A New Beginning review
The Good: Gripping plot; stunning hand-painted artwork; memorable and relatable characters; clever and satisfying puzzles; grand orchestral soundtrack.
The Bad: Some voice acting is mediocre; an assortment of small technical issues.
Our Verdict: Blending strongly-defined characters into a stunning and memorable backdrop, A New Beginning is an "eco-thriller" that is not to be missed.

Global climate change is not an issue that is going away. Open a newspaper, flick through the TV channels or turn on the radio, chances are the topic will be mentioned somewhere. The one place you aren’t likely to have seen it so far it is in video games, where the thought of fun doesn’t fit neatly hand-in-hand with self-induced environmental Armageddon. But now German developer Daedalic Entertainment has united the words “eco” and “thriller” in their latest adventure, A New Beginning. Hotly anticipated for its sensitive subject matter and distinctive hand-painted art ever since its announcement several years ago, the results have proven worth the wait, a few blemishes aside. If you’re sceptical that a socially conscious message can coexist with an entertaining storyline and engaging gameplay, set those fears aside, because this game manages it.

Don’t get the wrong idea: you’re not spending your time separating plastic from paper or screwing in energy-efficient light bulbs in A New Beginning. This is life, but not life as we know it. The story begins at its end: in the year 2500, when climate change has made the environment completely uninhabitable. The remaining survivors expect to be killed by an oncoming solar eruption, and a few small teams plan to jump back to 2050 in hope of preventing their annihilation by utilising their shaky time travel capabilities. The landing is successful, but nothing else is. London is flooded, Moscow frozen over and Sydney burning to the ground. Too late.

Gameplay begins in the present-day scenic mountainous landscape that is home to retired scientist Bent Svensson. With his bushy moustache and polo neck jumper, the middle-aged Bent is not your typical protagonist. Emotionally worn out from his years of research into algae as an alternative energy source, driven with dedication that took a severe toll on his family, lonely Bent is now pottering around his Norwegian cabin when a young woman named Fay lands in a helicopter, claiming to be from the future and fully convinced that Bent’s algae is the only way to stop the oncoming catastrophe. Bent is doubtful, of course, but listens as Fay explains how she arrived in her current situation.

Players then take control of Fay as she ‘re-enacts’ her story in telling it to Bent. This method of non-linear storytelling takes up the majority of the game’s first half (only popping back to the present day for a brief stint), which allows for some funny moments as Bent intercuts the story to question some of your decisions, either for humour or to nudge you in the right direction. As you soon learn, Fay originally landed in San Francisco, but it too was already in shambles. Upon realising that there’s been a miscalculation, she tries to regroup with the rest of her teammates in order to move further back in time.

Fay convincing Bent of Earth’s plight is really just the launch point for the remaining adventure. Once united, the real challenges begin. The ultimate aim is to convince the powers-that-be that Bent’s algae is the only solution, but everywhere they go the pair encounters resistance, from Bent’s former research station to an ecological summit to a power plant in the Brazilian jungle. At first it seems a little ingenuity may be enough to win the day, but proceedings become much more complicated when some shady deals start to become exposed, calling for more drastic measures. Each major location is made up of many different scenes that take a fair while to explore, doled out at a pace that has that ‘just another one’ feeling, especially in the last half of the game as the intensity ramps up and the characters and their relationships develop.

There’s a strong cast of characters as you venture through A New Beginning. Fay is a determined, strong-minded woman who is always trying to do the best thing, while Bent is a cynical and weary man. These two play off each other to great effect, and I found myself rooting for both of them in different ways: Fay in her desperate eco-quest and Bent in rebuilding a bond with his estranged son Duve. Then there’s Salvador, Fay’s commander and a rough man willing to stop at nothing to save humanity. His intentions are sound, but his demeanour is harsh and the path he takes in order to get there is questionable. Despite only making brief appearances, other people like the fanatical technician who is overly protective of his car and the odd survivor in 2050 who invites you to meet his invisible friends all make an impression, a testament to the diversity of personalities offered here. Everyone feels very real, very human, which makes them all the more believable and relatable.

