0%

Review

You play Frederick Russell, an expert in artificial intelligence and psychoanalysis, developing the Dreamwalker project, which allows you to navigate through a digital reproduction of other people's memories and dreams. Your project is only in the development phase when you are contacted to use it on a sensitive case: the death of Johanna Kast,...

The Signifier Director's Cut

  • Greg Burn
  • Jun 18, 2021

You play Frederick Russell, an expert in artificial intelligence and psychoanalysis, developing the Dreamwalker project, which allows you to navigate through a digital reproduction of other people's memories and dreams. Your project is only in the development phase when you are contacted to use it on a sensitive case: the death of Johanna Kast, vice-president of GO-AT, the world leader in artificial intelligence.

To this end, you will oscillate between the real world and memory reconstructions, gleaning clues by solving the few puzzles sparingly sprinkled on the different layers of memory. Given their small number, the puzzles are relatively diversified.

Our escapades in the memory enjoy a not very impressive visualization, relying on photogrammetry and a lot of glitch effects and deformations. We are sometimes amazed by the work of the goldsmith. This original rendering is the strong point of the game.  The polished presentation continues through the soundtrack.

But as magnificent as the scenery is, the graphic praise will stop there: the rare characters and their animations alternate between the correct and the abominable, plunging us into the depths of the valley of the strange. This weakness seems to be well understood by the developers who use all possible stratagems to hide their animations under the carpet: when the conversations are not by phone, the interlocutor is hidden in the shadows.

If the title captivates by its often grandiose atmosphere, it is at the price of extreme rigidity. There is only one way to solve a puzzle, the dialogues are too often satisfied with an illusion of choice and the game is oppressively linear. While from a development point of view this makes sense, ensuring that all the content created will be experienced by the player, from a gameplay point of view, the loss of agentivity is frustrating, making the experience more like a scenic journey than an interactive adventure.

With a fabulous and atypical atmosphere, The Signifier enchants as much as it frustrates. Every good idea is counterbalanced by an unfortunate choice. It's all the more annoying because we feel that there is a real potential behind it and that not much is missing to transform the mixed trial into an applauded masterpiece.

50%
50%
50%
50%