Reviews - Updated on March 29, 2022

Ever since the release of Impostor Factory, I have been visiting the Stopgame YouTube channel every day hoping to see a review of Mr. Loev (no offense to Mr. Voloshin, but there is a strong feeling that it was Ivan Loev who should have been talking about my impressions of this game), because right now it is stronger of all, there is a need to somehow discuss, comprehend, understand what it was all the same, to hear the third-party opinion of a person who loves this series and was waiting for the continuation of the story. I myself have been waiting all these years since the announcement. And, looking ahead, I was more disappointed than I expected.

To the Moon was and remains the pinnacle of the entire series. “Neil, didn’t you see his room? ..” and the sentence that followed this is an unattainable pearl of that game. This is the moment when the author, not knowing you, not seeing you, nevertheless completely foresaw all your steps, all your thoughts, put you on a hook and pulled this hook. You _should_ have noticed, but you really didn’t.

And then you go through this game again and you will see that River did not just make a rabbit – she made a _yellow-blue_ rabbit, and you will get a lump in your throat again. And then River will ask Johnny if he can throw the footbag to the lighthouse, and he will _make an attempt_. All these Chekhov guns shoot without a miss, and they shoot very painfully.

Finding Paradise was a little weaker in terms of twist, but still on top in terms of story, its presentation (now we also move through the memories, but in a different way), gameplay, morality. There were also a couple of mini-episodes that were quite interesting, as they gave disturbing hints that the plot is more global than just a series of touching stories of dying people. And in the main series there were indications that one of the protagonists was not all right with his health, but in the episodes we were teased with very strange things (What kind of project is Nil hiding? What kind of mirage did Eve see? memories?). Many expected that the third part would become something more, the story of not only another patient, but also doctors.

As Mr. Meshcheryakov very aptly put it, in the end we got a filler from the category of A Bird Story.

There are many points for which the third part needs to be praised:

+ More intriguing and rapid start compared to other parts of the series;

+ Despite the fact that this is an RPGMaker, it is clear that Ken Gao worked on the interiors – they have become more luxurious in many details (frankly, only a rectangular carpet caused a misunderstanding, the corners of which by some miracle ended up under a monumental marble staircase);

+ Musical accompaniment is still great;

+ Beautiful, touching episode with a telescope, which was shot by another Chekhov gun, cocked back in To the Moon!

+ Humorous episodes are still as funny as in the previous parts;

+ A magnificent find by Russian translators about the “cat-…”, which amuses much more than its English-language counterpart.

But, unfortunately, there were much more things that confused:

– The game is much, much shorter than its predecessors;

– The previous point is largely due to the fact that now the narrative has become much more “standard”: during the entire second act (and it is the longest) we are actually told the story from beginning to end, and this greatly saddened. Yes, it is clear that now we are not playing for doctors, and the format of the narrative in connection with this could not but change, but still, putting the story together piece by piece on its own would be incommensurably more interesting than just following it;

– In some interludes between the main stages of the story, we are simply shown “frames” – static images of the memories of the heroes, and this move looks surprisingly cheap;

— As Gleb Meshcheryakov rightly noted again, interactivity has practically disappeared. During the first act, you can, like me, run to the clock every time you “restart the time machine” to try to extract some grains of information from their testimony, but, spoiler, this does not make any sense. Descriptions of items have become much smaller, and you will not have the opportunity, as in the first part, having examined a jar of pickled olives for the millionth time, to find out that now it is suddenly a jar of pickled CUCUMBERS, which will pretty shock the characters. We will miss such pleasant moments; thanks that at least risobot brightens up this point a little;

– Statements from the Steam page that you can play this part without getting to know others, to put it mildly, are not true – at least towards the end you will not understand who all these people are, where they came from and why you even have it’s up to them, and as a maximum – catch a critical spoiler for Finding Paradise;

Attention, now the points related to history will go, and they will be more serious:

– Shortly after the beginning of the second episode, I suddenly caught myself on an unpleasant thought. Damn it, terminally ill children are incredibly sad, who will argue with that? But there are, generally speaking, many such obviously sad things – wars, disability, separation forever, the impossibility of fulfilling a dream. The question is, did the author really need to bring in something so obviously sad to get me into the story? Is such a move justified? Could it have been done somehow more gracefully, without giving such a serious head start? To exaggerate, this particular character could still be blind, legless and an orphan – perhaps then they would empathize with him even more;

– The final of the third act caused rejection for another reason. This whole story, which was shown after revealing the main twist of the game, was _too_ good. If Impostor Factory is indeed the finale of the series, as many have assumed, then this finale (in terms of the global plot) came out incredibly fleeting and cloying. Fathers, did someone get married, and did they live happily ever after? Of course, at the very, very end of the series, everything, of course, should have turned out that way, only this very end should not have come _so quickly_. We already know that these characters are much deeper and more complex, and that not all of their problems are solved, so they must have more adventures ahead of them, and they must deserve a happy ending to the long journey. Luckily, the post-credits scene and the game’s title itself boldly hint that the saccharine ending is not to be rushed to believe;

– A micro-remark against the background of the previous ones, but still: after going through the whole story, it becomes incomprehensible why one of the characters in the first act behaves in this way; this seems to be contrary to the goals of this character and the information he had at that time. I would not like to admit that this was done only for the sake of intrigue for the sake of intrigue itself.

The first time I went through Impostor Factory right after release in one night, it felt like the game was over before it even started. It was still an incredibly touching story, an experience unlike any other – everything for which we appreciate and love the creations of Ken Gao. But as part of a trilogy, as part of a big story of two employees of the Sigmund corporation, Impostor Factory, alas, is the weakest game of the three. The disappointment in it is felt even more painfully by how much I expected it and how high the bar was raised by previous games.

It remains to be hoped that after another five years we will still see a truly worthy continuation of the series. “Oh, it’s worth living at least to touch the Impostor Factory,” I thought until relatively recently. “Eh, it’s worth living at least in order to wait for the next part” – I will think now.

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