The voice acting stands strong, for the most part. Nearly every character’s voice suits them perfectly: Bent’s exhaustion, Salvador’s bluntness and news reporter Oggy’s enthusiasm all come across as genuine, but some of the inflection, or lack thereof, is borderline cringeworthy in the more emotional scenes. The main offender is Fay, who delivers most of her dialogue in a similar tone whether she’s angry or sad, which I found hard to take seriously. She’s perfectly serviceable and by no means disastrous, but it’s a weak link that stands out. The only totally appalling performance comes from a secondary character, but luckily the role in question only has a couple of lines.

The English translation seems to have gone relatively smoothly as well. There are a few occasional hiccups here and there where the dialogue seems too formal, but the emotion and intent behind each line is still very much intact. Never are you grabbed by the shirt and force-fed an environmental message (but it certainly made me think about my role in protecting the planet), nor is this a one-sided debate, since ethical questions are raised on both sides and the extent to which people are willing to go to pursue their goals. And although the game is tackling a serious subject, occasionally it shows a humorous side, such as when a computer speech recognition system fails to function correctly or when a door guard gets defensive over his baldness.

Continued on the next page...



AD A New Beginning can be purchased at:
Gamersgate   • GOG   • Amazon  

Game Info

A New Beginning

Platform:
Mac, PC

Genre:
Drama, Science Fiction

Developer:
Daedalic Entertainment


Game Page »

United Kingdom June 3 2011 Lace Mamba Global

Where To Buy

A New Beginning

Get it DRM-free at

Get it at

Affiliate Links

User Score

Average based on 39 ratings

Log in or Register to post ratings.

User Reviews

Posted by Houie on Jan 26, 2014

Great game but for the purpose it serves, it is perhaps too violent

Play time ~17 hours This game is just great. The presents a very important issue in a way that doesn't seem too "preachy". They do this by... Read the review »

Posted by btague on Jan 28, 2013

One of the Best Adventure Games I've Played Recently

I just beat this game and I have to say it is one of the best games I've played. Daedalic came through again as they always do. They make... Read the review »

Posted by bjertrup on Jul 18, 2012

Not a glitch

Bent walking back is not a glitch. He wont be able to before the keys is swapped. Observed another glitch(?). Even though i had made the... Read the review »

Posted by Stuart on Jul 3, 2012

A wonderful and relevant story, but game has a few issues

A New Beginning is a fresh and unique adventure game with a very unique plot. I guess the closest AG games of this style might be the... Read the review »



Screenshots
Showing 3 of 30

About the Author
Pinchpenny's avatar
Joe Keeley
Staff Writer

Comments

adventor
Jun 3, 2011

Sounds interesting, the technical issues are a bit of a turnoff, but hopefull they don’t detract too much. Would definitely like to see a demo.

Phod
Jun 3, 2011

I assume this is in 16x9 right? not 4:3 like Whispered World

Jackal Jackal
Jun 3, 2011

4:3. As the review says, it displays with black bars on the side of widescreen monitor. Not really surprising, since this game was started before TWW.

Maquisard
Jun 3, 2011

I haven’t seen anything about a play-through time?

Phod
Jun 4, 2011

sheesh, 4:3 is kinda lame for 2011.

ozzie ozzie
Jun 4, 2011

Sure, but aspect ratio is not something you can change easily just midway through production of a pure 2D title. If you had a 3D engine, you would barely need to change any of the art assets for widescreen resolution, I imagine. For 2D you would’ve to change every single background in one way or the other.
Anyway, I only played the demo, but I thought the scene at the start where the bird falls from the tree, dropping dread, was unintentionally hilarious. Subtlety doesn’t seem to be a mark of the game’s script.

Jackal Jackal
Jun 4, 2011

Since an original comment has now been removed, I’ll just reiterate my response that these comments should be reserved for discussing the merits of the game, not debating opinions on global warming.

darthmaul
Jun 5, 2011

Any idea if this will come to the US?

Jackal Jackal
Jun 5, 2011

No word yet. If/when we hear anything, we’ll be sure to announce it. Smile

jannar85
Jun 6, 2011

Any place we can get this as a digital purchase…?

Doobster
Jun 13, 2011

Just finished it !! A game not to be missed !!

Deponia, Dark Eye bring it on ASAP !!

Jawa
Jun 13, 2011

Wow, what a disappointment. Horrible voiceacting with a script that sounds like it was put through google translate. Cheap Gray Matter comicinspired cutscene style and mediocre controls. Why oh WHY can I not turn of that annoying wooshing sound that comes every time I want to interact with an object?

I want my money back.

