day with the games main character in a tight bind from which he must use all of his wit and intelligence in order to escape.
Yesterday Origins opening moments find Yesterday locked inside a prison cell with only the corpse of a young man tied to some rope and a large sleeping pig for company. The protagonist stands accused of working with the art of dark magic, a sorcerer, in cahoots with the devil, while a large rounded drunkard of a guard awaits the green light to torture a confession from Yesterday if he fails to fess up to his sins in a timely manner. Being predominantly a puzzle game, it is up to the player to investigate their miserable, dank surroundings to locate clues and items to aid in their escape.
Away from the obvious items in front of John from the get go and from inside his cell, players can turn to the back of Yesterday’s confines to find the drunk and snoring guard resting upon a stool, with whom the protagonist can engage in an open-branched conversation to uncover various clues pertaining to his incarceration. With dialogue between the two ranging from Yesterday pleading his innocence against his accused crimes to discussing the various means of imminent torture, which include some not so favourable outcomes for our loveable hero. It is while talking with the guard that John learns of the reason for the pig’s incarceration, with the swine having apparently mauled a priest after gaining a sniff of the religious man’s blood. Items of interest such as this and a mysteriously placed poisonous frog can all play a part in John’s escape and by formulating a plan or piecing together the different objects in his nearby vicinity John can reach a favourable outcome and evade his captures.
In my short time spent with Yesterdays Origins I found its artwork to be incredibly well detailed with a wonderful point and click system that allows players to fully explore both the opening environment and post-escape. One of the great things about graphical adventures such as Yesterday Origins is the sheer amount of detail that goes into each scene, bringing the game to life while effortlessly immersing the player in both story and surroundings. Aside from its pleasing art and control scheme Pendulo Studio’s has introduced an ‘Intention’ system which adds a whole new dimension to the games wonderful puzzles.
The protagonist is now forced to explain his every action as he attempts to piece together various clues, in-turn assisting players who often find themselves fumbling around with inventory items that simply don’t go together. Much like Frogware’s deduction board for Sherlock Holmes, the introduction of a new system in the Yesterday series will surely help to keep the player on track throughout the game, but it will certainly be interesting to see how ‘Intentions’ play into the story as players progress deeper.
As a big fan of the original game and the Broken Sword series, I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing where the developer takes John Yesterday throughout the story when the game launches for Xbox One, PS4, PC and Mac on October 13th.