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Yesterday Origins: From Duke's Son to Immortal

Company: Pendulo Studios

Yesterday Origins looks to be an interesting ride split between the height of the Spanish Inquisition and the modern world. While adventure fans have already explored some of John Yesterday's story, this title looks to give you a much bigger insight into the character's history and, possibly, future.

Yesterday Origins is a sequel/prequel to the 2012 game, Yesterday made by Pendulo Studios, the same team that brought gamers the exciting Runaway adventure series as well as the twisted game, The Next Big Thing. While the main character of John Yesterday was introduced to players in the previous game, we didn't get a clear picture of what led him to become the immortal that he is. Well, Yesterday Origins will not only show the events leading up to his transformation, but also move his present story along a bit as he and Pauline look for a way to correct what went wrong when John became who he is 500 years ago.

Most of the demo we played had us controlling John Yesterday during his first life as the son of Don Alvaro De Castro, Duke of Fuentenegra in the 1500's. As young Miguel De Castro, he has apparently been accused of being a spawn of Satan by the Spanish Inquisition. Denounced by his father and shackled to the wall of his cell, young Miguel has to try and find some way out of his prison and gain freedom.

The series of events that ultimately lead to Miguel's escape are rather convoluted, but this is an adventure game after all, so that isn't too unexpected, and going into any actual specifics would just spoil the fun for anyone wanting to dive into Yesterday Origins when it comes out.

As John, in the present, explores his past and tries to correct the ritual that makes him lose his memory after each rebirth, we also get to see Miguel's journey as he gets closer and closer to that same ritual and transformation. John doesn't have many clues about his past, but he and Pauline know that something must have gone wrong that first time since Pauline's resurrections allow her to retain her memories. Interestingly enough, the lack of any real consequences to her resurrections means that she ends up finding a rather unique approach to getting rid of unwanted wrinkles.

While the story and settings grabbed me, I found the slightly different ways that Yesterday Origins handles the standard point-and-click mechanics to be intriguing as well. While you do pick up your normal, random assortment of inventory items, you also end up picking up snippets of conversation that can be used in your machinations as well, and these snippets are used when you want to combine items and have to give the game an actual reason for doing it.

For instance, and without going into too much detail, you find out that your prison guard/future torturer is a skeptic and his disbelieving nature could hamper your rather gruesome plan to get out of the cell. When you do find a pair of inventory items to combine, it might ask you why you would want to do that and supplying the conversation snippet about his skepticism is the necessary missing piece to actually combine the items.

What does this mean? Well, the old-standard "click on everything with everything" is a valid option in this adventure game just like others for when you are stuck, but by forcing the player to either already know what they want to do with the items, or by trying everything with that operation, it ensures the player has an idea of what to do with the new piece of inventory. If you didn't realize you were combining those things to affect the jailer's skepticism, you do once you've successfully combined the objects. This detail seemed to add just a bit more depth to the standard inventory-based-puzzles that are seen in most other adventure games, and we can't wait to see how else this twist on the mechanic will play out.

Yesterday Origins looks to be a promising adventure game that should provide some unique twists in both the story department and how players interact with the world and inventory. While the demo we played didn't reveal a whole lot, it did get us hooked enough to wonder what is in store for John/Miguel. We will be keeping an eye on this game, and feel that most adventure gamers should as well. Microids and Pendulo Studios are planning on releasing this game later in October.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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