The Last Case of Benedict Fox: the proof of Lovecraftian horror-hued metroidvania

The Last Case of Benedict Fox: the proof of Lovecraftian horror-hued metroidvania

The Last Case of Benedict Fox

Yet another surprise of the Xbox Bethesda conference in June, The Last Case of Benedict Fox never really lost track in the summer months, given the precise and timed distribution of extracts from the gameplay that allowed us to get to this Gamescom 2022 with the clearer ideas on what to expect from the game. Nonetheless, once we picked up the Xbox pad, we quickly realized that Plot Twist's debut work is particularly intense and difficult, probably more than what the title suggested in its original reveal.

Let's go in order: the tried-and-true of The Last Case of Benedict Fox highlights, first of all, an action adventure with an interesting narrative footprint and a highly developed combat component. Initially it could be mistaken for an heir to Limbo or other more guided and linear adventures where perhaps you have to limit yourself to solving environmental puzzles while escaping from an immortal enemy. In reality here we are faced with a metroidvania in all respects, albeit enriched with mixtures from other genres.

There is the classic "zone" exploratory element where our freedom of movement is slowed down or completely blocked by the need to acquire skills or specific keys to open doors and gates, but there is also a narrative layer which sees Benedict Fox, the protagonist, having to extricate himself through 2 different worlds, one superimposed on the other, to try to solve the last case: to find who killed his father inside the huge family manor. During the game we will therefore find ourselves constantly passing from the "real" scenario built around a style strongly inspired by the 20s, including splendid jazz tracks that act as a sound accompaniment, to a dark, organic world, called limbo, where all the Lovecraftian horror component explodes giving life to a distressing and paranormal imaginary.

Continuing the exploration we will be able to cross portals that will allow us to deepen the memories of Benedict, his father and some figures connected to the family and that gradually they will become clearer in their identity and in the link with the death of the head of the family. Starting from the demonic entity that dwells in Fox's soul and which, in addition to giving him paranormal abilities, will tend to underline with constant dialogues and observations, what the protagonist discovered and encountered.

The action of a metroidvania

The atmosphere of The Last Case of Benedict Fox The action component, from what little we have been able to try, seems to revolve around three possibilities: the close attack with the protagonist's small dagger , the possibility of firing with the revolver tucked into the belt and which provides a long cooldown to prevent any form of spam from a distance and a very short backward dodge and which requires a lot of practice to be managed properly in terms of timing and space traveled.

In our test we managed to meet some simple enemies capable only of defending themselves from close combat, some opponents able to attack us even from a distance and a couple of further hostiles who tended to cover each other, one more agile, the other more armored, which can also be seen in one of the gameplay trailers released in recent weeks. At the end of the demo there was a lantern fish-style boss, also already shown, but we could not face it since the demo was interrupted just before the meeting.

The Last Case of Benedict Fox is a 2D metroidvania Unfortunately we were unable to go into the details of the progression system of the title, but chatting with the developer and taking a look at a couple of menus in the game it was quite easy for us to understand how The Last Case of Benedict Fox will try to keep player progression at bay over the course of his story arc. On the one hand, in fact, there is obviously the paraphernalia that over time will be enriched with cures, lock picks, smoke bombs and who knows what else, on the other hand there is a tattoo system that will help Fox acquire new skills. permanent, such as the possibility of having a magnet effect near ledges and walls, or to break the floors to go down to the lower floors of limbo.

From what we have been able to see, the exploratory part will have great prominence, also as a function of the disclosure of the narrative component, while we have not encountered environmental puzzles or roughness of the terrain capable of killing us in conjunction with a badly successful jump or for obstacles positioned with the usual dose of malice typical of metroidvania, but it is possible that in the course of the game these elements become predominant.

An inspired artistic component

The cover image of The Last Case of Benedict Fox Absolutely excellent the artistic sector that clearly takes precedence over the technical one, able to get noticed "only" for the extreme fluidity and for an excellent management of lights and camera movements which, while remaining always anchored to the side view, of "profile", it is able to react very quickly to jumps, displacements and to the passage through doors and obstacles of various kinds seen that The Last Case of Benedict Fox does not present the classic "scene" structure of metroidvania but is based on a free movement through the whole scenario, in the Ori style. Obviously with the exception of the passage from limbo to the manor and on the occasion of the fast travel that is present.

Returning to the stylistic choices, we particularly appreciated the Lovecraftian cut that blends well with the color palette chosen to color the limbo, but which maintains its stylistic coherence even in the exploratory parts inside the family villa. We are absolutely curious to see how the guys at Plot Twist will be able to keep the variety of scenarios and enemies high as our journey into the depths of the memories of Fox's father continues and, if you trust our words, you will. we recommend that you note this title somewhere because we are convinced that closer to its release, currently scheduled for the spring of 2023 on PC and Xbox Series X | S (obviously at launch on the Game Pass), we will hear about it in abundance with the chance that it turns out to be an excellent surprise.

Although the proven demo only allowed us to play for a few minutes, we were happily impressed by the fluidity, consistency and great ideas of The Last Case of Benedict Fox , a metroidvania enriched with an interesting narrative component and a setting inspired by the horror of Lovecraft in the middle of the 20's. also pleasantly difficult to master, while the exploration showed us several very characteristic scenarios. We have only a few doubts aside about the enemies and their variety, especially in the sphere of the bosses, and we are clearly curious to find out where the narrative will end.


An atypical metroidvania enriched with several interesting ideas The combat system seemed complex and profound to us The exploration is fluid and stimulating DOUBTS The variety of the enemies and the powers of the protagonist remains to be completely verified It is not clear whether the environment will also propose a certain challenge rate Have you noticed any errors?

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