Chaos on Deponia review
The Good:

Colorful cartoon art style and well-animated cinematics portray an imaginative world with unusual characters; creative dialogue and inventory puzzles are plentiful; has a more epic story with better pacing than the first game.

The Bad:

Clues and plot points aren’t always introduced in the right order, making some puzzles and story aspects confusing; dialogue drags on with a script that isn’t as funny as it strives to be; scenes lack much-needed animation.

Our Verdict:

Very similar to its predecessor with a few improvements in pacing and story, Chaos on Deponia is a solid adventure that fans of LucasArts-style comedies will likely enjoy.

Welcome back to Deponia, the junk-filled planet that self-important tinkerer Rufus is determined to save from imminent destruction—not so much because he cares about Deponia’s survival, but to impress a pretty girl. Chaos on Deponia is the second game of a planned trilogy from German developer Daedalic, and it’s extremely similar to the first, so if you’re new around these parts you might want to start at the beginning.

If you didn’t play the first game, you’ll be able to jump right in thanks to a brief video that recaps the story, a tutorial that teaches the controls, and a simple opening sequence that establishes Rufus as an accident-prone loudmouth. Deponia ended on a somber note, with Rufus crashing back to the landfill he begrudgingly calls home while Goal (the object of his affection) and Cletus (her arrogant fiancé) head back to the floating utopia of Elysium. Chaos on Deponia picks up soon after with another of Rufus’s crazy escape attempts. Predictably, the escape quickly goes south and he and Goal end up plummeting back to Deponia, with Goal’s brain implant damaged once again.

Though the early story set-up is startlingly similar to the first installment, the scenery has thankfully changed: Chaos on Deponia is mostly set in the sprawling Floating Black Market. This dockside city has 15 or so discreet locations, which can be easily navigated via quick travel maps located all over the city. And this time Rufus has reinforcements, with returning characters Doc (a mad scientist type) and Bozo (captain of a fishing trawler) on hand to help him deal with Goal’s damaged implant and navigate the Rust Red Sea.

Early on, Rufus’s recklessness causes Goal’s personality to fracture into three separate pieces: the snooty Lady Goal, sassy Spunky Goal, and simplistic Baby Goal. (Talk about high maintenance!) Because of this, much of Chaos on Deponia is spent switching between the three versions of Goal using a handy pocket remote control, negotiating with each of them and playing them off one another to regain the trust of the increasingly uncooperative princess and make her whole again.

Rufus’s objective is nobler in this game—before, he was simply trying to leave Deponia, while now he’s trying to prevent the planet from being blown up—and this broader scope makes Chaos on Deponia’s story feel more epic and important. Before it’s over, he’ll get mixed up with the mob, confront his estranged father, and join a group of freedom fighters who talk of revolution in the leader’s mom’s basement. Revelations about Elysium’s true nature and the motives behind Deponia’s planned annihilation help to develop the overarching story and set up questions that will presumably be addressed in the third installment.

Structurally, the game is identical to its predecessor. It has a long first chapter, set in one big location with lots of multi-step puzzles to solve, followed by two shorter, snappier chapters in new settings. The game is also about equal in length, again taking me eleven hours to complete. In spite of the similarities, Chaos on Deponia doesn’t suffer from the same uneven pacing that bothered me in the first game. Deponia’s early obstacles felt like a series of false starts, but the sequel's first chapter held my attention thanks to the large area to be explored and the nonlinearity of Rufus’s quest to make nice with all three of Goal’s personas. The first half hour is a bit passive, with little more to do than click the one or two available options, but once Rufus and Goal reunite the game rolls along nicely. And Chaos on Deponia’s puzzles flow steadily—there were always just enough hotspots for me to poke at, items to try, and people to talk to that I neither felt stymied nor overwhelmed.

On the downside, at times the puzzles flow a bit too steadily, almost as if they’re solving themselves. I often used or combined objects without being quite sure why I was doing so. Sometimes I didn’t truly understand the objective until a puzzle was complete and I could work backward through the logic. Solving puzzles with relative ease to keep the story moving along is definitely better than wasting lots of time stuck (which thankfully never happened to me here), but I would have preferred to be more of an active participant.

