*Editor’s Note: No screenshots were taken during our playthrough, the screenshots below are from the game’s presskit*
There is a lot of things that can be said about Herald, sadly much of it, I can’t talk about since it would be a huge spoiler-fest (and no one likes spoilers). What I can say is that this Point & Click period drama touches on many dark parts of human history and does not leave you unmoved.
At the moment, only two out of five books are available to play. Keep that in mind if you are the kind of gamer that prefers to play and complete the whole game soon after purchasing it.
Devan Rensburg is the playable character that you control and also the game’s protagonist whose choices decide what path you will walk during your journey. Devan becomes a sailor on the luxurious ship His Lordship’s Vessel Herald after being recruited by Aaron Ludlow, the ships 2nd Officer. Here our story begins and before you know it you get thrown into the inevitable drama that comes with a confined area filled with people from different backgrounds and social status.
Like every Point & Click game, the controls are simple, you just point and click. This goes for everything in the game; interacting with objects, picking your answers during a conversation and moving around. The only thing that does not go well with the simple click controls are the odd camera angles in some places of the game. When you see your character straight from above it’s a bit tricky to move to an area outside your view. Since you have to click so close to the point where you enter a new area 9 times out of 10 you just end up walking close to the border but never really entering the new area. At first, this may seem like a small detail that is easy to ignore, but after a while, it gets very frustrating because it is such a small thing that the developers easily could have avoided.
The story in Herald is great and the characters you meet all have distinct personalities, which makes it even better. Due to Herald being set in a colonial time there is a lot of problematic topics (including, but not limited to racism) in the game that might be a bit uncomfortable for some people. However, in my opinion, this is not a bad thing since (sadly) these topics are still very much present in our day and age. Highlighting them in games will hopefully make more people aware of the same things happening in their IRL surroundings.
Unfortunately, Herald is quite a slow-paced game between the intense bursts of drama. There is a lot of running back and forth completing menial tasks for NPCs, this doesn’t drive the story forward and feels more like fillers to make the game longer. Don’t get me wrong, an intense story needs its pauses here and there, but I wish the developers had made these pauses a tad more interesting.
The art style in Herald is gorgeous, there is no doubt about that. All the characters have their own personal features and every single one of them is beautifully executed. A huge plus is the moving character portraits during the conversations. It makes it feel so much more alive and interactive compared to most novel-styled games, which usually have static portraits. Sadly, the graphics outside the conversations and the cutscenes feel very outdated. There are a lot of sharp and blocky edges that makes the game feel older than what it really is, which is a shame since there is a decent amount of detail in the objects around you. Maybe this was intended when the game was made, but it still leaves me wanting something a bit better.
And then we have the music. Such an important part, yet easily forgettable if it doesn’t stand out. In all honesty, I don’t even remember the music being anything out of the ordinary. It’s not that the music is bad, it’s just a sort of background music that isn’t meant to be noticeable (at least that is the feeling I got when listening to it). It fits well with the time in history which the game is taking place and it changes according to the intensity of the moment. Bluntly put, it’s a bit like elevator music. It is nice to have in the background, but nothing you would listen to in your spare time. No more, no less. With that being said, there is a specific part of the game where one of the NPCs is playing an instrument and that piece is beautiful. Sadly, that is the only part of Herald’s soundtrack that is worth remembering.
So, will I complete the game when the rest of the books are released? I probably will. Herald as a whole is enjoyable with a very interesting story and I’m intrigued to find out what happens next. Would I recommend it? Yes, but not to everyone. If you like Point & Click and/or interactive novel-styled games, then you should definitely take a closer look at Herald. If this kind of game isn’t your cup of tea, then you would probably not find it as likeable since it is a very typical Point & Click game.
- Captivating story
- Drama galore
- Highlights problematic topics
- Great NPC personalities
- Moving character portraits
- Amazing art style
- Only 2 out of 5 parts are currently available
- Odd camera angles/walking controls
- Unmemorable soundtrack
- Outdated graphics