Quest of Infamy is a Point & Click adventure game by Infamous Quests and published by Phoenix Online Studios. It’s a mix of the adventure game genre with RPG, featuring classes and combat and different skills in the same way as the classic Hero’s Quest games.
- Strong plot.
- Good worldbuilding.
- Class system allows for different puzzle solving.
- Voice acting and voice sound quality can get very bad.
- Puppet-like lip-sync is painful to watch.
- Updates make savegames crash.
- Infamy score serves no real purpose.
The game stars William Roehm, by many standards a right bastard. He’s trying to make his way through and out of the Valley of Krasna, after having slept with the daughter of a Baron in a kingdom east of the valley. He’s trying to lay low, but with the valley’s only bridge out destroyed, he has no choice but to stay and mingle…and get drawn into a plot involving cults, politics and a prick of a Sheriff.
While character models are very low-res and quite pixelated, environments in Quest for Infamy are surprisingly highly detailed and very beautiful, from Volksville to the forest around it. When I saw the graphical style for the first time I feared there would be a lot of pixel hunting, but thankfully that’s not the case as the game keeps it to a minimum. Portraits during conversations are fantastic, only ruined by the awful puppet-like lip movement when the characters talk.
Sound is a mixed bag. The soundtrack is pretty good and the songs really help to sell the locations, but the voice acting is very uneven. Roehm’s portrayal is the best of the bunch but when almost every NPC talks, you’ll get varying quality, with some decent ones and some really bad ones like Kurtz, the Brigand leader NPC, whose actor delivers his lines so flatly you’d think he’s explaining what a chair is. The audio quality for each NPC is strangely different. Some sound crisp but others sound like they’d been recorded with a bad microphone. Thankfully the game offers you the chance of changing how it plays, and you can set it to be a pure text adventure or a purely voiced one.
I was surprised by the plot. While at first there doesn’t seem to be much of it and the game doesn’t give you much direction or exposition, it slowly starts building up and at some point you just realize the game has sprung a political story on you while at the same time having fantasy and horror elements to it. It’s split into three acts, with the first being the longest one and the last a quite short one. Characters, even random NPCs are surprisingly well fleshed out and some of them even have detailed backstories you can ask them about, even if those stories have no influence on the plot. It’s very good world-building.
Gameplay is simple yet deep. Hear me out, I know it sounds strange. At its heart, it’s classic point & click: there are different cursors (walk, sneak, run, look, interact, talk, attack, inventory item) and you cycle through them to perform different actions. On top of that is a class system. Unlike Hero’s Quest where you choose your class at the start, in Quest for Infamy your class choice is part of the story and depends on which NPCs you interact with during your first day and you can end up wither a Brigand, a Rogue or a Wizard. The best thing about QFI’s class system is depending on your class there are differences in how you solve the different puzzles. For example, later in the game, there’s a bush you have to cross and it’s so thick you can’t just move through it. For the Brigand it’s a matter of hacking his way through but the Rogue has to use an item to cross.
Speaking of puzzles, QFI has plenty to offer and while some are quite simple, there are many challenging ones and some that will have you scratching your head, because you don’t have the required item or you just haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to do. Then again, a couple of puzzles really made me hate adventure game logic, like the one to illuminate the swamp.
The RPG/Adventure mix means you’re not only going to get items through exploration and conversations but also shops, which aside from useful items also carry a lot of rubbish (I even got an achievement for buying useless knickknacks like my trusty diamond tipped crowbar). As a Rogue, you also have the option of stealing from shops, something I could never do during my Brigand run, and which again exemplifies the different playstyles QFI’s class system offers. The Sorcerer class has the easiest time collecting items, with a spell that brings all items in a room to your inventory.
Items in shops can get pretty expensive for your limited resources at the start, but once the valley is open to you to explore, you can make a quick penny and each of the classes’ ‘mentors’ have missions for you with some very nifty rewards.
One of the smartest things QFI does with its genre mix is that attacking isn’t just limited to initiating combat (which will start anyway if you stand still for too long in an area with an enemy), but also for ‘adventuring’. As a Brigand, I attacked the aforementioned bush but also broke down doors to get into places.
Combat can be a bit frustrating. Stats and skills level as you use them, and each rank needs more uses before you skill up, and your combat effectiveness, be it brawn or magic, works in the same way. Attacks with a sword need to be used over and over so their level goes up and you miss fewer attacks. Blocking also works in the same way and by the end of my Brigand run, it was my highest combat skill, especially since a successful block not only healed me but also helped recharge my Brigand combat skill, a power attack that deals boatloads of damage. Creatures you fight are susceptible to different types of attacks so simply spamming ‘Stab’ won’t get you through the game, same as just using the first combat spells will leave you with your pants down the first time you meet an undead.
If you’re not much into combat, as long as you move quickly enough through a screen with an enemy, you won’t have to fight. There are only a few required fights in the game and I only found the last boss battle to be really challenging (as it should be). You can also lower combat difficulty on the fly in the options.
Skills, such as climb and stealth, all level up the more you use them and you can spam most of them until you level up enough. For example, at some point in the city of Tyr I found a wall I wanted to climb but didn’t have the required climb level, but I kept clicking on it and kept getting climb skill ups until I had enough to successfully perform the action.
Lastly, there’s Infamy, which acts as a sort of player score. Throughout my playthrough I found ways of upping and lowering it, but never found a real purpose for it beyond a player score, and if that’s really the case, it’s a missed opportunity for deeper social mechanic.
The game’s biggest flaw however is not in design but a technical issue. Every time the game updates, you’ll find your save games don’t work anymore. I had to re-start my adventure at least twice because updates kept making my saves crash the game. It’s something I hope gets fixed soon as it can be extremely frustrating.
Quest for Infamy lives by its promise to deliver an old school Adventure/RPG mix, and in that it delivers on all fronts. While there are hiccups, they don’t take away from one of the most solid adventures out there.
The Mental Attic Score: Worth Buying. I found this game addictive and even when I was stuck I couldn’t stay away.