Rotating Header Image

Review – Vigil: Blood Bitterness (PC)

Freegamer | Meridian 4 | June 29th, 2007

So these days I try to make it a policy to complete a game before doing any sort of review.  The thought is, I should experience all of it before passing judgment on it.  Sometimes in order to complete this task I do resort to walkthroughs or even in game cheat codes.  This tends to factor into the review however.  If a game is too confusing to get through without a walkthrough or too difficult to finish properly without cheating then there is clearly a problem with it.  I’ve had enough experience and skill development in a wide spread of games to know how to figure out even really tough games.

There is a problem though when a game is buggy.  Especially when it’s buggy enough that I can’t seem to get it to move on or I spend more time fighting through poor controls than I do playing the game.  Vigil: Blood Bitterness is extremely bug ridden.  The basic controls are simple enough but the path finding of the player is terrible.  I gave up trying to navigate through this game early in act 2 when I couldn’t get the screen to roll over to the next area after running around repeatedly where it should transition.

How do I know it should transition?  Well, strike 2 against this game is that it’s extremely cryptic about it’s presentation.  Ok, cryptic is not the right word, cryptic implies that there is a book or a note or some sort of arrow hidden in the surroundings to point you in the right direction or the right method to solve the game’s puzzles.  There’s nothing of the sort present in this game.  You wander aimlessly through the stylized landscape until you’ve managed to find both cut scenes in Act-1, then you pray on the circles in Act-1 then you look up a FAQ and discover you have to pray in a certain order unlock the ability to pray to another symbol in another room.  There are no clues telling you to do this, without assistance you’re left to trial and error.

Trial an error is only good for artificially extending the length of a short and terrible game.

The game itself is essentially a Gothic Horror puzzle game.  There is some vague plot about your character and his world being destroyed by some unknown entity (unknown by act 2 anyway).  There isn’t any real explanations though of anything.  The cut scenes consist of random sinister sounding one liners with no meaning or coherence.  Honestly the only reason I have any idea of what the plot is about is because it was summarized in the game’s description when I bought it.

What attracted me to this train wreck of a game was the visual styling (that and it was on sale for like a buck at Gamer’s Gate).  The art style is very interesting and stark using almost entirely Black and White lines.  There are splashes of color spotted around to give emphasis to different aspects though they are infrequent.  The IDEA of the game is also a nice draw.  This sort of “dark adventure” genre is one that has started to get my interest lately.  I tend to steer clear of “horror” in movies and games but there’s a difference between the horror of atmosphere and the unknown versus the horror of say, Left 4 Dead.  In this respect though, there are much better titles than Vigil: Blood Bitterness to be found.  Amnisia is the best example of a much better alternative in the Gothic Horror Puzzle game genre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.