Chronique des Silencieux is a point-and-click investigative adventure where you play as young Eugene Faury. With an ex-Bordeaux police detective as a mentor, he sets off to solve interesting mysteries around people and their secrets.
Eugene’s ability to get people to open up helps you uncover the stories of a wide variety of interesting people. You collect information, create connections, look for inconsistencies and form hypotheses that help you move your investigation ahead. It is all about paying attention and looking for leads.
At the end of your investigations, you get to have your classic investigator, Hercule Poirot-style confrontation, where in the presence of all the key players, you get the confessions you need and solve the case.
Disclaimer: I couldn’t finish this game as I hit a bug in the investigation system that eventually stalled my progress at the end of the second act. The following review is based on my experience before this. The Pierre Feuille team, however, has been actively working to iron out any glitches before launch. At the time of the posting of this review, this bug seems to be resolved.
A Powerful Tale
Chronique des Silencieux’s gameplay is simple, giving its true strength- its narrative- the space to breathe and unfold.
Eugene’s foray into the world of private detectives starts in the 60s when he runs away from home and visits his uncle in Bordeaux. There he stumbles into a community of survivors of the French Resistance from World War II. Through his investigations, Eugene, someone born after the war, chronicles their experiences and solves mysteries born from it.
This is a world that is still living the trauma of war while trying to hold onto the ‘glory’ of life before it. Through it all, these jaded fighters try to keep each other’s secrets, to respect each other’s choices and fears. It makes every investigation a joy as you fight for information and unfold snippets of historical information within the fictional tale.
With all of these layers, each story and secret we unlock reflects the potential lives of real resistance fighters. It’s a truly enjoyable process filled with powerful stories and even lessons.
The story is made that much more compelling through gorgeous hand-drawn 2d art. Every corner of Chronique des Silencieux is beautifully rendered with an art style that is reminiscent of old-school French cartoons and comics. From unique character walk cycles to the backgrounds, this game is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Where It Begins To Fall Apart
It’s sad that this game is so beautiful and yet I am not a fan of the gameplay. Chronique des Silencieux has a lot of detail, which is great on the surface as the convoluted tales are more likely to have inconsistencies. But the game requires you to sift through every single dialogue of your ‘interviews’ to find specific connections. This is a daunting task, since you have to click through large conversations and transcripts. While realistic, it just isn’t fun in a game.
It also becomes tiresome because Eugene will only record certain conversations, but some of my hypotheses were a-ha moments from random lines in the game. Or more importantly, they were in the differences between what the characters said. But the game only lets you create connections between interviews and documents you collect.
An Unneeded Mechanic In A Problematic System
Often, multiple characters will say something similar. The next thing you know, you’ve deduced something based on what character A said but can’t validate it because the game is looking for the other, similar sentence said by character B.
This isn’t a problem in the regular portions of the game where you can still make a hypothesis without a connection. This makes the connection system redundant since you can just skip ahead and make a hypothesis. Except in a confrontation.
In a confrontation, you have to make connections to move forward. Additionally, you can only make limited connections, leaving no room for errors. This gets frustrating even though there is no real fail condition, as Eugene’s mentor, Yves will swoop in to keep the conversation moving forward. It, and using hints, only affects your ‘investigation report card score’ and a different expression on Yves’ face.
If your goal, like mine, becomes completing the story, there is no reason to try and get the connections correct. I got to that point, thanks in part to the bug in my game, which made the game freeze when I made connections.
The Other Failures
This apathy towards the gameplay system began with the tutorial, mostly because it triggered at the wrong points. You are told how to make a connection at a point in the story where there isn’t an inconsistency to point out yet. It took me a lot of experimentation to figure out what it was supposed to look like. There is also a lot of missing guidance. You aren’t ever told what a ‘confrontation’ will look like or how the leads/evidence screens will change, which led to a lot of mistakes in my first confrontation.
You aren’t told how Eugene keeps track of his leads. I was really confused when I saw one struck out, wondering when I solved that case, not realizing that the strike-out meant that there were no more leads to follow with that line of questioning. This, with some convoluted storytelling, made it hard to know what to do next.
To solve the case, you have to make a hypothesis by picking two topics and connecting them with a verb. If you are correct, you literally unlock new information or access to something. At no point does the game tell you that you will find new verbs through conversations. This led me down a spiral of confusion when I figured out something but had no way to enter that hypothesis.
This leads me to my least favorite part of the game: walking around the world to reach the different characters. It feels like an attempt to showcase the art since you can’t interact with most things and often have to navigate through multiple screens to reach the character you want.
Additionally, moving the map to click on a destination point and using the WASD keys is very clunky, with the former occasionally causing the characters to glitch and disappear. It is a level of tedium that completely takes away from what are otherwise beautiful stories.
In The End
Chronique des Silencieux has so much potential and so much beauty, all of which is impacted by sub-par execution. It’s upsetting because this storytelling is worth it.
If you can drum up the patience to stick through the gameplay hiccups and the frankly annoying navigation, it might be worth a try. And patience is exactly what I have struggled with, making this a unique experience where I wanted more while wanting to rage quit.
|Mysteries that revolve around people and secrets
|Poor tutorial that makes it hard to understand the gameplay
|Amazing storytelling with compelling characters based around the WWII French Resistance
|Incomplete guidance/tutorial for major parts of the gameplay
|Beautiful art style reminiscent of traditional French 2D animation.
|Glitchy investigative system that doesn’t account for all possible connections
|Too many dialogues to keep track of
|The connections system isn’t even needed to progress for most of the story
|Some vague storytelling/clues
|Difficult to track progress
|A tedious navigation system that makes it annoying to move between scenes.
GamesHorizon received a review copy for Steam