Here’s an example of what I mean: at one point Rufus trades another character for an umbrella (for no obvious reason other than that acquiring items is what you do in an adventure game). Immediately after doing this, I chose to talk to the umbrella’s former owner, and Rufus started going on about how the umbrella didn’t work the way he wanted it to, as a lightning rod for his girlfriend. It wasn’t until several scenes later—after I’d visited a new location, talked to a few other characters, and experimented with using different objects on Goal—that I even understood why I’d want to use her as a lightning rod, let alone what they were getting at in that conversation. Once I figured that out, I knew that the umbrella would be involved in the puzzle solution, but not because I’d figured it out myself; Rufus had essentially spoiled it for me. In Chaos on Deponia, it’s common for characters to tip their hands like this before the player has had a chance to piece together the subtext, and such moments make the puzzles harder to appreciate. It’s not an issue I remember cropping up in Deponia, at least not to this extent.

Chaos on Deponia is a comedy that borrows heavily from the Monkey Island tradition. Much like in the previous game, the German-to-English translation seems decent, but the writing didn’t wow me. Sure, I chuckled here and there, but I quickly tired of the long-winded exchanges whose only purpose seemed to be to deliver jokes. The voice acting is strong overall and the direction seems better than in Deponia, with far fewer instances where an actor’s reading doesn’t match up with the line’s intended context. Even so, much of the game’s humor simply doesn’t carry over—or maybe it just doesn’t do it for me.

A lot of the comedy has to do with Rufus’s overconfidence, his rudeness, and his mistreatment of Goal. There are several fart jokes and an entire puzzle that throws logic out the window merely to set up a urination gag. Fun is made of a blind man, an apparently brain-damaged woman, and a guy with a speech impediment. I’m not one who thinks content needs to be politically correct and inoffensive in order to be funny—after all, The Simpsons, South Park, and The Family Guy are some of my favorite shows—but Chaos on Deponia’s self-conscious stabs at similarly edgy humor are too transparent, resulting in a game that's supposed to be funny rather than one that actually is. At least lengthy conversations can be right-clicked through if you get tired of the jokey-jokes (albeit at the risk of missing something important), but at its worst the humor encroaches on the gameplay with puzzles that are convoluted for the sake of comedic effect, and there’s no avoiding those.

Whether or not the writing tickles your funny bone, Chaos on Deponia is a very dialogue-heavy game, and navigating conversations might start to feel like a chore. Dialogue options are often redundant, with the same question and answer given in multiple ways. Plus, some options remain active after they’ve been exhausted so you keep hearing the same lines over and over. Having three versions of Goal also means three versions of her dialogue, and sometimes in order to move forward you have to have a conversation with one of them that you've already had with another. Of course, quippy dialogue is one of the hallmarks of a comedy adventure, but I think a tighter script would have made for a better game. And with fewer words, the humor may have packed more punch.

Continued on the next page...





Buy it at:

Game Info

Chaos on Deponia

Platform: PC

Genre: Comedy

Developer: Daedalic Entertainment

Sequel to Daedalic's 2012 comic adventure set on a trash-filled planet.

More Game Info »

Releases
Territory Date Publisher
Download November 6 2012 Daedalic Entertainment
Affiliate Links

User Score

Average based on 16 ratings

Log in or Register to post ratings.

User Reviews

Posted by Houie on Nov 24, 2013

Terrific game. Even better than the first!

The game looks great, sounds great. It also has humor oozing out of it every minute of the game and it is executed very well. Many of the... Read the review »



Screenshots
Showing 6 of 22

About the Author
fov's avatar
Emily Morganti
Staff Writer

Comments

Danaroth
Nov 26, 2012

Wow, you really are pretty strict with votes; the review doesn’t seem that harsh to me, so I guess you actually use a 10 points grade. I didn’t find any problem with the humour myself so that’s why I had a better overall impression by the end (as in one of the best games of the decade kind), but oh well, fair enough to have different tastes.

Keregioz
Nov 26, 2012

If I were the reviewer I wouldn’t have bothered to play the second game (and certainly wouldn’t play the third) since it’s quite obvious that she doesn’t “get” the humor of these games which in my opinion is one of its stronger points. This is not meant to offend the reviewer, since as we all know humor is subjective, I just think that it’s really unfair for the game.
Personally, under no circumstances I would rate this game any lower than 4 stars.

Zin Zin
Nov 26, 2012

Danaroth, 3.5 stars is hardly a bad score; quite the contrary.

I have yet to play the original Deponia, but will definitely get to it and this sequel in the near future, despite the shortcomings in the writing department. I’m glad to learn the cutscenes are great, too.

peterdk
Nov 26, 2012

Really liked this game, but I played it in German, so that may be the cause of me extra liking it. (I am Dutch btw, so not a native speaker or German).

