Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express has captivated readers since its publication in 1934. The twisting tale of murder and intrigue aboard the famous train has been adapted countless times over the years in mediums ranging from film to video games. Microids Studio Lyon takes their turn at bringing this classic mystery to life with their 2023 video game adaptation. Staying true to the original novel while also taking some new liberties, this interactive version aims to offer both nostalgia and novelty.
As with the renowned novel, the game follows the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. While en route from Istanbul aboard the luxurious Orient Express train, a murder takes place, and Poirot finds himself surrounded by a car full of suspects. With the train trapped in a snowdrift after an avalanche, Poirot must solve the complex mystery before the killer strikes again. Players are thrust into the role of detective as Poirot, exploring opulent train cars, gathering clues, and interrogating peculiar passengers.
To freshen up the decades-old story, Microids opts to bring the setting into the contemporary era. The game takes place in 2023 instead of the 1930s, adding modern elements like cell phones and vapes. More significantly, the development team has also created a brand new character named Joanna Locke. Playing as Locke in flashback segments creates an engaging dual narrative.
While remaining faithful to Christie’s original plot and characters, Microids seeks to offer new life to the classic tale. Players can look forward to gorgeous visuals of the legendary train, entertaining logic puzzles, and the thrill of solving an intricate mystery. Whether you’re already devoted to Christie’s stories or completely new to the franchise, this updated adaptation aims to provide an unforgettable experience for detectives and mystery lovers alike. All aboard for another thrilling case with the iconic Hercule Poirot!
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Stepping into the Shoes of Poirot
Playing as the renowned detective Hercule Poirot, you’ll find yourself immersed in the thriller of solving a murder aboard a stranded train. The game utilizes a third person perspective, with players controlling Poirot directly. You’ll explore the narrow halls and ornate compartments of the Orient Express, clicking on various objects and areas to gather clues. Poirot takes a hands-on approach to sleuthing, though quick-time events and action sequences are rare. Instead, the focus lies on observation, deduction, and critical thinking.
A major part of the gameplay involves interacting with the train’s peculiar passengers. You’ll engage in conversations, pressing for details and unraveling alibis. During key dialogues, you may need to pick out contradictions and catch suspects in lies. The game presents you with several conversation options, and you’ll need to select the right one to call out inaccuracies. Choose carefully, as picking the wrong response forces you to retry. These confrontation moments offer satisfying logic puzzles as you use evidence to back up accusations. Though the game sometimes hands you the answers too easily via Poirot’s inner monologues.
To aid in your investigation, Poirot records information in his Mind Map journal. This useful mechanic allows you to organize clues, make connections, and track the overall mystery. You’ll frequently need to arrange facts into sequences or construct timelines based on witness accounts. These brain teasers require you to tap into the evidence you’ve collected so far. The Mind Map provides a clear summary of everything you know while also pushing critical thinking skills.
Playing as the new character Joanna Locke provides some diversity in the gameplay. Locke’s segments involve more hands-on detective work like searching environments, photographic evidence, and picking locks. The action ramps up in the flashback scenes compared to Poirot’s relaxed pacing. Locke’s side of the mystery focuses on a kidnapping case and provides a compelling balance to Poirot’s train investigations.
The game offers a variety of other puzzles too. You may need to help rearrange items in the kitchen or solve block sliding puzzles. Some puzzles feel clever and immersive while others come across contrived or out-of-character for Poirot. A few sequences force the famed detective to complete rather mundane tasks just to pad gameplay length. But the puzzle quality improves markedly in Locke’s sections.
Overall the game holds your hand too much as you unravel the mystery. Poirot repeatedly restates clues and facts previously uncovered, so when you need to piece together information, it feels redundant rather than challenging. With the game guiding you to conclusions step-by-step, it lessens the thrill of detective work. But if you’re looking for a lightweight mystery adventure rather than an intense brain teaser, the relaxed gameplay may appeal. Just don’t expect an extremely difficult test of deduction when playing as the “little grey cells” of Poirot.
A Fresh Take on a Classic Mystery
Staying faithful to Christie’s original novel, the core of Murder on the Orient Express remains intact. The game successfully adapts the captivating tale of betrayal, revenge, and moral ambiguity. All your favorite characters make an appearance, and the central murder mystery will keep you guessing til the end. But the updated 2023 setting provides a fresh lens to experience the intrigue anew.
Seeing Poirot interact with modern technology like cell phones may raise some eyebrows among purists. However, the contemporary setting mostly fits well and opens creative doors. It allows for contemporary references and humor that give a lightweight feel to balancing the grimmer murder plot. The historic Orient Express train also celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023, perfectly aligned for this release.
