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From the Database of Home of the Underdogs




Copyright 2005, Jason Devlin

Well-deserved winner of the 2005 Interactive Fiction Competition, Vespers is a superbly written and executed dark tale of murder and mystery that feels like a game version of Umberto Eco’s In the Name of the Rose. There are at least three endings in the game, and discovering them all is one of the best things about this game. More details from Dan Shiovitz’s concise review: “Whether you like this game or not, you have to admire Devlin’s willingness to go all the way in writing it. He doesn’t rely on hints or suggestions or innuendo this is a game about corruption and rot and spiritual and physical decay, and if that requires sticking a filth-encrusted chamberpot in the heart of the church, then he’s going to put it there. This carries triumphantly on to the ending: just when you think he’s done, he’s not done by a long shot, and whatever ending you end up with is going to throw a new light on your earlier actions.

All that said, Vespers isn’t flawless. The gameplay, in particular, could use some work. The beginning is pretty unguided, and you can wander around for some time before the story begins in earnest. Later on things improve, but it’s still often not clear what to do. You can usually get a pointer by talking to Cecilia, but this feels more like a patch than a real solution, only one step up from consulting the hints. I am in no position to make this complaint since I was one of the beta-testers, but I’m afraid the game does feel like it could have used another pass or two from beta-testers. But yeah, overall Vespers is pretty excellent, weird and stylistically fearless.” A must-play for every IF fan.

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