Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life
Hotel Dusk: Room 215 for DS review
a review by Tara
I would like to start this review off by saying I think I only played Hotel Dusk for a half hour before quitting, but I feel like it’s all I need for doing an accurate review. To make up for the lack of actual time I spent in game, I’m going to tell the whole story from when I bought the game to setting it down in frustration. I think you’ll understand.
This all began after the release of Saint’s Row 2. My Xbox360 was taken over by boyfriend who had found himself attached to the controller. Unable to play any of my 360 games, I was left alone with only my DS to comfort me. Sadly, I had a severely limited game selection. Promising myself that I would not let my 360 being commandeered ruin my day, I set out to the nearest 24 hour Walmart to see what I could pick up.
*Flash forward 20 minutes*
As I stood in front of the glass case full of DS games I found myself in yet another pickle… What game do I buy? I could see Animal Crossing and felt the glow of a title I loved on the Gamecube… no matter how nerdy that made me… but I kept looking. Another title that caught my eye soon after…. Hotel Dusk: Room 215. I asked the clerk to let me see it and Animal Crossing… I read the back of the cases and was quite intrigued by the description of Hotel Dusk… a mystery novel of a game… investigate a hotel room where wishes come true… It sounded rather interesting to be honest. After much consideration (and buy that I mean I realized I had enough money to buy both) I made my purchases.
I returned home to find my boyfriend still sitting on the floor, listening to his SR2 character singing “The Final Countdown” with the radio. Knowing that the 360 wasn’t going to be free for me to play anytime soon, I plopped myself down on my couch, opened up Hotel Dusk, and began playing.
My first impressions were very positive. You held the DS sideways like a book, which I thought was kind of cool… you know… mystery novel game… holding it like a book… I thought it was clever. My next observation was the art style, which I absolutely loved. It didn’t have much color but was done in a sketchy, art book fashion.
The beginning started out with a lot of reading as the game laid out an insane amount of back story for the main character. The year is 1979, as Kyle Hyde, disgraced former New York Detective, arrives at the Hotel Dusk. Kyle is now a salesman for some company and is there for some business trip or something…. It wasn’t holding my attention very well for me to remember the details. I felt like I was doing too much reading to really get in touch with my character… It was almost like I resented him for having such a complicated past that I had to reach so much about. I didn’t care anymore. I wanted to play the game!
Finally after endless paragraphs of boring details, I could finally control my character, and was able to explore the hotel a little…. very little. Kyle literally walks up to the front desk and triggers a conversation with the hotel owner that I had to read. … an exciting conversation, too. Let me recap:
“My name is Kyle Hyde.”
“Your name is Kyle Hyde?”
“Yeah, I’m Kyle Hyde.”
“We had a guest last week named Kyle Hyde.”
“You had a guest last week named Kyle Hyde?”
“Yeah, he had the same name as you, Kyle Hyde.”
You get my point. At the end of the riveting conversation, I had the choice to ask him questions about what he had said earlier (in case I wanted more information about whatever… ug). It’s clearly not necessary though since he already repeated everything at least twice. When I was done speaking with the hotel owner, I began to walk through the hotel to my room. I controlled Kyle as he turned the corner and started to walk up the stairs. As I took a few steps up, a little girl sitting with a half finished puzzle started crying…. Then, are you ready for this? I started another conversation, full of repetitive dialogue that seemed to last forever. This conversation is even worse than the first one. Although the first conversation was repeated four times, I at least left with some information. When I was done speaking with the little girl , I felt like she needed a swift kick in the ass for firstly, playing on the stairs and for secondly, crying over a puzzle. Finally, this conversation ended and I continued down the hall to get to Kyle’s room….
I bet you thought I was going to make it to the room didn’t you? Well, I don’t. I happened to run into the bell hop who promptly started another conversation. Once I was done with the bell hop another giant “READ ME!” text box appeared as soon as I got into my room. The phone had started to ring, Kyle answered it and the dialogue boxes immediately followed. This is as far as I got in the game before I gave up. Let me recap… I played for a half hour and my character went from the hotel lobby to his room after encountering a minimum of four conversations. All I could do was set my DS down and wonder if I had a copy of “And Then There Were None” that I could read instead.
What’s really great was my boyfriend told me it couldn’t be nearly as bad as I made it out to be… played the game for a half hour… then set it down on our coffee table. He simply said, “That was a lot of reading. I’m done.”
This game is advertised as a novel, and that is really what it is. It is a semi-interactive murder mystery that you read. If you want a game to read, this might be for you. Although, I really doubt you would like it. A good murder mystery isn’t going to have you reading the same thing twenty times.
Good idea. Pretty game. Horribly executed. Horribly boring.
<insert fail picture here>