The biggest change comes via the new character Joanna Locke. The introduction of the American detective could seem like a risky gambit with such an acclaimed story. Yet, Locke’s inclusion pays off beautifully, creating an engaging secondary mystery without detracting from the main plot. Through enjoyable flashback scenes, Locke investigates the kidnapping of a child in the U.S.
Playing as Locke grants access to locations beyond the train, which is a major boon. The lavish Orient Express compartments are certainly memorable, but additional environments allow greater gameplay diversity. The two narratives intertwine cleverly near the climax, as Locke boards the stranded train herself. Having two playable perspectives keeps the pacing fresh while doubling the mystery.
One drawback of the modernized setting is that some elements feel strangely out of place. For instance, seeing Poirot examine a vape pen for clues induces more chuckles than intrigue. Other updates like the banter around social media influencers also miss the mark. So aging a classic story comes with both advantages and awkward artifacts.
Yet beyond the technological changes, the core of the tale remains reverently intact. All the quintessential conversations, revelations, and plot twists unfold just as Christie intended. The game finds the right balance between utilizing creative license and honoring the spirit of the original novel. Whether you’re a devoted Christie fan or newcomer, the story retains its mysterious allure while gaining new life in the process.
A Feast for the Senses
One of the standout elements of Murder on the Orient Express lies in its strong aesthetics. Visually, the game impresses with its rendering of the legendary train and distinct character designs. Auditorily, players are treated to atmospheric music and extensive voice work. A few technical hiccups hold the experience back from being truly spectacular, but overall the presentation shines.
Without a doubt, the crowning visual achievement can be found in the Orient Express itself. The elegant train cars come to life in vivid detail, from the plush lounges to the narrow hallways. Intricate carpets, brass fixtures, and art deco embellishments adorn the passenger compartments. The authentic opulence of the Orient Express is palpable as you explore its nooks and crannies for clues. This beauty does come with some drawbacks though. The confined camera angles and tight spaces can make navigation frustrating at times.
The stylized character models also stand out with their exaggerated proportions and bold outlines. Poirot’s impeccable moustache seems to have a life of its own. The passengers sport unique designs that reflect their personalities and backgrounds. While not the most realistic, the cartoonish look feeds into the lighthearted ambiance. Unfortunately some repetitive animations and stiffness undermine the visuals at times.
From a technical standpoint, Murder on the Orient Express performs reasonably well. The frame rate remains relatively stable across most environments and conversations. But expect to encounter occasional dips in busier scenes. The game also utilizes some long load times between areas that disrupt momentum. These issues are mild but prevent the experience from feeling truly silky smooth.
The audio work helps provide an engrossing backdrop to the mystery adventure. Somber pianos mix with smooth jazz riffs to create a moody soundtrack. The voice acting proves more of a mixed bag. While most conversations sound natural and well-delivered, a few egregious accents undermine the experience. Yet compared to most games, the amount of voiced dialogue stands out. This huge breadth of voice work succeeds in bringing the characters to life, even if the quality varies.
Altogether, even with some rough edges, Murder on the Orient Express succeeds as an audiovisual feast. Your eyes will be dazzled by the splendor of the Orient Express and distinctive characters. Your ears will be treated to hours of voicework and atmospheric tunes. Minor technical quibbles prevent a true masterpiece, but the presentation outshines most story-driven titles.
Stepping into the Lavish World
From the moment you set foot aboard the Orient Express, Murder on the Orient Express pulls you into its lush world. The incredible attention to detail in the train’s opulent lounges and cabins surrounds you in 1930s luxury and extravagance. As you explore every meticulously crafted corner in search of clues, it’s impossible not to feel transported.
The soundtrack adds to this immersive atmosphere, with lowkey piano and moody jazz notes echoing through the train cars. Somber tunes fill the air in heavier scenes while upbeat rhythms accompany Poirot’s more lighthearted interrogations. The audio tones shift fluidly in line with the drama.
While not perfect, the scope of voice acting also stands out. Hearing extended conversations fully voiced does wonders for investing you in the characters. The acting trips up on occasion but mostly delivers. Before long, you’ll come to know the quirks and accents of the distinctive cast of suspects. Even Poirot’s over-the-top arrogance becomes endearing.
Beyond the presentation, the story itself compels immersion. As in classic Agatha Christie fashion, it’s nearly impossible not to get invested in unraveling the central murder. Paying attention to each conversation and clue becomes imperative. Those “aha” moments when pieces finally connect offer immense payoff. You’ll likely find yourself scribbling down notes to keep track of everyone’s alibis and connections.
