This is the Zodiac Speaking is a murder mystery game based on the actual Zodiac Killer case. The game does have some factual basis but is mostly a reimagining of what happened. The game follows around Robert Hartnell, a journalist hot on the tail of the Zodiac Killer.
As Hartnell develops an obsession for the Zodiac Killer, he becomes more and more haunted by vivid dreams of the Zodiac Killer and his victims. Through the help of his psychiatrist, he enters vivid dreamscapes that reconstruct the crime scenes, in order to help him solve the case and move on.
It is in these dreamscapes, that most of the game takes place. In there is an interesting blend of light puzzle solving reminiscent of point and click adventure games as well as a heavy emphasis on stealth due to the ever constant presence of the Zodiac Killer stalking you. The stealth is optional though, so people can turn if off before starting a new game in order to focus on solving the mystery uninterrupted. I would recommend trying it out for the first playthrough because the need to explore and solve puzzles while avoiding the Zodiac Killer creates a sense of tension that permeates the entire game.
Overall, This is the Zodiac Speaking is a pretty enjoyable and immersive experience, although flawed. The artwork, sound design, and gameplay work well together for the most part. The stealth mechanics are pretty unique in that the Zodiac Killer has set patrol patterns but will always follow you around, never leaving you with room to breathe unless you know what you’re doing. The game does have some flaws though. The voice acting for the Zodiac is not the best and undermines the immersion one may have in the game. The writing, for a murder mystery, is fairly weak as well, although still engaging.
3 thoughts on “This is the Zodiac Speaking Gameplay Preview – Stealthy Murder Mystery”
I tried the demo for this one earlier this year and just couldn’t get into it. I love detective games and the adventure genre, so it seemed like it would be a released I’d enjoy – but there just seemed to be something missing (and a bug stopped me from completing it). 😦
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There was indeed a bug that stopped progress in the demo, I believe around Chapter 2. The full game isn’t bugged as far as I can tell other than two achievements not working. I enjoyed the game enough but it definitely has its flaws. In my opinion the narrative structure as a mystery is a bit weak, there’s really no list of plausible suspects so you kinda know right away who the killer is in the game.
Also, thank you so much for the constant support on my blog, I appreciate it. If there is anyway I can help out please let me know!
You know who the killer is right away? Oh no… the reason I like playing detective games is seeing whether I’m clever enough to put together the clues and figure out who the culprit is. If that element of suspense isn’t there, I’m not sure the game would keep me interested! Maybe I’ll give This is the Zodiac Speaking a miss right now.
Keep up the great work! I’ll have to pop into one of your streams and say hello properly. 😀
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