Like quite a number of people, I was under the impression that Runaway 3 from Pendulo Studios would be released in November 2009. No dice. I was told the official date was the 3rd of January 2010, then the folks at EB Games realised that that was actually the 1st of March 2010. Date reading fail, anyone?
Turned out the actual date for Runaway 3’s Australian release was 18th March 2010, two days ago. So after waiting, well, years, really since Runaway 2 for this game, I bought it two days ago and took about four to six hours to finish it.
Read on after the jump for the review (no spoilers) and images.
Runaway 2 ended on such an odd note that some of us were left feeling quite concerned. We had questions: Was Gina going to make it? What would happen to Dean Grassic? What about Professor Simon?
So imagine this: you didn’t read the information on the back of the box, you brought it home, installed it and the very first scene is that of Brian Basco being declared possibly insane, put in a mental institution till his sanity is determined and now apparently, he is dead. That’s the two killers who are out to get Gina.
Is it easier to play this game than the last two? Yes, because there is a hint system staffed by … well, someone you’ve probably been wanting to see for awhile. The hints can be obscure though which is good, you don’t want your hand held.
You get to play from two points of view as well – actually, I lie, make that three points of view. Gina jumps in the hot seat and she has a very different way of dealing with matters and improvising than Brian does. Or would, if he wasn’t dead. Your goal throughout the entire game is to find out what happened between the end of Runaway 2 and the point of Brian’s funeral. Gina would like to do this but is equally determined to prove that Brian is alive.
The graphics are the same high quality as the last two games with the same mix of cartoon fun and realism, though the visuals of Brian make him look horrible but hey, they showcase him as a mental patient. Drag queens make one brief appearance and aliens turn up a bit more often in the storyline. The new characters are all mostly somewhat insane or quirky though their quirks can make them quite amenable in some cases and downright annoying in others. Old characters if they do not make an appearance are mentioned in flashbacks and in other strange places as sort of Easter Eggs if you do happen to notice them.
So as to why I am mad:
1) The game took a few hours to finish. I would have liked it to have stumped me a bit more.
2) There are two endings – two reasonably happy endings that make you want to play more Runaway games but that leave you horribly aware that this will probably be the last in this series.
3) There is one very nice quick cut scene (or part of one cut scene) in Chapter 6. I think a lot of players would agree with me that: a) the viewpoint of that scene needed to be different and b) it could have gone for a bit longer or we could have had more of the same especially at the end where there was a potential spot for it.
Should you play it? Yes. Should Pendulo Studios continue the series? Definitely. They wrote their way out of a tight spot before, they can do it again. Should Gina play a part more often? Yes. You get to know her much better in this game and you like her more afterwards. You get to find out why she’s given up a life of petty crime and such (answer: she loves Brian). You have to admire the fact that she’s dead set on getting Brian back dead or alive.
Other reasons the game is cool: Each player has a password – you can’t get into someone else’s saved games. So several people can play at once. The hint system is awesome and funny. And Pendulo Studios is rewriting adventure gaming the way Sierra did way back when.