Broken Pieces Review
Broken Pieces was released at the spookiest time of the year, but don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it tooks. Developed by the small team Elseware Experience, Broken Pieces brings us a thrilling plot and clever storytelling about cults, supernatural threats, and more. Although it was not as psychological as expected, the lonely environment presented in the game could drive someone mad.
Piecing it All Together
Elise is our protagonist in Broken Pieces, and she is the only character in this game. After settling into Saint Exil with her fiance Pierre, a strange occurrence leaves her stranded alone in town. The mystery we are trying to solve requires lots of puzzle-solving, exploring, and playing with weather. There is always a need to stay alert, because anything could be dangerous yet anything could be a clue. To add to the creepiness, the game can be played in complete silence.
Broken Pieces has a fairly memorable plot, and I was invested from the beginning. Personally, I thought the conclusion was not the strongest, but only because the details were so interesting. However, that didn’t mean the journey was unenjoyable. Every location presented something new and held meaning. Elise had to find hidden messages, solve puzzles, and find cassette tapes that held clues. The game was worthwhile and didn’t take too long to complete.
Elise’s tape player had a key role in this game. The story was mainly told through audio, and key information was captured in Elise’s journal. Some tapes helped with the investigation while others contained Pierre’s music. Although Elise was alone in this journey, she could fill in the silence by listening to clues or her lover’s songs.
You’re Not Alone
We learn how to fire Elise’s gun early on. Afterwards, she mentioned she needed to be home by 8pm. But wait, wasn’t she alone? In fact, Elise has unwelcome company. The moment she left her house, a ghostly being approached her, initiating a quick fight. She then makes her way to another location, fights another ghost, and solves numerous puzzles to complete her task. It was easy to see Broken Pieces as an adventure game with a variety of puzzles, but it wasn’t naturally a psychological thriller as claimed. Also, Elise was a terrible shot and that made me nervous. Was the panic the psychological part?
Players had to choose their next move carefully because Elise needed to complete her objectives in a timely manner. This is because after 8pm, an abundance of ghosts will appear. Different actions took different amounts of time; for example, resting on a bench to regain HP fast-forwarded two hours. It’s important to think about Elise’s next step and weigh the benefits and risks. For instance, I would rather avoid the ghosts at 8pm, whereas another player might want to risk the timing.
A Puzzling Experience
The storytelling utilized cassette tapes as a source of information, which was a smart way to move the plot along. On the other hand, listening to the tapes could be a frustrating task. When the tape plays, Elise isn’t able to do anything productive. She is free to move around and interact with objects, but this will pause the tape. Because of this, it didn’t feel like the smoothest experience. However, Elise records a summary of her findings which we can listen to later. She also keeps information in her notebook if we want to read about it, too. And this worked fine for the game.
Unfortunately, what didn’t work was the combat. It didn’t add value to the overall impact of the story nor did it make the game more exciting. The appearances of ghosts also happened so infrequently that the combat wasn’t memorable. The puzzles and exploration in Broken Pieces were more than enough to keep me on my toes. Though the idea of combat could have worked, for this purpose it felt unnecessary.
Awkward camera angles also often disrupted the flow of solving puzzles. Finding the right perspective was a challenge and I missed clues because I was looking at the wrong side. A clue could be slightly above Elise’s perspective as well, but adjusting the view wasn’t easy. Fortunately, most of the objects Elise interacted with were highlighted, so it’s not difficult to determine what to check next. If you want to torture yourself, you can turn this option off. It really sucks without it, though.
Broken Pieces is a creative game with a plot containing a variety of puzzles, decent exploration, and questionable combat. Being the only character in the entire game, it can get rather lonely. However, that adds to the overall experience of being, well, all alone. Although this was under the psychological thriller genre, it was neither psychological nor thrilling – but it was unique. It may not be as mind-provoking as expected, but it had an intriguing story and a fairly smart protagonist, even if she was a terrible shot.
**A PS5 code was provided by the publisher**
- Interesting plot
- Smart storytelling
- Variety of puzzles
- Unnecessary combat
- Troublesome clues
- Odd camera angles