Oh Sinless… Sinless, Sinless, Sinless… Why did you have to be a point-and-click adventure game? You could have been anything–literally anything–else, and I would have given you a perfect score. You could have been a cyberpunk re-skin of Akalabeth for all I care! But no, you had to slide into one of the most boring genre pants imaginable. The beige, gap-sent khakis of game design.
Classic gaming purists will decry the notion of this, but point-and-click adventures died for a good reason. For the most part, they were fundamentally flawed. No matter how enchanting a story or setting may be in a game like this, the problem that inevitably pops up is that adventure games are asking you to solve a puzzle without having all the pieces. You are asked to get a key to open a door, and finding out whether or not you even have the tools needed for getting said key is entirely up to trial and error. Sinless falls into this trap constantly, and coupled with slow navigation, it crawls into some fiercely un-enjoyable puzzle-solving segments. This formula is basically impossible to do correctly without some kind of massive shift in direction away from similar titles.
I can stare at the captivating settings of Sinless for minutes at a time, absolutely enthralled in the petty toils of street-folk. But when it comes to actually playing the game, it can feel like a boring slog with pretty scenery. And just look at those screenshots! Incredible, no? Hazy, blurry, mysterious, almost inspiring in some indeterminate way. I hope they aren’t just ripped from Google images with a filter put over them, because I’m going to sound silly when I say that Sinless has one of the most breathtaking renderings of a cyberpunk world I’ve yet seen (a fact that even the characters are quick to point out).
Dialogue with characters is immersive, and the cyberpunk setting, while somewhat stock, is exactly what you’d expect from the subgenre. A bit of polish may be lacking in textual encounters, be it from hokey one-liners or grammatical errors, but they all do a good job as far as immersion goes. The way characters vent their frustrations with the totalitarian regime of their cozy little police state feels genuine, and lacks the genre’s usual stiffness of transparently explained world-building. They talk about haywire medical implants and kidnappings just as your roommates would round-table about the latest movie or a development in the presidential election. Add some parallax scrolling, and a substantial amount of depth is communicated by Sinless both visually and narratively.
Press on through the point-and-click-y parts and the tone-shattering achievement pop-ups, and you’ll find a game with plenty to offer the eyes, as well as our sense of adventure. It’s a detailed game, where auxiliary tidbits constantly dance around you, telling little stories of their own about the world. Examples are the two tooth-brushes in your bathroom, indicating you live with someone, or the wires weaving out of your wrist when you hold up your iPad thingy. I even got arrested about 4 times before I realized that I should probably put some clothes on before going from my bed to the city streets. Needless to say, it’s a game packed to the brim with detail. A shame it picked the wrong genre, but I guess my first 5/5 will be won over by some other cybernetic floozy on the indie games circuit.
Is it Hardcore?
A cyberpunk adventure game with a vibrant style but somewhat boring puzzles.