Majsan Majsan
Jun 16, 2011

Will this game eventually be availabe to buy digital download, maybe from The Adventure Shop?

Jackal Jackal
Jun 16, 2011

Still no word on a downloadable version, though I’m sure there will be one eventually.

Mark1976
Jul 7, 2011

Totally agree with JAWA.

Strong voice acting? You have got to be kidding,
There is no chemistry between any of the characters, because every line is just read out separately without feeling/emotion.

Really tried to give it a chance, but had to terminate it..

You’re telling me this game deserves 4 stars, be among the Lucasarts’ classics?

I think you are mistaken.

Abnaxus
Jul 8, 2011

I just finished it and I have to say that is a really impressive adventure, it reminds me of Broken Sword.

Iznogood Iznogood
Aug 6, 2011

An excelent game, great graphics and a good and original story. What more can you want in an adventure game?
Totally agree with the reviewer, it deserves 4 stars!

MoonBird MoonBird
Sep 10, 2011

Well, just finished it… My final rating is 3½ stars. Certainly not a bad game, entertaining, long, nice graphs, nice music and voice acting was also quite okay. What frustrated me, was those technical issues. it crashed several times during the play, and there were a huge selection of other smaller glitches: When loading a savegame, game rips off a dialoque from somewhere (esc-key helps there), wrong footsteps sounds (metal sounds on sand!), few german dialoque-lines here and there and some stupid bugs, which halted my progress in the game (some things didn’t just work until you exit the room and re-entered)

scalad
Oct 16, 2011

I would like to get this game. I hope adventure shop gets it or bigfish. It sound interesting.

lukaszsw
Oct 30, 2011

I don’t really play adventure games any more because modern games usually lack the refinement that Broken Sword, Full Throttle or Day of the Tentacle had. But this, this is different.

Graphically it is almost the same if not a bit better. The story is on the same level - conspiracy, a lot of people get killed and so on. It lacks some of the humor and wit but not that much. Although the voice overs will make you cringe I highly recommend this game.

a-maze a-maze
Jan 2, 2012

Ohhhhhhh yeah, I agree with everyone. TECH ISSUES ARE HORRIBLE. And i mean it!!

I´ve never ever had so many issues with a game. It crashed on me many times and even once, the crash killed my last saved game, losing a whole chapter!! had to go to AGforum and download posted savegames from a nice member (i dont remember the name, but thank you!) to continue playing *sighs*.

Apart from that, which got on my nerves…. I LOVED IT. I found myself emotionally connected to the story, wanted to know what else would happen… really trying to help “change the future”, feeling angry, angsty, happy, etc with each new situation.

I really recommend this game, even with all the tech issues and bugs. The ending is quite unique, maybe not what you “expect”.... but it all makes sense when you analyze human nature & its psychology. Nice!

tsa tsa
Mar 3, 2012

I just finished this game and I am very disappointed. The voice acting is horrible, and the ending… what a pity. Plus points the game has too and quite a lot: the artwork is refreshingly different from much I have seen, I liked the cartoonish intervals between the chapters, the puzzles were very well integrated in the gameplay and really were part of the story (except a few and they could be skipped), but also very easy, and although the story begins and ends, ehm… strangely, for most of the game I was genuinely ‘in’ the story and really wanted to see how it ended. So I enjoyed most of the game but the ending spoilt it for me.

Antrax
Mar 4, 2012

This review is incredibly misleading.

The voice acting is atrocious. It’s not about chemistry, it’s about the emotions being wrong. How elated can you sound when announcing a friend’s death? How cheerful when in danger?

The plot makes no sense. Random twists are thrown in that are completely inconsistent with everything leading up to them, and consequently are never explained (and sometimes just ignored)

The game certainly does force-feed you an environmental message. It’s preachy and grating. The bad guys are caricatures, and the lackluster twist thrown at the very end of the game can’t change the tone of everything that happened up to that point.

Finally, the reason I played this game, the puzzles, are trivial. The review claims they are clever and satisfying. They are not. They are certainly well-integrated, but they are also extremely localized (sometimes with poor writing to make them so: “I am not going to leave this room until I figure XXX out”) and quite mundane. Everything does what it was designed for, with no out of the box thinking and almost no object re-use.

I also didn’t understand why the character model for Fay always looks constipated, but my main purpose was to correct the impression generated by this review.

