Ben Jordan case 7: The Cardinal Sins review

Introduction.

Managing to produce six games of a series is a feat in itself, but Francisco Gonzalez (a.k.a. Grundislav) set out to finish the series with two more, in which all the loose threads would come together. Has he succeeded with the penultimate one? Read on.

Plot.

Recently returned from his ‘vacation’ in Greece, Ben Jordan has a fight with his family, who say he needs a better job than a paranormal investigator (the narrow-minded bigots!). Luckily, he gets a mysterious phone call from a man accused of murdering a priest, who asks for Ben’s help. Wanting to prove to his parents that investigating the abnormal is serious business and seduced by the idea of visiting the ancient city, he packs his bags and flies to Rome.

As the subtitle of the game would suggest, the plot this time revolves around catholicism. During his investigation, Ben gets to visit a few churches and learn a thing or two about certain saints and religion as a whole. While the game hardly is the next Gabriel Knight III in this aspect, the story is well-researched and rarely feels contrived. The surprisingly mature climax just shows how much Grundislav has progressed since he started the series.

Ben Jordan case 7

Ben Jordan case 7

Graphics.

If you are already familiar with the series, you won’t feel this game any different than the rest in visual terms. The backgrounds are once more rather pretty, detailed and most of all functional, while the characters are well animated and have neat character portraits. The graphics don’t add an awful lot to the experience, but they don’t subtract from it either.

Audio.

Peter Gresser is once again responsible for the music, and he has improved vastly since his soundtrack for the sixth case. The tunes are memorable and appropriate, while preserving the overall tone of the game’s atmosphere. However, I feel that an Arcade Fire song shouldn’t have been used for the closing credits – I’m sure that Gresser would have composed an equally emotional track.

The game is also fully voiced, which adds a lot to the experience. The cast is solid, if not superb, and obviously a lot of time has been spent lip-syncing all the speech. And look out for the Italian accent of Ben Jordan, it is something that will make you fall of your chair!

Gameplay.

Grundislav bets on investigative gameplay rather than far-fetched puzzles this time, and it is a winning bet indeed. The puzzles consist of mostly interrogating certain characters and putting the pieces of the crime jigsaw together. There are a few inventory-based puzzles as well, although they are nothing too zany. One may say the puzzles are logical and easy, but this is very much preferable to the contrary.

A negative aspect of the gameplay, however, remains the downright linearity. Not only aren’t there alternate paths nor solutions, but everything has to be done in a specific order. For instance, you can only pick a certain costume from a costume rack once you’ve found good use for it(and once the location has gone out of your mind, too). Call me picky, but that’s something Grundislav can do and has done better, and I hope he does not disappoint in the last game of the series.

Conclusion.

Despite some minor flaws, the seventh installment of the Ben Jordan series carries on the tradition admirably. The Cardinal Sins is an unexpectedly mature game and the cliffhanger it ends on can only make you wait in anticipation for the closing game.

Ben Jordan case 7: The Cardinal Sins

Creator: Grundislav

Website

Overall rating: 85%

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