Games of the Year

AR-K: The Great Escape

AR-K: The Great Escape Screenshot 1
AR-K: The Great Escape Screenshot 3
AR-K: The Great Escape Screenshot 5
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Episode 3 in the AR-K universe!

Help Alicia Van Volish to flee from District 8 and discover the source of the mysterious Golden Sphere in an adventure full of mystery, acid humor, hilarious characters and sci-fi. Immerse yourself in a classic point and click style, with great history written by award-winning comic writer Greg Rucka.



  • Script written by Greg Rucka: enjoy a story of mystery, humor and romance created by the winner of four Eisner Awards and renowned comic writer Greg Rucka.

  • Enhanced gameplay: new inventory systems and dialogues, thanks to the players' feedback in the first two episodes.

  • New locations: more varied backgrounds, sci-fi designs and more dynamic world than in AR-K 1 and 2. Much more quality to give life to District 8 places.

  • New charismatic characters ... and some already known in AR-K universe: a crazy scientist, a gambler and a lot of cardesians will join Alicia and Franky on his adventure through this adventure.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

It's great when you come to a game and it's a lot better than you thought it would be. While I enjoyed ar-k 1 and 2 and I do recommend those games to play first, this for me is a lot better - story, graphics, setting. The writing was very good and if you didn't want to read everything, you didn't need to click on that character's bit of conversation but could come back to it if you wanted. I liked the humour, and it was witty in parts. It is the perfect balance of not just a good story which is vital in an adventure game but also good interactive gameplay.
You continue to play as Alicia and thankfully she is more likable. In the first episode the OTT "I am a sexy vixen" coupled with a not nice attitude a lot of the times frankly put me off her and I didn't care what happened to her, but by the end of E1 this was mostly gone and here I actually cared and liked her.
The story continues from 1 & 2 and I loved how at the end of episodes there is just enough surprise or hook to keep you invested for the next epsiode, it is literally a cliffhanger ending (not resolved or tied up with bow) with all of them and this episode is the same.
I love the setting in this game (all new) and I got to solve a murder as well which was cool. There is also a transporter map so you aren't wasting time walking everywhere.
While you could play this on it's own I do think there would be too many unanswered questions (what is the sphere, why am I here etc) and I do think you need to play the first game (which has episodes 1& 2 in it) to know what is going on. There is a video intro at the beginning which is supposed to recap what has happened but I don't know why but the clips seemed out of sequence, and they could have done a lot better job of a recap, seemed very disjointed.
I loved the achievements in the first game, very imaginative and different but here it was mostly straightforward and some more unusual ones would have been fun. There is one though which I didn't see the point of and will be a bit annoying to do (worker one,) - so don't go by my final time re gameplay!
Thoroughly enjoyed it and I really look forward to the fourth and final episode. Thanks DEVS for a very good, fun point n click adventure game.

Review from Steam

I recieved the codes for this game from the developer/publisher, but I did not receive payment for this review.
I firmly believe that the reason this game is sold separately from the previous two episodes is because it is of a much higher quality. DO NOT buy the first two episodes which are bundled together in AR-K. Unless you are a completionist that must have a complete series, really don't play the first two. This game begins with a "Previously on AR-K" and shows you all the cut scenes and dialogs from the last two episodes that you need to know. 6 hours you could waste on the first two episodes are summed up in a couple of minutes.
Now the good stuff: EVERYTHING I felt that made the first two episodes bad has been fixed. My compliments to the developers who know when to correct mistakes. The characters are much much more likable, the puzzles, while sometimes needing some thought, are not nonsensical. I didn't find this episode boring at all, and all the side missions served a definite purpose. The game looks great! I love how the colors pop. The voice acting is also great.
Believe it or not, I really can't think of any jarring negatives. This episode was a giant leap forward. If anything, this is the quality that should have been present in the first two episodes. It set up Episode 4 perfectly, and I can't wait to play it!

Review from Steam

Short version: 60%
Great Escape is a poster child of being “good enough”. It sacrificed most of its spunkiness to bring us more conventional point ‘n’ click gameplay and a better graphical style, but it also relies too much on the previous episodes to consider this a standalone game.
Long version:
AR-K: Great Escape is actually the third segment of what originally was supposed to be a four-chapter adventure game, now released as an individual product. Therefore, it is almost completely unsuited for new players—there is a recap video at the start, but the editing is too terrible to provide any information.
Beyond the improved graphical style, the most obvious change in Great Escape is how less bold it is. For example, our protagonist, Alicia—who finally got more reasonable body proportions—lost so much of her sass that she feels more like a generic late 90s adventure game heroine instead. Still, she is the only real character, because each member of the otherwise decent-sized supporting cast has too small roles and screen presence to make any impact.
Not just Alicia feels like part of a traditional point ‘n’ click but the rest of the game as well. We spend most of the playtime chasing typical adventure game puzzles throughout a new area, the AR-K space station’s sub-basement, where the shantytowns and gigantic industrial complexes serve as an intentional stark contrast to the last two episode’s posh futuristic city-state. The plot itself tells Alicia’s attempt to escape this place, and while it is incredibly predictable down to the last story twist, it is a cute and harmless enough tale to pass the time with, and hope that we can eventually see the conclusion of this saga.

