Publishers: Daedalic Entertainment
Developers: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Chaos on Deponia Review
Rufus and Co are back in town! If you still haven’t had enough of Deponian antics, here are the good news: Chaos on Deponia strikes with the force of a great typhoon! The sequel of the highly and widely appreciated Deponia has its English première today. And you know what? Never before rummaging through heaps of junk was so much fun.
Chaos on Deponia is the second installment in the trilogy, which places the game in a difficult position. It has to follow the plot of the first part, develop and elaborate on the story and the characters, pave the way to the grand finale, while all the time being interesting to the player. Fortunately, the newest Daedalic Entertainment production won’t disappoint us in those matters. Or most of them, at least.
In theory, you can play Chaos on Deponia without knowing the origins of the whole intrigue, but I really and sincerely don’t recommend that. You will be hopelessly lost among plethora of unfamiliar personages and in a plot that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense without previously acquired knowledge. Do yourself a favour then and play Deponia first before plunging into Chaos. The next paragraph will contain some spoilers, so if you’re allergic to them, just skip that part altogether and move on.
Chaos on Deponia picks up where the previous game have ended. Rufus, an obnoxious tinkerer with an IQ of an amoeba and an overblown ego, along with a beautiful and refined Goal have to stop the evil organisation called Organon from blowing up the junkyard of a planet, the titular Deponia. What’s more, they need to be wary of amoral and callous Cletus, Goal’s fiancé, who is coincidentally a spitting image of our raggedy Deponian. However, as it’s usually the case with Rufus, a horrible disaster happens and their transport to a utopian Elysium is brutally rendered out of order. The brave heroes take a dive into the ocean, which causes the girl’s brain implant to break down once again, splitting her personality into three independent parts: Baby-Goal, Spunky-Goal and Lady-Goal. So now Rufus’ goal (sic!) is not only to save the world, but also put his self-proclaimed girlfriend back into one piece, which would allow him to finally fulfil his big dream: going to Elysium.
The plot is solid and crazy enough to keep us going. How can you not enjoy platypus-hunting, meeting the sedentary Resistance movement or wreaking havoc wherever you set your foot? Rufus is bad luck incarnated, so brace yourself for constant catastrophes and mayhem. I was glad to see that the developers expanded on the issues that were only touched upon in the previous game, like for example Rufus’ father who abandoned him and fled to Elysium. Despite the overall light mood of the story, surprisingly it has some dramatic moments and more serious undertones. Sometimes you find yourself laughing at something, but after a moment comes the realisation – hey, it’s actually pretty tragic in fact (not to spoil much: robotic shop assistant and its creator). The ending is definitely more satisfying than in the previous game – it has some sort of closure, but at the same time leaves us hungry for more.
The main incentive to play Chaos on Deponia is not the plot though, but the humour. Tons of gags lurk from every corner. From inside jokes alluding to other Daedalic Entertainment productions to a whole range of memorable characters (the worshipper of Mc Thulu!), we find ourselves flooded by comedy. Too bad that the humour is often second-rate. Some jokes are overdone and rather unsavoury, evoking not a fit of laughter but rather quirking of the eyebrow in disbelief. And even though in my review of Deponia I praised Rufus for being an original anti-hero, in Chaos on Deponia he annoyed me at times. Since it’s the second game in the series, I would like to see some character development on his part, but alas, not a chance. If anything, Rufus is even more of an (involuntarily) sadistic and egocentric maniac than before. I won’t be surprised in the least if he ends up blowing the planet up on his own.
In terms of an interface nothing really changed. Right mouse button is responsible for examining stuff, whereas left button performs various actions, walking included. This time we can use the maps scattered around the Black Floating Market (the location where we will spend most part of the game) to fast travel between the districts. Still, there’s a lot of walking in store and too bad that Rufus didn’t acquire the skill of running. Good thing, though, that double click on the exit from the location, transports us instantly to the other. That saves some time. At the beginning of the game we can decide whether to access the inventory by scrolling the mouse wheel or more traditionally by clicking the button on the screen. The first possibility is recommended, but to each his own. In case of any trouble with finding the hotspots, the space bar is there to help and highlight them. All the game mechanisms are once again explained in a funny tutorial that shatters the fourth wall to pieces.
Just like in the previous game, most puzzles we encounter are inventory-based. On our way to save the world we will gather tons of garbage that can be creatively used to overcome many problems that would surface in the course of action. The conundrums are well-thought and have internal, though slightly absurd, logic. The conversations we held with NPCs are filled to the brim with hints of what we should do, so it’s hard to get stuck for a long time. The game isn’t as linear as most productions in the genre and we have a lot of freedom with the order in which we’d like to proceed. That’s obviously a great thing. What is also interesting, is that on many occasion we are reminded that Chaos on Deponia is just a work of fiction, a game and nothing more. One of the puzzles, for instance, requires… fiddling with the sound options in the menu! A bold move from the developers, but quite refreshing indeed.
Apart from that, Chaos on Deponia is also abundant in minigames. They are unique and fun to play, like for example a professional tournament of rock-paper-scissors or Platypus-Bataka, which resembles a fighting game. However, if you have any problems, nothing stands in the way of just skipping them when your frustration reaches a dangerously high level. Still, it would be a shame, since they constitute a big part of the gameplay.
Daedalic Entertainment has accustomed us to the beautifully drawn graphics and Chaos on Deponia is not an exception from the rule. It’s a great pleasure to just stand for a while and take in all the details the creators put in their work. Animation is also great, cut-scenes included. They are prettier and more dynamic than ever. The soundtrack once again is amazing. We could have heard some of the melodies before, but the new compositions fit the mood perfectly. I was really happy that the bum from the previous game, who sings an uplifting song between chapters, is back. The voice-acting is superb as well and it’s good to hear all the characters speaking with the same voices as before.
Chaos on Deponia is definitely a game you must play if you’re familiar with the previous entry. And if you’re not, you need to acquaint yourself with the bunch of Deponian oddballs at once. The game is long, easily taking ten hours to beat, fun, crazy and challenging, but without frustration overshadowing the enjoyment. Daedalic Entertainment did it again – Chaos on Deponia is another wonderful adventure game to your collection. I can’t wait to see how the whole trilogy will end.
+ Still an interesting story with memorable characters
+ Stunning graphics with improved cut-scenes
+ Great soundtrack
+ A lot of creative puzzles and minigames
+ Humour… for the most part
– Sometimes humour misfires
– Rufus still can’t run…
– …and he’s still an incorrigible jerk