Farka, which is mentioned in the title of the game Song of Farca, is a city. A city somewhere, apparently, in the Southern Hemisphere, independent, existing in the near future, where cyberpunk has already bared its steel chipped fangs, but has not yet acquired a three-layer universal armor, reinforced with implants. The classic confrontation of the setting: predatory immoral corporations, the mafia that does not disdain by any means, and those who are trying to maneuver between these two fires. The useless police don’t count.
Our heroine is Isabella Song, a hired private detective plus a talented hacker. Of course, in a brave new world like this, a detective must have many clients! The only problem: Izzy can’t leave the house. She sits under house arrest for an ugly fight – as expected, with an electronic bracelet on her ankle, and cannot even walk with her dog (the assistant does it for her). But is this really a problem in the cyber age? Everything can be done at a distance, remote control will save us!
The developers of the game, by the way, are Wooden Monkeys, guys from Russia, so high-quality Russian text is in the game from the very beginning. Perhaps someone knows them from the game Save Koch. Publishers – Alawar (Beholder, Do Not Feed The Monkeys).
The very idea of a detective-under-house-arrest (and indeed a detective who clicks investigations like nuts without leaving the threshold of his lair – remember Nero Wolfe) is very interesting. Especially in the cyberpunk universe, where a professional hacker is in control of drones, cameras, other people’s phones, traffic lights at intersections – whatever! You don’t have to risk your own skin on dangerous streets if you can order pizza and enjoy the spectacle on the screens. The only question is how to implement it.
In Song of Farca, we solve puzzles, control cameras, and chat at the bottom of the screen. Above, we are shown a view of Isabella’s apartment. At the same time, the cursor is inactive if Izzy moves away from the computer (and we cannot control our heroine directly – only when she is “at the workplace”). Therefore, at the beginning of the chapter, the player watches for a couple of seconds as Izzy takes something out of the refrigerator, dozes on the windowsill, reads … Then the video chat rings, the heroine sits in a chair and the actual gameplay begins. Sounds good, but … not very good. It turns out that 99% of the time on the top strip, absolutely nothing happens, because Isabella (which, in addition, is obscured by the monitor for us) does not move at all, it is raining outside the window and a company of Red Army soldiers, sometimes an advertisement from a bot flying by is broadcast on the same window. Everything.
Unless Izzin the eared dog in a wheelchair sometimes barks at the door or noisily barks with food from a bowl. The doggie is lovely, but not enough.There are cameras everywhere, everywhere, including public and private toilets, so this is not a problem. Big Brother is watching you!
The keys caught in this way should be examined on a virtual board of evidence, perhaps – given for additional analysis to artificial intelligence – Watson, that is, Maurice, Izzy’s faithful assistant, and then used in dialogue, like bullet charges from Danganronpa. But here, of course, everything is much easier: there is no timer, you can endlessly pick up replicas (except for a couple of cases, but even there they will not lead to a gamer), your interlocutor will patiently wait until you come up with the necessary arguments. The dialogues, by the way, are also good, Izzy has a wonderful – black, of course – sense of humor, and the rest of the characters match her.
True, there is something that I have complaints about (and, judging by the Steam forums with panic topics, I am not the only one) – about passwords that have to be cracked during the game. I am not against twisted riddles, I go through quests without guides, surrendering only at the moments of “pick a note in A minor”, but here, it seems to me, the developers have over-cleared themselves. Some passwords I would never have guessed without prompts. And some – even with hints: “the hand points to 12 o’clock” – great, but not every bird in the middle of the Dnieper will guess to replace 12 with 00 in the password entry line! As a result, on the second day a guide with hints was released, and on the third day – with ready-made passwords for those who were not even helped by the hints. I would really like to talk to whoever came up with these damned encryptions.
As it turns out literally after a couple of “orders”, absolutely all cases are interconnected. This Farka is some small town, less Mytishchi, honestly, everyone knows each other! However, this is even more curious – the heroes do not disappear, having taken part in the investigation, but continue the story, and the general plot is tied with a cunning sea knot.
True, the question is: if we have already seen a participant in the story in the two previous cases, why google him again after seeing him for the third time? (So you can probably call Isabelline search on the regular network and on the “darknet”). We already know almost all the facts, photos, biography and full passport data about him, including a face print on a bar in an urban slum.A wonderful story with several branches and several endings – but only an autosave, with no normal saves. Replay all 6-8 hours of the game? If it is impossible to skip dialogues and riddles? .. Lack of widescreen support, not to mention ultrawide. Yes, Japanese developers deny the existence of such heresy as widescreen monitors, but the guys from Wooden Monkeys, it seems, were not born in Yokohama? The lack of a built-in FPS limiting feature, and therefore the game happily produces a thousand frames per second, overloading an already tortured GPU; this, of course, is bypassed by the video card settings program, but Christmas trees! And I’m just talking about technical problems.
In terms of gameplay, I liked Song of Farca, but the cycle of unrelated affairs with the ability to control the heroine / hero (at least in the intervals between “orders”) would go much more than the limited cast of characters and the upper one that exists separately from the game. panel. If this were taken into account in Song of Farca 2, for example, or just a sequel, if it is planned, it would be great. Because, of course, we have unforgivably few detective stories and games in the cyberpunk setting, and so that these two things together – so in the daytime with a flashlight you will not find, let alone good quality …
Bottom line: Not everyone will like Song of Farca, but those who like it will tighten and will not let go. I recommend playing the free prologue available on Steam and then deciding if the game is right for you.