Stasis (The Brotherhood) Review By MelodicEnmity:
Oh, nostalgia, where have you been all my life? How hath I missed thee! Not only do I want to thank The Brotherhood for helping me find you again, but that their game, Stasis, brought me back to a happier time in my life. This was a time when everything was brand new and exciting; a time when games were built to use and develop those ever expending brain cells, and not just waste them on hordes after hordes of digital shoot-em-up style free-for-alls.
Point-and-click adventures used to be a major contender in the video gaming industry. While these adventure games never completely died out…sadly, with a lack of major funding, interest on a massive scale, and real ingenuity over the years, newer titles began losing the quality and charm that they once possessed. Unfortunately, you can only rehash the same story so many times or attempt to play through a tale with stale and poorly acted dialogue. This, along with the extreme popularity of first person shooters and games like it, eventually lead to a bit of a downfall of the point-and-click AAA genre. Luckily, on the indie front, within the past number of years, we have begun to see a resurgence with the multi-choice episodic adventure gaming we have today. They are not quite the same though as they do have their own feel and set of problems that go along with any new style of gaming. With that out of the way, I am glad to say that The Brotherhood has stuck to the original roots of point-and-click adventure gaming with their offering, Stasis. With Statis, The Brotherhood has brought forth an old-school isometric adventure while adding some interesting twists and turns that certainly make it stand out from the rest of the pack.
The best way to introduce Stasis is to picture, and bear with me for a moment here, that somehow Fallout and Sanitarium were both married to each other at one point in time. Being the games that they were, you can just imagine that this was not any healthy relationship by any stretch of the imagination. Fallout was addicted to methamphetamine while Sanitarium did nothing but smoke PCP. They birthed a child named Stasis, who grew up in a broken home full of all kinds of mayhem and psychotic rage. It was just not a happy nor stable place for poor baby Stasis to develop its first memories in. After a number of years of paranoia and jealousy, one finally snapped and killed the other. Stasis, after being taken away by the state, bounced around from one foster home to next, never really finding its place it in the world. Finally, on its 18th birthday, some luck came its way. Stasis was released into the loving hands of Christopher Bischoff. Now, Christopher Bischoff worked with Stasis for over five years, pouring his blood, sweat, and tears into making Stasis the very best it could be, while Kickstarter fans from all around the globe rallied in order to help raise over $140,000.00 to help bring Stasis its own distinct identity into the gaming world. While, yes, Stasis does retain some elements of both of its parents, it borrows only their best attributes and simply builds upon those great founding blocks. If that insane story does not help describe that game to you in some way, shape, or form…what will?
You wake up, interrupted from stasis sleep as John Maracheck. Confused and injured he finds himself on the Groomlake, a repurposed mining spacecraft which is currently drifting out in deep space. John eventually comes to find out that it is owned by the evil Cayne Corporation, and that something has gone horribly wrong. Something is lurking nearby and everyone is dead. John does not belong there, nor does he have any memory of how he arrived. Through interacting with the environment and solving puzzles, the player can begin to piece together what has happened and what is currently happening on the Groomlake. What business did the Cayne Corporation have there to begin with? What happened to the crew? Most importantly, what will happen to our protagonist, John Maracheck?
What makes Stasis so special are the little things. To start, you can die. This is something pretty unique to point-and-click adventure games. The Brotherhood has given in game death a clever little twist here. Dying does not hurt your progress whatsoever. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. You are rewarded for your deaths, as they are a puzzle to be solved just like everything else is. These are aspects that breathe a completely new life onto what has become a very dated genre. Also, what I found myself loving were the little mini story-arcs that you find while reading the PDA’s left around the Groomlake, which have been left behind by the dead crew members. Without giving away too much here, I will always remember uncovering the hilariously idiotic “love triangle” between Grant, Harry, and Isabella. While that had no purpose to the overall story, it does point to the fact that Stasis is an extremely well developed, ingeniously crafted universe within itself. It’s the little things that make a game like Stasis so immersive and believable. The game certainly was not designed simply to get from point A to point B, and the player should take their time making sure they find and examine every little detail. It is simply more rewarding that way.
My only gripe with what I find to be a near perfect game, is the voice acting. I found that the actors themselves range in quality from mediocre to good. Since adventure games are story based, they absolutely need to be believable on every level, no matter how crazy the story may be. While Stasis did an amazing job of this, some of the voice acting simply fell flat. Thankfully, they were all characters with much smaller roles, making my qualms much lesser. Even though this is a small pothole in what otherwise is a well-paved road, I still felt disappointed this seemed overlooked because Stasis is otherwise a game so meticulously crafted and well-done. The main characters, while not the best voice acting I have seen in adventure gaming, do a well enough job. As I said, they were good. I do not believe anyone really shined, but Stasis, its universe, and its story were so immersive, that it made up for it and so much more.
Personally, I would love nothing more than to see a real resurgence of non-episodic point-and-click adventure gaming, and if Stasis is a hint at the direction it could go in…count me on board. Besides a couple of hiccups with amateur voice acting in certain smaller roles, Stasis by Christopher Bischoff (The Brotherhood) absolutely shines. It took me back to the days of playing games like The Longest Journey, Monkey Island, Sanitarium, Full Throttle, etc… Stasis absolutely transcends what has become the norm of point-and-click adventure gaming. It should not only be known for that, but awarded and rewarded for it. Christopher Bischoff and The Brotherhood have an extremely bright future ahead of them. STASIS deserves my highest recommendation! Make sure you support them by heading over to Steam or GOG and giving it a purchase! RIGHT NOW!!
Voice Acting: 3.5/5
Replay Value: 5/5
Total Score: 4.5/5