Diamonds in the Rough is an adventure game by Atropos Studios, a (now obsolete) game development team, led by the adventure game creator Alkis Polyrakis. The game was published in the year 2008 and was praised by the worldwide adventure gaming community. Let's see if it really is that good.Scenario:
Jason Hart is a 20 year old american teenager. Nothing spectacular happens in his life which is filled with routine while working as an office boy in his hometown. His fate changes as Jason meets a man who seems to know everything about Jason's life even though Jason hasn't seen him before. The unknown man claims to be working for "Diamonds in the Rough", an organisation which tracks and finds people with special abilites. Jason has a special ability. He is good at making the right choices. As the mysterious man offers him a well paid Job at "Diamonds in the Rough" , Jason grabs the opportunity.... Was that a good choice?
The game scenario sounds really promissing. The story is innovative and prepares the gamer for an adventure game filled with mysterious and intriguing plot. After all a good story is the basis of a good adventure game.
Rate: 5/5Techical Specs: (Graphics-Sound)
The game was developed with AGS, the Adventure Game Studio engine created by Chris Jones. The Player controls Jason from the 3rd person perspective. RIght from the beginning one would say that the graphics are the weak element of the game. This is true and a lie at the same time. Jason's movement suffers from bad annimation and Jason's sprite seems not to fit very well to the 2D background enviroment. Although this might look really weird and make a negative first impression the eyes get used to it after 10 minutes of playing . The background enviroment though not stunning, is really well presented, realistic and detailed. Background animation is non existent but that doesn't affect the good impression about the background graphics.
The music and the voice acting are of really high quality. Many differend music scores are to hear during the game, which change every time when Jason visits a different place. They are atmospheric and really suitable to the game plot and the story progress.The voice acting is one of the best that have been heard in Adventure games. The voices are clear and really well presented for each one of the game characters.
All in all, due to lack of background animation, and because of mediocre sprites animation the overall visuall impression is not the best, but still this is far from describing the graphics as "bad". Along with the great music scores and the excellent voice acting Diamonds in the Rough is cleary one of the best ever AGS-made adventure games.
Diamonds in the Rough is, as stated above, a 3d person adventure game. It is controlled entirely by the use of the mouse. There are endless save slots, which is good. Diamonds is the rough is not an easy adventure game. The difficulty level is medium to hard. It is also a fairly large game, of about 12 gameplay hours. The game makes use of an entirely new puzzles system. Apart from the traditional inventory there is a second one "thoughts" inventory, where in form of a pin wall there are all the thoughts of Jason to see. Every thought of Jason can be combined with inventiry items, another thought, or another person, just like every object is used traditionally in adventure games. The player interacts to the enviroment using Jason's thoughts and inventory objects. As a result we have a raise of the game difficulty as the possibilities for solving a riddle or finding an answer to a problem during the games are much more than in the average adventure game. That's why Diamonds in the Rough is not an average adventure game. At the beginning the player must get used to this new object inventory-thoughts inventory system, but when it's clear no problems occur during the gameplay. The solution of many riddles/puzzles depends on this unique interaction system. There are also dialogue based riddles and mathematical or logical riddles. The game has at least 2 very hard to solve puzzles where logic thinking and patience are required. Diamonds in the Rough has a large prologue/introduction, which helps the player to understand the story and prepare him for everything that is about to follow. There is also a very large epilogue/finale. This is clearly a great plus for Diamonds in the Rough because many games suffer from sudden or incomplete ending, leaving unanswered questions or an incomplete gaming feeling. That's here not the case, since Diamond in the Rough comes to the end as a well written book.
Thanks to it's interesting scenario,the unique inventory system, the riddle variations and the solid story development, Diamonds in the Rough is a great adventuring experience.
Rate: 5/5Overall Impression:
Diamonds in the Rough is a must have, well made, intriguing adventure game. Despite some visual flaws, If you like hard adventure games, with interesting plot, difficult riddles, and replayability value you won't be dissappointed with this one.
Overall Rate: 4/5
Photos: Atropos Studios Website, Strategy Informer.