Triptych is a Lovecraftian horror adventure written and developed by Dark Craft Studios. It deals with two brother's journey into the occult, Necromancy, and cosmic horror.
I'm glad I got to play this. I had a brief PM exchange with C-Zom five years ago, which ended to the tune of "it's best to not play it until you replace your PC with something that can do more than 25fps on low-med". I'll be surprised if he even remembers that, but he was nice enough to share that exchange with me and answer my questions + concerns. And now here I am on a much newer PC revisiting unfinished business from an earlier stage in my life. Though I think I would have appreciated this more back then, as I've since subscribed to "walking simulator fatigue", like many others.
Right at the start the first thing that struck me was the spooky ambient sounds. And as I continued, the bleak colour scheme, striking use of sun/moon light and stillness in the landscape really did create a powerful and haunting atmosphere. I enjoyed simply letting that embrace me and basking in it, seeing the sights. That felt great.
However the way the story is told and presented is wrong in so many ways for me. The four primary characters being Darien, Jeramiah and Samael from what I can tell. But to me they lack personality and presence, and I found it hard to keep track of who was who. I think the lack of presence is down to the fact a lot of what goes on is in notes or spoken dialogue. Characters rarely have an NPC representing them, and the words "show, don't tell" literally crossed my mind near the end, because I was literally being told about something happening while simply walking forwards.
It also felt wrong to me that, with the kind of atmosphere the environment captured, I should be spending that time looking down at notes. And at other times, looking down from my screen at my phone while I look up the meaning of obscure words. (Seriously, who talks like that? Those notes don't feel like they've been written by real people at all!)
It was an unfulfilling experience in the end when I felt like the actual events were happening somewhere far away from my actions, and like I wasn't actually achieving anything by being here. Still though, I had a pleasant enough experience simply soaking in the atmosphere in the environment for a while. And it's quite telling IMO of what's really important in games when a mod for a ten year old game can do that effectively.
Luke did some excellent work, I am amazed.
My main issue with the mod is how slow it is. Player agency here is at an all time low as you are made immobile to listen to dialog for several minutes. It really drives home the point that Triptych is TELLING me a story; not SHOWING me a story or letting me EXPERIENCE a story -- it is definitively TELLING me one, mostly through spoken word. After the scene with the window I was clawing at my keyboard for some kind of interaction. Similarly, the laboriously slow pan across the mountain range felt like an absolute eternity.
The story was simple, but more or less effective. I like most of the environments, though there are a couple where the light sources are a little weird (I guess that's a giant spotlight at the dig site?).
If the pace of everything was tightened up a lot, I'd have enjoyed it a bit more, I think (did Jeremiah really have to stop walking every time he used the radio?)
Note that it was only midway through writing this review that I learned a Director's Cut was under development; hopefully it's a little snappier.
A short Lovecraftian adventure from the creators of The Worry of Newport, Triptych has no combat but only environmental immersion and storytelling. Featuring a voiced narrative, Triptych tells a simpler story with less flare than Newport, but I find the storytelling to be more effective here. However the environments are a tad more tame than Newport, but it is a must play mod.
Triptych as well as Worry of Newport are some of the best mods available for Crysis. The voice acting is great for mod standards and the writing is decent enough to keep you going. Best part of the mod is the atmosphere and detail put into the environments-- great work has been done with the Crysis assets and it's almost unrecognizable from the vanilla game. The only real negatives I have is that the invisible walls are a bit in your face sometimes and some cutscenes drag on (although they're beautiful at least). Other than that it's a must-have for Lovecraft or horror fans.
Very nice work here, reminds me of the Dunwich Horror.
This is a masterpiece of mod making, make sure to try this out after Worry of Newport for a taste of what this team can do!
Original, immersive, good voice acting for a free mod. I personally would have wished for subtitles to be included yet it does not detract from the overall experience.
Never would have imagined to play this after all those years. I remember playing the demo in 2012 and it was probably one of the first solely narrative / visual driven games I played. Dear Esther remains as one of my all time favorites so I was very delighted when I saw this would be finally released.
I am very glad you managed to finish this, it was a very joyfully dark experience. The atmosphere was as thick as the light rays the moon cast through the pine trees in the beginning and even after all these years the Cry Engine is as stunning as ten years ago.
Your writing is superb and the voice actors did a very good job as well.
I hope to hear from you again soon and wish you all the best with your plans for your next release. I'm definitely looking forward to it!
Most of the modding scene for Crysis involves sulking in the shadows or embracing ham-fisted bravado with an open-ended approach to level-by-level progression. While indeed fun and particularly difficult for the most part, It's always nice to see a mod like Triptych make such drastic change from the status quo.
Such as removing everything that Made Crysis... well, Crysis!
Triptych is brought to us by the same team that worked on "The Worry Of Newport" from 6 years back (has it really been THAT long??) and much like the previous project, the gameplay takes a backseat while lore, narrative and atmosphere take the center stage.
This already would be a great turnoff for some gamers, but to someone like me who has played through so many Crysis mods, it's refreshing to take in a more laid back approach to a Cryengine project.
Much like TWON, Triptych is, much like it's name, cryptic and foreboding. Most of the story is told through spoken dialogue or documents spread across a beautiful, albeit static environment (hence why the levels load so quickly). Triptych itself is a bit of an enigma, as the writing within is quite fantastic and stars a fascinating attention to detail, doing a splendid job portraying the cosmic and dark horrors that lie within the mods universe.
As someone who is quite fascinated with Lovecraftian lore, cosmic entities and dark gods evoked from our most horrid nightmares (or perhaps simply visions of a horrific truth?), Triptych was a treat for the senses and hit all the right marks to make an unsettling adventure that doesn't tell all, but tells enough to get under your skin.
However, there are some shortcomings. While I enjoyed much of the narrative, player movement is VERY slow and the sprint function can only progress the player so far. Another is the instability of the Cryengine, with one major problem that forces AMD players like myself to see a white fuzz cover the screen unless I fiddle with the options menu for an hour.
Likewise, while some area's of the game are very beautiful, the static environment is a bit of an immersion breaker, not to mention a handful of area's in an otherwise solid product look very plain and lack detail.
However, I will say that despite it's shortcomings, Triptych is a splendid foray into the occult that will do wonders for those who want to kick back with a little interactive narrative, especially if played on a dreary, rainy day ;)
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