Review from Steam

AR-K The Great Escape is the third installment in the AR-K series of point and click adventure games. It's a bit disappointing that the dev felt the need to switch to individual installments purchased separately rather than the episodic format of the first two games, but this game is an improvement in almost every aspect over the other two. To be honest, you could probably skip the first two episodes without much trouble and drop right in at The Great Escape and still have a great experience.
The story overall was interesting and had much more of a sense of direction to it. The story that the game is telling is nothing new in the sci-fi genre, but it's told well. Most of the characters are interesting and fun, and Alicia (the protagonist) is fleshing out to become a more likable character.
Voice acting is mostly great, all actors deliver their lines with believable emotion. However, the actors could have used a bit more direction in terms of pronouncing names and made-up terms correctly (the name of Franky's species comes to mind) so that the world feels a little more real. Additionally, the humour sometimes gets a little too self-referential (the conversation with the little girl about "female characters", the guy who tells you to "wait for Chapter Four") and there was one kind of unnecessary joke where the punch line is a male character disguising himself as a woman that might bother some people.
I enjoyed most of the puzzles a lot, particularly a great logic puzzle near the end (however the text in this puzzle could use a little native speaker proofreading). Most of the time I felt like I knew what I was doing and why, which is really all I ask.

Review from Steam

Really excellent game! I liked the first parts, too, but this really was excellent.
The graphics, dialogues and voice acting are all really first class. The gameplay mechanics have been greatly improved since the first game, as have the graphics (though I thought they were fine in the first game, too).
The biggest stand-out feature of the game is the humour - there are some lines that really made me laugh out loud. One of those lines is in the second scene - completely unexpected and hilarious.
The story gets really engaging and interesting now, and the supporting characters are a lot more involved in the story.
There are great twists and turns, and it's very well-structured.
I highly recommend this game and am looking forward to the next parts!

Review from Steam

SHORT REVIEW:
- Score: 80/100
- Great Story, loved the setting and the characters.
- Centered around investigations and murder mysteries (instead of purely puzzles)
- Duration: about 3-4 hours for the first two chapters (using walkthrough) and 4 hours for the third chapter.
- I highly recommend playing chapter 1 and 2 using a walkthrough. Item combinations are sometimes hard to guess.
- Important Tip for Chapter 1 and 2: to use stuff from the inventory on the scene, you have to drag it to the lower left corner in order to get back to the screen (the inventory will close itself). At that point, the item can be dropped on the scene target to complete the action. This wasn't obvious to me and got stuck. I learned it thanks to a walkthrough.
- Chapter 3 is the best and most mature part of the game. Has the best game design and mechanics. Can be played without a walkthrough. Very enjoyable.
- I still recommend playing first two chapters first! However, it is possible to skip those and watch a story summary provided in the Chapter 3 game menu.
LONG REVIEW:
The Great Escape is the third chapter in this story. At the time of this writing, chapter 4 has not yet been released, but seems to be in the works as there is a reference to a fourth chapter in the story itself.
I've played the first three chapters consecutively so I'm going to review them all in one shot to give a better idea of the whole. Note: Chapter 1 and 2 are sold in a single package called "AR-K".
Summary:
The story is set in the AR-K, a giant autonomous space station on which a utopic society lives.
In Chapter 1, we meet journalism student Alicia and her dog Ambar and follow her in an investigation surrounding odd deliveries around the university campus. We learn that she originally intended to become a cop like her father, but had to resign due to unfair charges regarding a mysterious ball. It is during this investigation that she will cross path again with people that have a serious interest in possessing that ball. The chapter ends when the investigation article is submitted to the teacher.
In Chapter 2, we learn that the teacher has published the article under his own name. Although this is clearly unethical from the teacher's part, this comes as an advantage since he becomes the victim of uncomfortable attention from those seeking the ball. Alicia will use this opportunity to continue her investigation and track down who's behind this. During this investigation, she will uncover the existence of a society unknown to her called District 8 and she will eventually fall prey to a trap.
In Chapter 3, "the great escape", we uncover the harsh reality of District 8: it is a hidden part of the station where people live essentially as slaves so that the rest of the AR-K can live in utopia. As Alicia is forced into labor herself, she meets people that have been trapped there for a very long time. She will help them in order to gain their trust and will eventually escape District 8 with the intention of revealing its existence to the public living on the rest of the AR-K.
Chapter 4 has yet to be published, but I would expect a climax ending where Alicia finally reveals the truth to the world despite mass media manipulation by key members of the ruling class.
Game review
The story itself is great! I think the summary I wrote above pretty much shows how it is neatly broken down and is building up some momentum. This is, for me, the most important part of a game.
I think what I liked the most about the game storytelling mechanics was the cutscenes. The game stands apart from many point-and-click titles that i've played by using cutscenes whenever something important happens rather than relying solely on textual dialogue. We get a much better feeling of our characters that way.
Across the chapters, I also found that the game has evolved in terms of user friendliness. For example, in Chapter 2, a fast travel terminal system was added as well as a narrator designed to help the player by providing some clues. In Chapter 3, the inventory system has been reworked, dialogues can be skipped, a fast-travel map system has been added and the narrator has been replaced with a PDA. I think those were great improvements that were much needed. Chapter 3 has the best game design in my opinion.
Also in terms of design, I don't think I could have done Chapter 1 & 2 without using a walkthrough. I highly recommend playing those with a walkthrough. Chapter 3 was a lot easier to follow in my opinion. I still used a walkthrough but I didn't read it as much. I had fun walking on my own and trying the puzzles without peeking at the solution. My favourite part was the murder mystery we need to solve in order to get the trust of a District 8 policeman.
All in all, I think this was a great game and recommend it to everyone :)

Review from Steam

This is one of my favorite games of all time. I just love the characters and their humor. The music is beautiful, I think i've spent more than two hours at Grigor's house just listening to the music. I got to say that I'm really in to the story and I love every aspect of it. I just can't wait for episode 4.

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