The game also encourages inhabiting the role of detective. Recording your findings in Poirot’s Mind Palace makes you feel more active in the investigation. Having agency over the order of exploration rather than following a set path gives greater autonomy. While the mystery may be linear, the journey feels personalized.
With its lavish environments, moody soundtrack, expansive voicework, and compelling story, Murder on the Orient Express delivers an immersive experience. A few technical hiccups occasionally disrupt the illusion, but overall the game excels at inhabiting its world. Whether you’re a longtime Christie fan or newcomer, it’s easy to get swept up in the intrigue. Just be prepared to wear your detective hat for the long haul.
Controlling the Investigation
Murder on the Orient Express keeps gameplay straightforward and accessible. The controls follow standard conventions for third person adventure titles. Keyboard and mouse or controller input allows smooth movement and interaction. The interface relies on simple point-and-click mechanics without overly complex inputs. This ensures the focus stays on sleuthing rather than wrestling with controls.
Navigation can get tricky in the game’s confined spaces, however. The lavish train cars leave little wiggle room, and the fixed camera angles limit visibility. You’ll need to rotate the camera constantly to identify interactive objects and exits. Quarters feel cramped even for a relatively small number of passengers. Those susceptible to motion sickness may struggle with the constant spinning.
On the technical side, Murder on the Orient Express avoids major pitfalls but doesn’t excel either. Load times last a little too long between areas, and some conversations suffer framerate dips. Most scenes run smoothly but lack polish. The visuals impress in stillness more than motion.
Regarding accessibility, the game includes multiple difficulty modes plus adjustable UI size. Subtitles accompany all voiced dialogues. Still, the reliance on environmental visual clues and audio interviews limits options for hard of hearing or visually impaired players. Colorblind support remains unclear.
Overall the straightforward control scheme helps maintain accessibility. But tight camera work hinders navigation, and technical performance feels rough around the edges. Players requiring particular accommodations may find their options lacking. Those seeking a relaxed mystery adventure will appreciate the simple and intuitive inputs. Just prepare to grapple with claustrophobic angles amidst the opulent train cars. In the end, manipulating Poirot proves smoother than controlling the camera.
Closing the Case
Microids’ interactive take on Murder on the Orient Express succeeds in revitalizing the renowned Christie mystery. While retaining the core of the original novel, new elements like the added character Joanna Locke provide fresh perspective. The updated setting also allows for creative liberties and modern twists. Both newcomers and longtime fans will find an enjoyable investigation despite a few missteps.
The addition of detective Locke through extended flashbacks proves a wise decision. Playing as Locke grants action-oriented gameplay on top of Poirot’s more relaxed deductions. The dual narratives intertwine cleverly to deliver the best of both worlds. Locke’s sections offer a nice change of pace from the confines of the train.
The story itself remains reverently faithful to Christie’s original work in most respects. The plot hits all the major beats and revelations one expects. A few odd modern touches like vape pens feel out of place, but easy to overlook. All the legendary passengers make an appearance, and the central murder retains its intrigue decades later.
On the gameplay front, players should expect a lightweight mystery adventure rather than intense brain teaser. The game holds your hand every step, sometimes to a fault. But if you want to leisurely enjoy the story without frustrating roadblocks, the gentle prodding works. A mixed bag of puzzles ranges from clever to mundane.
With gorgeous environments, expansive voice work, and a compelling story, Murder on the Orient Express succeeds on presentation alone. The technical hiccups do little to detract from the lush world. Whether you’re investigating the Orient Express for the first time or the hundredth, it’s easy to get pulled aboard once again. This newest adaptation breathes new life into a classic while leaving its spirit intact.
Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express expertly balances respect for Christie's original mystery with creative additions. A few technical issues and repetitive gameplay hold it back from being a masterpiece, but strong writing, visuals, and audio make for an enjoyable experience overall. Longtime fans and newcomers alike should find plenty to love in this lavish interactive adaptation.
- Faithful adaptation of the classic mystery novel with fun new elements added
- Playing as detective Hercule Poirot is enjoyable and immersive
- Addition of new character Joanna Locke provides an interesting dual narrative
- Lavish, beautiful environments, especially the train itself
- Overall strong visual presentation and art direction
- Excellent voice acting for the most part brings characters to life
- Compelling murder mystery plot keeps players engaged throughout
- Satisfying "aha" moments when piecing clues together
- Contrived, underwhelming logic puzzles
- Gameplay can feel too hand-holdy at times
- Awkward pacing issues during conversations and transitions
- Camera work struggles in tight spaces
- Odd modern elements like vapes feel out-of-place
- Frame rate drops and technical hiccups, though infrequent
- Revolves around a lot of repetitive actions like interrogations