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Monday, January 28, 2008

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Penumbra: Black Plague Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Play has posted a new preview of Frictional Games' Penumbra: Black Plague, the sequel to Overture. The final chapter in the Penumbra story will thrust players into a creepy environment of horror where they must solve puzzles to survive. The preview also includes several screenshots from the game.

With the exploration and puzzle solving side of things firmly placed centre stage it's the impressive physics engine that's used to create most of the game's posers. Every object populating the game world can be manipulated much like you could in real life, with everything around you reacting to your actions as you'd expect. It's not as simple as just pointing and clicking however; you'll have to use your mouse to mimic the required action. Grab the lid of a box and push the mouse up to open it, hold a leaver and use a circular motion on the mouse to turn it, that kind of thing. This adds a nice degree of versatility to your interaction, although there were some teething problems with the translations of your blatantly 2D mouse movement into a proper 3D world in the preview code I got my hands on.

The use of the game world to provide the puzzles in this way is a welcome change from the more traditional combine 'x with y' to produce 'z' approach taken by other adventure games. It makes things feel far more intuitive and, dare I say it, realistic. An early example of the game's perfectly logical stance to puzzles has you using a vice on a workbench to flatten a coin before you can use it as a makeshift screwdriver, just like you would in real life (were you to ever find yourself locked in a room with nothing but a coin, a vice and a ventilation shaft for company). There's also often multiple ways to solve puzzles, the focus very clearly and commendably on providing a fully 'working' world and then letting you find your own way about it using the tools provided.
Head over to the website below to read the rest of the preview.

Play: Penumbra Black Plague Preview
Frictional Games

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Archives  News  Penumbra: Black Plague Previewed