Hotel Dusk is a hard game to judge. It is essentially an advanced interactive choose your own adventure book with little bits of exploration and adventure game type gameplay here and there. The story is absolutely integral to the game, more so than many others, and how much you enjoy the story and characters will either wreck the game entirely or make it one of the more enjoyable games you have played. In the end I had a more positive than negative experience with the game where the negatives ended up being far outweighed by what was good about the title. This may surprise you as you read on.
So, onto the aspects that drew my ire or were just overly problematic:
A potential dead end: Now this is a big fucking no-no in game design. There is a point in the end game where if you didn’t pick up some off the beaten path item (that you aren’t required to pick up to finish a chapter) you will be FUCKED. You need that item to be able to see an invisible number on a piece of paper that is also randomly generated. It is a number that you need to input while manually typing a 23 letter passcode (with spaces) and if you don’t know the number, you have 30 possible entries to go through before you hit pay dirt. Did I mention that you have a time limit before you get a game over? Yeah, it SUCKS. I had to reload a save and lose close to two hours of game time just to rectify the situation.
Can’t…….. change……….. speed……… of………… text……..: I mean, SERIOUSLY? In a game that is all about reading to the point where you are sitting there hitting an arrow to continue the conversation for upwards of 5 minutes, it is a fucking CRIME to not be able to increase text speed. Hell, I could do that in Final Fantasy III(VI) on the SUPER FUCKING NINTENDO back in 94. This literally had me wanting to scream, especially during above retread of conversations. Hitting A or whatever also doesn’t hurry the text generation up either. It’s is a VERY flawed system and one that hurt my enjoyment of the game on large scale.
Lack of attention paid to streamlining overly repetitive tasks: Hotel Dusk is set in a very boring and closed off space, a small 2 story hotel. While that isn’t a problem per say, it is the manner in which the game is designed to work within this environment that makes it so troublesome. Doors are an ever present menace toward repetition as almost every door requires two presses of a button just to get a desired reaction. The game isn’t smart enough to just allow a press of the door icon to either turn the knob on a door with no one behind it or knock on the door of a guests room. This causes maneuvering through the hotel to get overly obnoxious when you have to go between two separate rooms to deliver messages/obtain items. Or when you are just…