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Xbox 360 Game Review

Red Johnson's Chronicles
One Against All


Format: Xbox 360
Lexis Numérique
RRP: £6.80 (800 Microsoft Points)
Age Restrictions: M (Mature)
Available 19 September 2012

Get ready to solve a unique puzzle-based investigation that will immerse you in a noir world. Red Johnson, one of the best private investigators in Metropolis City has recently gained a fame that turns out to be deadly. A price on his head and a brother that has been abducted will force him to give the best of himself. To sort out this situation, you will need to use you wit, your persuasion skills and even your fists sometimes...

The sequel to the Playstation 3 exclusive, Red Johnson Chronicles comes now to both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Review imageSet in an unusual alternate reality recognisable as our own but where padlocks outnumber the population at a proportion of 10:1. The world is gritty and dark, littered with anachronistic mechanisms and gloomy, bitter folk all out to do each other over.

Into this bleakness steps Red Johnson and his colour coded brothers. Red has upset the crime world and a price has been put on his head. The game opens with Red laying low in a seedy bar when a mysterious package is delivered. This will lead him on a quest to find both his missing brother and the truth behind the package.

Game play wise Red Johnson’s Chronicles: One Against All is a peculiar hybrid of styles. It’s closest to the Professor Layton puzzle games on the DS but also has elements of Phoenix Wright and other ideas that are unique to this series. It’s essentially a puzzle game but the larger screen and more advanced capabilities of the Xbox 360 have allowed for a more ambitious game.

Most of the game's riddles require a numeric code to open one of the games many padlocks and a series of interlinked puzzles will give up the code. Puzzles range from staples like hanji, suduko and sliding block puzzles but they are often given interesting twists that keep the game fresh. Red has an ultraviolet light that opens up new ways of approaching puzzles and some of the solutions are devious and give a good sense of achievement on completion.

Review imagePoints, in the form of dollars, are awarded for solving the games various riddles and a grade is given depending on the number of attempts, time taken and other secret variables. The dollars can be spent consulting Saul, a Huggie Bear type character who will give clues to the many puzzles, for a price. Saul’s dialogue and voice is by far the most cringe inducing in the game and being unable to skip the cut scenes caused real pain.

Heavily story driven it’s sadly let down by appallingly cheesy dialogue and dislikeable characters. The developers have gone for a mature tone but the gratuitous swearing and sexual innuendo just seem forced and out of place. Without these contrived elements, clips of which solely make up the video trailers, Red Johnson would actually have been a far better game.

The worst crime this game makes is in the inclusion of quick time events usually in the form of a fistfight, which are sprung upon the player without warning and give a microsecond window to press the relevant button. I personally hate quick time events when they are bolted on as they are here - and again the action clips have made the trailer.

Review imageMost of the game's achievements are awarded for completing the game without making any mistakes and due to the high trial and error on first play through this will probably mean a second play through for achievement whores. Even then, the quick time events make these achievements hit and miss.

A good puzzler with clever and varied puzzles. Let down by bad presentation and QTE.


Richard A Bennett

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