Anyways, I found the story to be much more likeable, and also liked the fact that it mainly took place in one large area. I would rate deponia 1 a 6.5 and this one a 7.5.

I must say that I disliked Rufus in Deponia 1, but kind of liked him in this new episode.

Good review though.  I don’t agree with the lack of animations, and didn’t found the dialogue to be dragging on, but do agree that sometimes the characters tell you stuff you should have found out on yourself. Smile

Great game, and looking forward to the ending episode.

SplinterX
Nov 26, 2012

because of this score you decrease value of your opinion.

fov fov
Nov 26, 2012

@Keregioz - Of course humor is subjective, and that’s why I tried to give a balanced look not only at what I liked and didn’t like, but also an explanation of what’s *there*, so the reader can make a personal choice about whether the game has the elements he/she finds important and enjoyable. It’s true that if I’d found the game a whole lot funnier, I probably would have scored it higher. But as a reviewer, I have to go into the game with an open mind and then call it as I see it.

Deciding who reviews a game isn’t my job, but I personally don’t think that assigning this one to somebody who was guaranteed to laugh is the answer. There’s a lot more to this game (or any game) than its dialogue, and just because someone is known to like one aspect doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll like the rest.

On the one hand, you think it’s unfair to the game to have it scored by someone who didn’t like a particular aspect; on the other hand, I think it would be unfair to other players who might not “get” the humor (but could still enjoy the game overall) to deny them an analysis of its pros and cons. Just another way of looking at it. Smile

Jackal Jackal
Nov 26, 2012

SplinterX, now THAT is funny in any language!  I’m sure you’re joking, since everyone knows the value of a reviewer’s opinion is in their words, not the score. (And that one person’s opinion is every bit as valid as another’s, even if you disagree with it.)

Keregioz
Nov 26, 2012

@Emily - I agree with everything you said, except that I believe that the “particular aspect” you didn’t like (the writing/humor) is basically the main attraction of the game and its biggest strength (IMO), so it’s a big disadvantage for the game if it wasn’t your “cup of tea”.
  I found your opinion on the rest of the aspects of the game pretty fair, more of less, and I appreciate your effort not to be biased overall on this review.
  Anyway, I know it’s not your fault, but I used to hold the reviews on this site in very high regard and I just felt pissed that deponia didn’t get the praise it deserved and instead I see other games like “book of unwritten tales”, which I consider the most overrated adventure game ever, be praised for its writing/humor (I still can’t believe that) and receive a ridiculously high rating.
Rant over…carry on Wink

Zifnab Zifnab
Nov 27, 2012

This was a really good review. Every point Emily raised was spot on except for Chaos being better, which I didn’t agree with. Although I think 3.5 is appropriate for both games, the “freshness” factor is always something that I think should be taken into consideration and I would rate Deponia higher if only for that reason.

But beyond that, Chaos didn’t bring quite enough to feel like a proper sequel rather than an extended add-on, some of the humor was stale, and I didn’t like the mini-games. Still a very much worthwhile purchase, as usual for Daedelic.

Sefir Sefir
Nov 27, 2012

I agree with most aspect both with the rating and the review in general. I must admit that while the humour, riddles and story were vastly improved since the first game, what IMO becomes more and more irritating is Rufus himself. He doesn’t seem in my eyes as the “goofy a la Guybrush” type of hero. His character becomes from plain idiotic to plain evil (there are 2-3 moments in the game that this becomes clear). Even his motives with Goal seem more lust than real interest and I expect vast improvements in the third game towards his character to really like the series…

Tramboi Tramboi
Nov 27, 2012

Humour is highly subjective, yes.
For instance, I much prefer Deponia’s to Back to the future’s.
(In fact I don’t see a single thing that is better in BTTF)

Matan
Nov 27, 2012

I bought the first Deponia on steam two weeks ago and I really wanted to like it, but about two hours into the game I came upon a game-breaking bug (http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2872351).

Apparently this game is not completable on mac Frown
This got me pretty mad, especially since this issue was already reported a few months ago and a solution still hasn’t been patched. I wonder if these bugs persist in the sequel. This review was done on the PC version, right?

fov fov
Nov 27, 2012

I reviewed both of the Deponia games on PC. (The first was an early review copy provided by the publisher of the disc version, and Chaos on Deponia was through Steam.) So I can’t speak to any issues on the Mac version… but that sucks. Frown

Two suggestions - make a post on Daedalic’s official forum (on the assumption that they monitor it more closely than Steam’s), and post in the support forum here at AG (if you haven’t already). One of their suggested workarounds is to play through that part on the PC and then transfer your saved game back to the Mac. I don’t have the first game on Steam so I’m not sure if I can help, but I’m sure someone else can.

