A quick critique [spoilers]

All about the seventh episode of The Last Door. Reveal secrets, ask for hints, or share any topic relevant to the chapter you may have found elsewhere.

A quick critique [spoilers]

Postby Coralio » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:20 pm


Thanks for keeping up the good work... That said, I have to state for the record, that I'd have been happier if development took longer, but resulted in a more polished and complex product.

As it is, Reunion feels lacking. I loved the atmosphere, you guys have gotten masterful at that, but somehow I can't shake the feeling that this episode was "atmosphere only".

I felt a lack of interaction. There are few characters you can have conversations with, and most of those are pretty simplistic. The puzzles are far too simple. The game ultimately boils down to an extremely linear progression: Learn about the burned house -> Repair the lighthouse -> Enter the crypt. There wasn't enough complexity in those tasks, or enough sidetracks, to hide this fact. There was also far too little exposition or background. The reason to come to this island was to learn something, but ultimately, we've learned nothing.

I was really hoping to see more weird village festival stuff. See more villagers doing weird shit. Have some old drunk flip out on me and be all "Ia Ia Cthulhu fhtagn" or whatnot. Having to walk around in a mask to get someone to talk. See some rituals enacting things familiar from earlier games. Meet the Lord again, or find out that he was dead all along - and OMG who did we talk to. None of that happened.

There were no real shock moments either, and I was really missing them. The creepy revelation of a dead girl having become a tree, or a couple in rat masks stepping off a photo, or a piano played in a sealed-off cavern, or, well, even windows cracking from an onslaught of birds, or a raven looking back at you from a keyhole... It completely lacked the feeling of "OMG I'm so deep in shit".

And that's where we get to the real letdown, the end scene. That animal skull revelation felt tacked on a bit.. and "then suddenly", someone pushes the slab over the burrow? And we're in the veil? Really? Wasn't that too easy? For Devitt, getting there was a long and arduous journey. Each game of the first season was an elaborate ritual to open the gate, half prepared by those who have gone before us. In the finale, the game perfectly conveyed Devitt's horror, lingering doubts and growing certainty. He stepped through.

That was totally lacking here. "I cannot persevere, but I will"? Really? And those animal heads and eyes? Compared with the actually creepy and foreboding stone colossi when Devitt follows the journey of the birds in the mist, the whole scene felt really cartoony.
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Re: A quick critique [spoilers]

Postby Coralio » Wed Aug 26, 2015 8:39 pm

I think if you ever do a collector's edition of the second season, this episode might deserve a "director's cut", with lots of new scenes. Instead of a linear (and emotionless) exploration storyline, with the "let's look for the lost kid" thing thrown in, I think what would work great is having to uncover the lore behind the festival, learn about some forbidden or lost ritual, and, similarly to Devitt, horrified and reluctant, execute it in order to learn the truth of the Cronemeadan. With a lot more villagers, a lot more talking, and a lot more exposition.
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Re: A quick critique [spoilers]

Postby MasterMarkus » Sat Aug 29, 2015 2:28 am

While I don't completely agree with your opinions on the ending, I do agree that the build-up was shallower than I expected. It was almost too much like the beta, when I expected a lot more changes in depth and storytelling like their had been the in previous two chapters.
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Re: A quick critique [spoilers]

Postby Hugues Claes » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:11 am

And for instance, the books that was about rituals on the shelf in the school, I wanted so much read it but I can't...

And I agree at almost all you said.
But I love the episode too.
Hugues Claes
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Re: A quick critique [spoilers]

Postby avec » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:36 pm

I think part of the problem is that Wakefield and Devitt have vastly different motivations. Originally, Devitt wanted to come to terms with the horrifying fate of his friend, Anthony. Later, as he regained his memories, he came to accept his own complicity and his fascination with the Veil. Devitt would have probably been interested in the dark rites and festivals on Eilis Mor.

As far as we know, Wakefield has no buried memories or dark past. His only motivation seems to be to find Devitt, though he doesn’t seem to know why he’s doing it. In Chapter 5, during his opium dream, he considered several possible reasons:

Is it because you care about your patients?
Or out of scientific curiosity?
Is it for your pride?
Because it is your professional responsibility?
Or is it because it is the right thing to do?

I don’t get the sense that Wakefield cares all that much about the Veil. When people bring it up, he often brings the conversation back to Devitt. He says things like, “How is all of this connected with my patient?” Since the Veil didn’t make much of an impression on Wakefield, I wouldn’t expect that the Festival or the Cronemeadan would make much of an impression either. Therefore, I agree that Chapter 7 did not have a lot of emotional depth, but I’m not sure how it could have been deeper than it was.

Maybe Wakefield wasn’t the best protagonist for Chapter 7. Or maybe the chapter would have worked better if it had focused on ethical issues. For example, Wakefield could have been forced to choose between saving Devitt and saving Kieran. Then again, arguably that’s what did happen. As a psychologist with some knowledge of the occult, Wakefield might have been uniquely qualified to help Kieran come to terms with whatever it was that he had become. But Wakefield didn’t even try. The same goes for the monster in Chapter 6 (which I assume was Hugo). Wakefield suspected that the monster was actually a person, and that he was miserable, but then Wakefield didn’t give it a second thought. So maybe Wakefield’s arc in Chapter 7 had to do with his obsession with Devitt and how it had blinded him to his true role. The Simurg might not haunt Wakefield’s dreams (yet), but he might come to deeply regret the choices that he made in this chapter. (I remember seeing a similar story on the TV show Angel. Oddly, that episode was also named “Reunion.”)

Of course, Wakefield might have been overwhelmed and not thinking clearly. I don't want to be too hard on the guy. :)

Character motivation aside, I think there might be an in-story reason for why the Veil was so easy for Wakefield to cross. There may be some places where the Veil is so thin that it’s hard to not cross it. The Cronemeadan might be one such place. Majuba Hill might be another. At Majuba Hill, Sgt Conghill and his unit apparently crossed the Veil purely by accident. They were even less prepared than Wakefield was. Having said that, I can see how the passage through the Veil might feel less "earned" in Chapter 7 than it did in season one. The Veil was also a lot creepier in Chapter 3, even if that episode was just a dream.
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