Incerto
Mar 31, 2012

I agree with @Antrax, bad ending, bad plot twist that doesn’t even make sense, enviromental protection strong appeal. But the music is good, the characters are charismatic, and the puzzles are kinda fun. Not by far a great adventure game, but its’s worth playing.

Adventure Adventure
Apr 11, 2012

Liked it a lot.

You can tell the puzzles were designed by people who have been playing many, many adventure games: they make sense, are perfectly compartmentalized, and the game flows. The word here is smart not tedious and although some will decry it as too easy the amount of content is more than enough to guarantee a lengthy experience.

And it is quite an experience. The story is packed with surprises, mystery and red herrings. The only let down was the very ending. In terms of gameplay and immersion at its best the game ranks up there with classics from the glory days of the genre. At its worst never less than a very enjoyable adventure.

The characters are mostly engaging with two likable protagonists and a couple of nuanced side-characters. The rest of the cast is a bit stereotyped especially the bad guys. 

Great graphics and art direction; beautiful backgrounds and walking animations.

Sound… not so good. The music holds up but lacks a punch, the voice acting ranges from mediocre to ridiculous and I had some issues with crackling sound.

Technically I’ve experienced only 1 crash throughout the whole game and that was after alt-tabbing out of fullscreen. Also the lack of widescreen is noticeable.

All in all I recommend it to every adventure fan.

xlynx
Mar 30, 2013

I see where you’re coming from Antrax but your view is the opposite extreme. The voice acting is mediocre but not atrocious. I’ve seen far worse.

Plot twists aren’t an issue. There’s a few minor things but this adds to the intrigue through character ambiguity if anything.

The game is definitely coming from the eco-friendly perspective, but it would be stupid if it didn’t since the plot begins with “it is the future and humans have destroyed the climate”. Roll with it. It’s fiction.

You do play half the game as a character who’s indifferent toward the environment and there’s no environment rescuing subtasks at all. Everything in the game is carrying the plot along at a serious pace.

So I’m half agreeing on those points, but I’m going to disagree regarding the puzzles. I really enjoyed them. They aren’t always obvious but they are logical and not too tedious. There’s plenty of outside-the-box, at least in regards to using objects for purposes other than they were intended, which I enjoyed. Puzzles didn’t feel particularly localised and plenty of inventory is used multiple times so not sure what you meant by those remarks at all.

I’ve been playing the Steam version and haven’t had many technical issues - only a bug where mute can’t be unmuted once you quit and relaunch, forcing a manual tweak in the configuration tool.

Translation issues are abundant. Certain parts will appear in German or Russian and the English grammar and vocabulary is rather hit and miss which is slightly distracting but isn’t bad enough to impede gameplay, and isn’t as bad as Captain Brawe.

octochan
Mar 31, 2013

I bought all of Daedalus Entertainment’s games from a bundle sale on GOG and I’ve played through most of them, and about half of New Beginning. Daedalus seems to be pretty consistent in several respects across all of its games.
1. Spectacular visuals. They cannot be faulted on their artwork, and it seems like any below par cutscenes are a result of outsourcing.
2. Decent puzzles. For the most part, their puzzles are logical and fun to solve.
3. Horrible character writing. This is their biggest problem, and I’m not just referring to the spotty voice acting. With few exceptions, every one of the characters in their games are irritating, unlikeable, or moronic. Some of them are plain assholes at worst, and forgettable at best. I find I usually end up playing their games with the voices on mute.

I’m not saying they can’t have main characters who are depressed or megalomaniacal, but they’re going to need better writers than the ones they’ve got to make them fun to be around.

Majsan Majsan
Jun 11, 2013

Can anyone tell me what the difference is between the original version, and the final cut version you can buy on Steam?

Advie Advie
Jun 11, 2013

The Final Cut It only added achievements, localizations for seven languages..

Detective Mosely Detective Mosely
Sep 11, 2013

Wow ... I just started this, and the plot seems interesting so far, but it without a doubt has the worst voice acting I’ve ever heard.  In anything.

It sounds like all the actors are computer programs that don’t understand that the words they are saying have actual meanings.  They must’ve hired friends and family to fill all of the parts.



Post a comment

You need to be logged in to post comments. Not a member? Register now!

Also check out...

The Walking Dead: Season Two - Episode 5: No Going Back review

PC Mac iPhone iPad Android PS3 Xbox 360

Gods Will Be Watching feature

PC Mac Linux iPhone iPad Android