Review: Red Johnson’s Chronicles: One Against All
Red is on the Run. He’s got a hit out on him and his brother, Brown, is missing. It’s time to once again take up the role of the super savvy Private Investigator Red Johnson. Also, he has red hair.
Instead of a murder, Red is on the hunt for his brother. Along the way he will run into many new ridiculous characters. My favorite being this hipster that hangs out on a boat. Some are a little more mature this time around as you have to deal with a prostitute and a dominatrix assassin. Your best buddy Saul seems to be your only help (and who is more than happy to take all the money you earn in return for hints).
Once again, the environments are excellently detailed. Nuke City is one strange town, especially when you get to see a map of the joint in one of the puzzles. Seriously, it’s made up of nothing but bars, cemeteries, and gun shops. Puzzles are just as convoluted as ever, usually ending in you having to figure out the combination to a numerical padlock. Throughout the game, you’ll be collecting pages to an encyclopedia about the city. This bonus has an excellent self-awareness as it actually explains why the world is so confusing. Turns out padlocks were a fad going through the city. There were so many that people would set out bizarre self reminders to each of their combinations close by. One sequence has you breaking into a dozen people’s locked mailboxes. With no other information than what is immediately around the mailboxes, it’s entirely doable to break into all of them using context clues. Who would have thought that the demonic looking mailbox had the combo 666?
The music is still ambient and chill. I think it tries to keep you calm when you’re on the 25th minute of trying to figure out the same puzzle. They’ve added an interesting sketching mechanic puzzle. A person will describe a face in detail and it’s up to Red to draw that person based on the description. You end up having 4 pieces to their face each with 4 options (a toothy grin vs a small mouth vs an awesome mustache vs a pierced lip for example). The drawback to this is that some of the descriptions are really vague and or ambiguous. You only get three tries at the drawing until you fail, and sometimes it takes more to narrow down the options. Either way it’s an interesting change of pace. QTEs return, but aren’t used as frequently. The interrogation events are also scaled back, making failures less common.
Red’s HQ has moved locales, but still has the phone and comparator available. I’m not a fan of having to scan every piece of inventory into the machine, especially when only a few clues seem really integral to the case. At least the phone is touch tone now. My favorite puzzle in the game had you using a dozen security cameras to map out different routes of delivery vans, some of which had clues written on them that would only be visible from a particular camera.
You don’t see games like this very often. Even though the environment is relaxed, you will be tested with very unforgiving puzzles, so bring some paper and pencil. If you have the determination, maybe you can save Red’s brother. Lexis Numerique has improved on this strange formula and I suggest it if you’re looking for another 8-10 hour mental workout.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Detailed visuals
- Even more Bizarre Puzzle Construction
What I Dislike:
- Fingerprint Detector
- Some puzzles are ambiguous
- Padlocks get old