Nope/ Slightly / Some of them / Get out of here!
Fairy tales are great scenarios for games. With a few twists a story passed among generations can be turned into a creepy, dull, sadic story. A quick look to Alice Madness Returns or The Wolf Among Us should do the trick. But I’m not going into them. Not this time. Here and now, let’s bring some light to Woolfe-The Red Hood Diaries. Or not, because it’s supposed to be a partially stealth game.
As American McGee did with the Wonderland, GriN Gamestudio decided to imbue the tale of the Red Hood with a darker atmosphere, changing the structure of the world in different ways. One of them, surprisingly, is politically. In this new universe the Big Bad Wolf (called B B Wolfe) is magnate who owns a large, powerful, company. He also filled the city with tin robot soldiers who patrol around the streets and are dangerous.
In Woolfe-The Red Hood Diaries we get to know that the Red Hood’s father used to work on that company, in a certain way forced. He was a designer engineer, responsible for developing the robot soldiers. However, the man passed away mysteriously while working, leaving a gap in his daughter’s heart that won’t be ever filled. The new Red Hood is supposed to be a sneaky, skilled assassin. And the game pushes the player to… Charge towards the patrols of tinned enemies… Hmm. It doesn’t make sense to set up a sneaky character if you give her an axe as a main weapon. Loses the purpose, like mixing the infiltration and hack ‘n slash genres (in my opinion a bad idea). The game is supposed to be agile, combining the “wait for this patrol to pass” and “I’ll jump to this ledge hoping they don’t see me, but if they do I’ll crash them”. What’s the point of hiding if I can easily beat every enemy?
Following the set up of Alice Madness Returns, some memorable characters make an apparition here. One of them (almost the only) is the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Remember the story, right? Well here the guy appears with no previous presentation, triggering puzzles and making some rats spawn. The platform puzzles, though, were rather easy to solve because of the double jump. Seems like the levels were designed for rookies in gaming, so I had no problems at all with any scene.
Getting back to the annoying piper, I personally liked the transformation GriN Gamestudio made on him: maybe because of a curse, he’s unable to speak, so only plays the flute while jumping around. The guy doesn’t hesitate when it’s time to make the Red Hood fight, and easily achieved to enerve me. In spite of that, I loved his ironic death, being eaten by his own army of rats.
Discovering that he was just a B B Wolfe’s pawn contracted to distract the girl was some kind of plot twist but… We don’t get enough valuable information about what’s going on. Of course there are tons of Market Plays and items to collect, but they feel like adding some information about irrelevant things (how the Red Hood’s father met his wife, for example) and they feel like disjointed pieces which never provide useful information. There’s also a common sense point: a hack n’ slash genre is fast paced, so why filling a gallery with tons of diary papers that will slow the run? It’s like pushing a box in two opposite directions at the same time.
So, back into the fray, the girl discovers that B B Wolfe is after her granma, so she rushes and races… Against a convoy of horses… Er… I’m skipping that.
After that, what I encountered the funniest was the old woman could defend herself nicely. She even had… Mystical powers?
And she passes them to her nephew doing a weird “dance” in the middle of the fight? And said power is a dark claw, something that should belong the wolf? Wh-What?
There are way too much questions lacking of answers, and I’m already assuming the game might have a second part or something. We gather pieces of information along the game, which lead to ta-da! Nowhere.
The fight was rather anticlimactic and weird, having an opponent who seems like unable to spread a single world. When I won the battle, I was expecting for him to flee or to say “You’ll pay for this” but B B Wolfe just died. So, why is a second part required? The old granma said things like “this is not over, you have to save the city” but everything was the personal revenge of the Red Hood, so now it’s all about making her a heroin? To save the city and some unknown girls from the tin robots, which boss is dead under my feet?
Despite it seems like I’m trying to destroy the game, there are enjoyable aspects: the cinematics are amazing and the power of Unreal Engine shines brightly. Therefore, the maps are amazing, like the beautiful green forest or some creepy, dull houses of the city. However, there is a huge difference between the polished cinematics and the rough gameplay (let’s just not talk about the combat mechanics, ok?).
Overall, Woolfe-The Red Hood Diaries is a piece that will be enjoyed deeply but those who are easily immersed in magic world and don’t care about the incongruences of the game. I warn you, however, about the shortness of the adventure. I finished it in 2 hours with no consideration of playing again. If the second part comes anytime, I would love that developers consider every phase of the project, because it’s an incredible idea lacking of refining.