Iznogood Iznogood
Nov 27, 2012

I agree with everything Zifnab wrote.
(You saved me the trouble of phrasing it myself Smile )

fov fov
Nov 27, 2012

Just curious, for those who thought the first game was “fresher”, did you play them one right after the other? Or the first one when it came out, and Chaos on Deponia just recently?

I played the first Deponia back in May, so that might have something to do with my perception of it (compared to someone who plays them both in a row).

Fearabbit
Nov 28, 2012

I can’t believe what you’re saying about the puzzles. I expected the highest of praises for the most fun and innovative puzzles that the adventure gaming genre had seen in a long time, and here you say that they’re illogical or spoilt by the game itself.
Just to clear things up - the umbrella scene was an ERROR. If you follow Doc’s advice on the ship, you’ll figure out that you need an umbrella before you find the umbrella. They forgot that people might not do this puzzle in that order.

Primate Ryan Primate Ryan
Nov 28, 2012

I played both games right after each other and I prefer the second game, which manages to improve on most things from the first game. 

The humour really worked for me (English version). Rufus isn’t really likeable, but that doesn’t matter. What’s funny is the situations he gets himself into because of his arrogance, egoism, stupidity and short-sightedness. This was already the case in the first game, but they managed to capitalize on it better this time around. 

He’s an ass and many characters (particularly the recurring ones of course) in the game know it, which is also reflected in their funny dialogue responses. Some don’t even bother arguing with him or already know that he won’t listen to them.

fov fov
Nov 28, 2012

@Fearabbit - I think you’re putting words in my mouth. For the most part I thought the puzzles were very creative and fair to the player (meaning they could actually be figured out using the info provided, without having to “read the designer’s mind” or turn to a walkthrough). It’s kind of hard to talk about why a puzzle is good without spoiling it completely, which I obviously didn’t want to do, but on pg2 of the review there are a couple of paragraphs devoted to some of the puzzles and minigames I liked. I definitely didn’t think (or mean to imply) that all of the puzzles were “illogical or spoilt by the game itself”.

Yes, I did feel a few were marred by inappropriately-timed dialogues or clues (like the umbrella thing) or tried too hard to be funny at the puzzle’s expense. But in general I enjoyed the puzzles, and even called them out under “The Good” right at the top of the review.

Hanged
Nov 28, 2012

I’m currently playing this game and I generally like it - it’s very well polished and there’s a lot to admire about it, especially the graphics. The dialogue is actually funnier than I expected - it didn’t exactly make me laugh, but it wasn’t cringeworthy either.

The biggest problem with this game as I see it is that it relies purely on humour. The plot seems to be there just to connect the jokes, and the main character is basically an evil ass with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It’s fun, but it doesn’t give you much to really care about. So it’s not that the humour is bad, it’s just not good enough to sustain the whole game.

Also, the game uses the kind of humour that relies heavily on body language and timing. The script might have been hilarious with experienced comedians (just think of what Steve Merchant did for Portal 2) or pixar-quality animation, but it isn’t quite as great with more or less stiff characters in an adventure game.

Interplay Interplay
Nov 29, 2012

Honestly, I don’t know why Emily is responding to all these comments.  She left her honest opinion of the game.  Your mileage may vary.  If people feel differently, they should leave a score for the user rating.  That’s what it’s for and why it’s part of the new site.  As of my posting, the user rating is 3 stars, less than her review’s.

Zifnab Zifnab
Nov 29, 2012

I think it’s great she’s responding to our comments. It helps to clarify her stance and I enjoy interacting with reviewers.

Emily:(“Just curious, for those who thought the first game was “fresher”, did you play them one right after the other? Or the first one when it came out, and Chaos on Deponia just recently?”)

Same as you - when it first came out.

What I meant wasn’t so much that Chaos didn’t feel as “fresh”, but rather that both games were like two parts of the same game - same style, same graphics engine, etc. So for me, Deponia was the more original game and should be credited for that. It’s much easier to copy the style and format of a game than to start largely from scratch in the way that the sequels to Gabriel Knight or Discworld did. Even the folksinger animation was exactly the same. As much as that might have suited the game and you might say that no changes were needed, people like to experience novelty. I didn’t really feel the two Deponia games had a distinctive “feel” to them - which is something you can’t really say about the first two installments of Broken Sword or Monkey Island.

