Agatha Christie the ABC Murders – Short Review: PS4 Version

Poirot Memory Game

The storm briefly subsides as the door opens wildly. Bundled through the long corridor we reach a small side room where two burly men swiftly move inside, planting the subject firmly in the chair. A smaller calm gentleman enters, nods and leaves. One of the burly men removes the hood and Joey Jo Jo winces under the glare of the singular burning lamp, she blinks and her calm demeanour instantly returns. One of the burly men snorts as they manhandle the door and exit.

She smirks a little and her icy composure returns. 2 hours pass before the door finally opens.

The smaller man adjusts his seat, fiddles with the antiquated recorder and proclaims “The time is is 11.43pm and we are interviewing Joey Jo Jo. Thank you for coming in. In your own words could you explain what this Poirot computer game is about?”

Seeing as I didn’t read any blurb on the box, I just took out the disc and installed the game, I’d have to say that this is a detective game, where you will come across several brutal murders and find the murderer or murderers using all the evidence left lying around. I mean, evidence that you will discover using your superior detective skills. You also receive “ego points” for acting like Poirot. This seems to involve being occasionally impolite, pronouncing everything with a Belgian twang, looking in the mirror a lot and observing everyone. That is, staring at people for a little too long, while perceiving things about them until everyone feels very awkward. I’m still looking for the “twirl moustache” control.

Agatha Christie The ABC Murders

Nice sofas Trophy. Shite Belgium accent Trophy.  Minimum-wage sidekick Trophy.

“Yes, yes, very well. We’ve all heard of Poirot and e’s skills. As this is a detective game, I’m assuming it’s laden with puzzles. Would you say the puzzles have been fair or interesting?”

The puzzles are somewhat ridiculous. Person has been murdered, go and poke about the scene, find a puzzle box belonging to the victim, solve arbitrary puzzle by turning over the item in your virtual hands and noticing small details or fiddling until you stumble across the answer. The puzzles feel like filler. Most of the murder evidence is enough to give you clues without them. On the up side, at least the puzzles are different from each other. Someone has spent time creating these, unfortunately they’re all super annoying, rather than fiendish. 

“Is there a fucking slider puzzle?” The man leans in “Yes, you can repeat the term super-annoying if required.”

Yes! And it was super-annoying.

Agatha Christie The ABC Murders

Group moustache Trophy. Fine centrepiece Trophy. The “you won a trophy” Trophy.

“Great. Why do you think no-one in the entire world ever reviews these type of games? I mean, they must have a market, they keep making ’em?!” a bead of sweat finally appears on the brow of Joey Jo Jo.

Well, although I love the Ace Attorney games and I might have played a couple of CSI games, it’s probably because they’re all a bit samey, innit? Sometimes there’s an all encompassing story (Ace Attorney), but often it’s just whodunnit, then move on. I haven’t finished this yet, so we’ll see what there is to come. 

“Speaking of story, is it compelling?”

I haven’t read the 1936 book this is based on, and I don’t fully recall many complete episodes on TV so I’m still interested in the motivations of the murderer, but there hasn’t been much in the way of plot twists yet. There’s a few suspects with possible motives and Poirot likes to gather several people in a room at once to interrogate them, but you never seem to pick up that much information. I assume this is to create an opportunity to say the wrong thing so that someone can storm out dramatically.

“Hmm, very well”, Raises an eyebrow “The games kinda looks a bit bloody ugly, did that affect the enjoyment of the game?”

I don’t think it’s ugly. I find it a bit reminiscent of early Telltale games. In fact, it looks better than I was expecting. It came out in 2016. Sure it’s not rotoscoped, but it does the job. All the characters are distinct from each other to look at. Some of the the puzzles maybe needed further definition, but I don’t think it’s ugly.

Agatha Christie The ABC Murders

Is that even a mirror on the right sided wall Trophy? The Mr Burns Trophy. Shoes, on wooden flooring Trophy?  

Wearily “… and the voice acting?”

For me, David Suchet is Poirot. He’s probably the most well-known actor to play him. Don’t get excited, he’s not in this. We have someone doing a passable impersonation. It sounds like only about 4 people did all the voices. If I wasn’t tied to this chair, I would check. I’ve noticed a couple of female characters sounding exactly the same. Also Poirot and his partner travel to different parts of England to investigate the case, but if the character is lower on the economic scale, no matter their actual geographic location, they get ‘bad Cockney accent’, if more affluent, they get “BBC period drama country house dweller with staff, probably rides horses in spare time” accent. There is no middle ground.

“Fine. So it means well, is full of pointless puzzles and questionable voice work. At least it doesn’t look rank.” Nods to the two way mirror “I think we have enough information now. Well, you’re free to go. Just don’t make a habit of playing these unheard of Detective games”. A man wearing, what appears to be a janitor’s uniform, enters the room and begins the process of releasing Joey Jo Jo.

Look, this game was gifted to me by a well-meaning relative and I don’t hate it. I just found out about the Detective Pikachu game today though, I think I’m going to try that next. I mean, I don’t expect there to be gruesome murders in it, probably just looking for Ash’s lost hat or something. I bet it’s really cute…

“Look, you can leave now. Urgh. If you have to give it a score and a final appraisal, what would you say?”

6Like I said, I don’t hate it, but it’s a little repetitive and without the puzzles to effectively hold you up, this would probably be a very short game. Is there a Columbo game? At least that would have jokes in it. This gets a 6.

“Guys, get her out of here!” Everyone leaves but the Janitor.

“6’s a bit harsh. I really liked the game.”