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Artifex Mundi gives us another hidden object game, but is the magic fading?

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    Eventide 2: The Sorcerer’s Mirror

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Artifex Mundi gives us another hidden object game, but is the magic fading?

    Another month has come and gone and with it we’ve got another Hidden Objects game from developer Artifex Mundi for the PlayStation 4! This time we’re looking at "Eventide 2: The Sorcerer’s Mirror", which promises even more puzzles, but is this title a worthy entry in the series or is the magic fading?

    In Eventide 2, you continue your role as Mary, the famous botanist from the first game who saved a Slavic-themed park from dark magic. Despite being a sequel however, there’s really no need to play the first title before this one if you don’t want to as the stories are only connected by their protagonist and nothing else.

    Still, Mary seems to have a knack for finding trouble! One day while she is out rock-climbing with her niece, they come upon two mysterious men who quickly prove to be up to no good as they just out-right kidnap her neice and cut her rock-climbing line, leaving her for dead. Extreme, to say the least! This leads to Mary investigating the nearby village to try and find her niece while discovering what the local Sorcerer is up to…

    Like most of these Hidden Object games, Eventide 2’s story is a rather generic "Good Guys vs. Evil Guys" tale: you’re definitely not buying this game for its engaging narrative. Artifex Mundi does try something new here though by introducing "moral choices". At certain points throughout the game you’ll have a choice on how to handle a situation. One choice is usually the "greater good" choice while the other is usually the "kind" choice. However, like most Telltale Games "choices", the choices here do very little to affect the game play and story. For example, early on in the game you need to get the local butcher to give you a piece of meat. You can either choose to trade her something that belongs to her for it (which gets you the meat) or you can just choose to be nice and give her the missing item, for which she’ll be so grateful that she’ll… give you the meat. After playing through the game twice, I can tell you the game is full of these "non-choice choices". The story as a whole just isn’t that interesting either, with very little interaction with any given character and a very generic plot overall.

    While the story may not deliver much, the puzzles and hidden object scenes here make up for it. If you’ve played previous Artifex Mundi games, you’ll be instantly familiar with the game play of Eventide 2. Hidden Objects scenes are the meat of the game here and are still quite fun (assuming you like searching for random items). You’ll also need to carefully explore every location you encounter to find items that will help you solve puzzles and proceed forwards, which tests your logic as well as your eyes!

    The game also has collectible items you can find as you search various environments (the collectible items are mirrors and playing cards featuring Imps this time around). Eventide 2 also retains several "quality of life" features that previous games had, including a map to quickly move around as well as a hint system that you can use to either show you where you’re supposed to go (and point out items) or will help you find items in the various hidden object scenes. A very welcome (and optional) feature that is appreciated since these types of games can halt your progress if you just happen to miss one key item somewhere.

    For a game that primarily features giant, detailed pictures for you to find items in, you’d hope the graphics look good. Thankfully, that’s something Artifex Mundi has always done a good job on and Eventide 2 is no exception. The hidden object scenes are stellar, as usual, with plenty of detail and items to look through. The environments you’ll explore and people you meet also look good, although there’s not much variety to the environments this time around (mostly generic outdoor and indoor areas). I did appreciate the extra graphical flair here and there throughout the game though, such as leaves floating by or animals moving around which all help liven up the locations you’ll explore.

    The audio throughout the game is solid. As you explore and solve puzzles, you will mostly be listening to a very calming piano piece (accentuated by strings here and there), which gives you some nice "easy listening" tunes. There’s also some ambient environmental noises here and there (you have to love listening to nature!). The voice acting in these titles is OK, but really nothing special. Honestly, the voice acting has always been a little stilted, like the actors are literally just reading lines and are averse to showing any sort of emotion.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the shortest "Hidden Object" games from Artifex Mundi I’ve ever played. Most of their games come with a second, shorter chapter that unlocks once you beat the game, but not this one. You will have to play through the game twice in order to see and do everything (as one of the game’s trophies/achievements requires you choosing every "moral choice" in the game), but even then I was able to totally Platinum this title in under four hours. This is also a departure from the developers "norm" as they usually include some alternate game types in place of the Hidden Objects for secondary playthroughs (Mahjong, Dominoes, etc…), but they don’t do that here either. There is some room for longer play times here with the two difficulty modes (Normal and Expert) as well as with collectible hunting, but overall Eventide 2 is undoubtedly one of the developer’s shorter titles and it shows…

    Overall: 6/10

    In the end, Eventide 2: The Sorcerer’s Mirror is another solid offering from Artifex Mundi, and fans of the genre will undoubtedly enjoy this title. The entire project however, just feels… a bit underwhelming, as the developer’s usual effort just doesn’t seem to be here (mainly in the game’s short length, lack of a bonus chapter, and lack of alternate game modes). Still, if you’re looking for a relaxing time with various puzzles and hidden object scenes to enjoy, Eventide 2 is ready to serve you up another dose. Have fun and keep playing!

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