The long-awaited sequel to last year’s Hector: Badge of Courage – Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists (originally released on iOS, but only released a few months ago for PC and Mac), Episode 2: Acts of Senseless Justice feels very much like a Telltale game in terms of structure, though it was developed by the original developers at Straandlooper. Some recycled character models, new areas, the works. While the first game was originally developed exclusively for the iPhone platform, this game was designed with PCs and Macs in mind. It’s also Straandlooper’s first game made in partnership with Telltale (not counting the ports of Episode 1). Does this change the game in any significant way? (Well, for one thing, it still has an unwieldy title.) Did Telltale’s experience with episodic development and making comedic games change it? Read on to find out.
Well, it’s hard to say, as we don’t really know what the development split between the two companies is, but this is still a Hector game, though it’s more stable than the PC port of the last game. The game picks up exactly where Episode 1 left off, with Hector held captive by the terrorist, trying to escape and find out the culprit. It’s much more interesting than the original, and it does a great job of making you care about everyone involved by the end.
The structure’s basically the same; after the long intro (which uses a few neat mechanics), you’re let out into Clapper’s Wreake to solve some puzzles across three main areas. The humor is still very crude, and it revels in that. Like the original, some of it works, some of it feels like crudity for crudity’s sake. I’m fine with dirty jokes, and this game alternates between supporting why I do and making me feel bad about it. There was one part that made me…very uncomfortable. Let’s just say it involved some not-roofies and bad rape jokes. It could’ve been worse, but I felt it was pretty poorly done.
I felt that they did a much better job with the puzzles this time around. The logic makes much more sense, though many of the puzzles rely on you taking items into your inventory that look exactly like parts of the environment. It doesn’t help that unless you double-click something you’re unable to tell if it’s just part of the environment or an inventory item.
Dialogue trees take much less priority, and that’s a welcome improvement. The first game had issues with them being very convoluted and all that, but here they make much more sense, the only convoluted ones existing purely for humor. The hint system’s almost exactly the same, though there’s a bit of a twist on it. Whenever you ask for a hint, the game teleports you to your assistant, who’ll generally provide vague hints intermixed with his stupidity. It can be a bit annoying the first time because the game doesn’t really explain that if you hit it you’ll transport to another part of the map, but it’s much better than just skipping to the full in-game walkthrough the game has behind the hints.
Despite the developers saying that it’s twice as long as Episode 1, it took me only about an hour longer to play through. It’s only about four hours or so, and that’s if you fumble with the puzzles a lot. Telltale’s selling the season pass for the game (which comes with all three episodes for PC/Mac) for only $10, so that’s a really good value, especially considering the combined lengths of the games. Basically, if you liked the original Hector, this is worth getting. The crude humor (which definitely isn’t for everyone) is still mostly good, the puzzles are still mostly good; it’s an all around “good” game. It’s nothing spectacular, but if you dig really dirty jokes and decent adventure games, it’s worth your time.
- Title: Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episode 2: Acts of Senseless Justice
- Platform Reviewed: PC
- Developer: Straandlooper
- Publisher: Telltale Games
- Release Date: August 25, 2011
- MSRP: $9.99 for the full season
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided to DualShockers, Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review.