Keregioz
Nov 29, 2012

@ZiFnab - From what I understand “Deponia” was meant from the start to be a trilogy. Basically it’s a single game, telling a single story, divided in to three parts. Think of it like the three books of “Lord of the rings”. So it was actually meant to “feel” like 2 parts of the same game.

Iznogood Iznogood
Dec 1, 2012

@Emily: “Just curious, for those who thought the first game was “fresher”, did you play them one right after the other?”

I played the first one when it was originaly published, and i felt the first was slightly better. Playing them back to back i might have felt differently.

Objectively speaking Chaos migth be better, with its cleaver idea of 3 Goals etc, but i felt the homour was getting a bit stale, and sometimes i just wished Rufus would shut up.

joshwilson44
Dec 2, 2012

I’ve never been one to complain about a review in the past, but the reviews of this game and its prequel have really surprised me. Thankfully this is not the only site I look at to find adventures games to play, because if that was the case I would probably have overlooked what I believe to be the best adventure of the year.

Fien Fien
Dec 3, 2012

A spoiler-riddled review. There’s no reason, none at all, to tell readers what happens after the Black Market (second part of the game), how the game ends, etcetera. AG’s reviews used to be spoiler-free. Not anymore.

Jackal Jackal
Dec 3, 2012

Nope, our policy on spoilers hasn’t changed a bit. Some writers are just more descriptive than others.  And as someone who has played Deponia but not Chaos, I can safely that absolutely nothing I learned here has spoiled my experience beforehand.

Fien Fien
Dec 3, 2012

Policy? I never said anything about AG’s policy. Only about what is going on in recent reviews.  I ‘ve commented on the rising number of spoilers once or twice before. And if knowing how the game ends is not a spoiler in your book, then you have a very unique definition of spoilers.

Jackal Jackal
Dec 3, 2012

You didn’t use the word “policy”, but since the people haven’t changed, a policy change is the only reason we’d do something differently than before. But that hasn’t changed either.

Some very generalized comments on the ending of a middle installment of a trilogy seems entirely reasonable to me. It’s not like it’s the end of the story.

Fien Fien
Dec 5, 2012

Her “generalized commens on the ending” are unnecessary. Her point was that she found the ending more satisfactory than the first game’s ending. She can say that without spoiling my fun. Would you mind NOT knowing how the game ends? Of course not.

Advie Advie
Dec 5, 2012

it is obvious that Daedalic aim to represent Deponia 2 and 3 in a similar way as Cranberry represented BM 2 and 3 (one part separated in two because of the story Longness) , so i guess there is no harm in a little suspense with part 2 ending being revealed and the reviewer might dealt with it (the ending) as its not (yet) the end of the story.

threerings threerings
Dec 8, 2012

“He makes reckless decisions at the expense of Goal’s safety (contrary to the player’s will) and generally treats her more like an object to win than a person he cares about. “

This was my biggest problem with the first game and I’m disappointed to hear it doesn’t get better.  I hate that Goal is literally only that: a goal and an object, but not a real character or fully fledged person.  Since the only other female character in the first game was portrayed very negatively I really feel there’s a sexist streak in these games that seriously ruins my enjoyment. 

It’s too bad because otherwise I enjoyed Deponia and its puzzles.  I think there is a loss of humor in the translation and I would class the quality of the humor as average for a comedy game.

Keregioz
Dec 8, 2012

@threethings - It’s true that Rufus still, at times, behaves like a douche towards Goal (which I’m still finding kinda funny personally, seems like you guys take it a little too seriously) but Goal’s character is much more developed and a “fully fledged person” this time around.

Advie Advie
Dec 16, 2012

About Lowering the Volume Settings PUZZLE!!! ,(i noticed no one mentioned that?!!)  Seriously Daedalic should be sewed for making such one. ... next time we may see a Puzzle that requires increasing Brightness setting to be able to see a hidden Hot-Spot/Object!

Stella Artois
May 27, 2013

Overall a good game with interesting locations and puzzles. Unfortunately,  the main character is so annoying and dislikable that it actually diminished my enjoyment of the game. Side note to the Daedalic team -  Cruelty to animal “jokes” are just not funny.



Post a comment

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

Also check out...

Jazzpunk review

PC Mac