Lake is a pretty well done interactive narrative. You follow along Meredith Weiss as she takes a break from the big city and her demanding job to deliver mail in her small hometown of Providence Oaks. You interact with the colorful cast of characters as you deliver their mail. It’s a slow, dialogue driven game and it’s fantastic!
The game portion of Lake is decidedly lacking. You are just delivering mail.The animations are a bit awkward and the physics of the driving feel a bit too simplified. This is all entirely forgivable due to excellently written dialogue.
This is a personal pet peeve of mine but a lot of movie and game scripts waste the potential for character development and exploration of the narrative when writing dialogue. They simply restate what is going on in the game world and use it as a delivery for exposition as well as to explain why things are happening and what the player should do next, leaving it feeling very shallow, hollow, and empty. It’s pedantic at best and treats the viewer/player as too stupid to realize what is going on.
Lake presents the dialogue as actual people just having a conversation and it’s refreshing to see. The dialogues feel real! They actually show you what the characters are like and do an excellent job of building up the cast slowly over time as you get to know them over the course of your two weeks at Providence Oaks. It feels like you are watching a well done movie about a small town.
Overall, Lake is an excellent narrative adventure. It’s very slow and character driven. As you get to know these people, you run into unexpected adventures, such as helping one slightly annoying cat lady. She happened to feed her cat too many cupcakes and now it has indigestion and you can decide to help her or not. There are many of these small, seemingly trivial occurrences that make the game feel very close to something that could happen in real life.