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Yesterday Origins

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Pendulo Studio
Release Date: Nov. 17, 2016

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Yesterday Origins'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on June 17, 2016 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Yesterday Origins is a point-and-click adventure game that continues the adventures of its hero, John Yesterday, simultaneously with the events that link the modern times with events from the Spanish Inquisition period.

John, Yesterday and his girlfriend Pauline would be two ordinary antique shop owners — assuming they weren't also alive before many of their antiques were created.  You see, the two are immortals, so they're capable of being resurrected after death.  As such, John has been alive since the Spanish Inquisition.  As was the case for anyone who seemed different, the Spanish Inquisition was not kind to John, accusing him of being a spawn of Satan and throwing him into a dank prison to rot.

The prison serves as an excellent tutorial for the hands-off demo, with Microid's Cyril Berrebi showcasing the game mechanics and explaining them in context.  Like many adventure games, you must move around the environment to gather items that may or may not be useful to reach the next scene.  The rendering is from a fixed perspective, but the game features 3-D effects, such as flickering lights casting moving shadows, and the physics-based chain that initially shackled John to the prison wall.

When you examine areas of the game world or your own body, a storyboard-style panel pops up with a 3-D rendering of the area in question.  This allows you to interact directly with different potential points of interest to unravel their usefulness.  For example, you may figure out how to free a corpse from a rope or use a tool to unshackle yourself from the wall.  Conversing with characters may add topics of interest that can be used in conjunction with items.  A torture device to draw blood may not immediately be usable on your own character, but if you learn that blood may be useful for solving something else, you can supply that knowledge to let you extract some from your own arm.

John becomes immortal soon after, but it's not completely without consequence.  He botches the resurrection magic, leaving him able to be resurrected at the age of 25 any time he dies, but also he loses all of his memories short of basic functions like breathing and eating.  To get around this, he records videos Memento-style to help him remember important things in case he dies.  Conversely, Pauline has no side effects, so she sometimes (without John's knowledge) commits suicide to become young again simply because she saw a wrinkle on her face.

Approximately one-third of the game takes place as flashbacks in the Spanish Inquisition era, with the other two-thirds taking place in the present day.  While you have a crosshair to interact with objects in the game world, you also have direct control over either playable character, so the game feels more intuitive on a gamepad as well as on a keyboard and mouse.  The game also features a help system, since there are plenty of objects in the world, and not all of them are useful to make any progress.

Yesterday Origins has a lot of things going for it when it comes to continuing to define what a modern adventure game can be.  It still has the veneer of something akin to an older LucasArts game of the genre, but there are some modern touches that make the game look better or more fun to play.  The game comes out for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in Sept. 2016.

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