Friday, April 1, 2016

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep58: Serena

A point-and-click story about a man's relationship and memories, created by a slew of developers.

Serena is less of a game (in the traditional sense) and more of an interactive story. You play as a man trying to piece together his memories of living in a cabin with his wife, Serena. He seems to have a severe case of amnesia and perceptual issues, as the opening of the game focuses on a photograph of him and his wife, whose face is blurred out. As you wander about the now-decrepit cabin looking at its contents, the man's memories slowly return, revealing what happened long ago.

I really liked the atmosphere of this title. The decayed cabin was dark and mysterious, but the protagonist kept things from being too depressing with an amusing anecdote here and there. Speaking of which, every story and memory, along with each written letter comes with full voice narration. While the game isn't incredibly long, it's nice to see that the developers (did I mention this was a large collaborative effort?) went with voice acting for every bit of information. The title would've lost a lot of immersive impact without it.

That said, it wasn't difficult to figure out what probably happened in this man's life that he had mysteriously (or conveniently) forgotten. I was able to pretty much call out the ending about halfway through the game, and there wasn't much of a surprise when I reached the game's conclusion. The tale itself was a little predictable, but I was pleased with how they doled out the story as a collection of anecdotes and memories.

In all, Serena was an interesting experience with great atmosphere and exposition. In some ways, it reminds me a lot of A Night In The Woods (which I played late last year), so if you liked either of these you might want to check out the other.

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