Good sequels can unfortunately be hard to come by, and creating frightening adventure games that actually possess suspense can be equally difficult to make. The second installment in the Delaware St. John series, Delaware St. John: The Town with No Name, attempts to be a scary adventure game sequel, but unfortunately fails to overcome the difficult nature of the genre.
The game begins with Delaware and his colleague and friend, Kelly, in her bookstore. A book falls in front of Delaware, which he feels mysteriously drawn to. A ghostly map which only he can see appears. He decides to investigate the strange town on it, the Town with No Name, invisible on modern maps and to modern technology. Upon arriving, the entire town is dark, gloomy, and completely abandoned for an obviously long time. Delaware isn’t as alone as it seems, either – even though the town is devoid of human life, there’s a strange creature lurking in the shadows nearby.
Delaware St. John: The Town with No Name relies on the exact same point-and-click gameplay as the previous title. You’ll need to find your way around, discover the items you need, and all while trying to figure out what happened to the town. The game is divided up into two stories as well, each revolving around one specific area in the game. The two areas feel about as connected as if they were held together by a thread. It’s almost like playing two entirely different and very short games. The entire game is played through the first person perspective of Delaware. When in need, he can use a device known as the VIC to communicate with Kelly, who will drop hints and help Delaware on occasion. New to this title is a character named Simon, who in addition to Kelly, will also help Delaware, but that’s about the only thing new offered in this title.
The gameplay is unfortunately weak, being even less interesting and scary than the previous title. There are few puzzles, and the entire thing consists of pointing and clicking your way around with little variation. There are fewer items and challenges in this one as well. The suspense offered in the first title, with attacking spirits and the Hunter in hot pursuit of Delaware, are decidedly less. There really aren’t any threatening spirits in this title, and the couple times you do encounter the Hunter, it’s a lot less scary than it was in the first game. Unlike the first title, the entire game here is played in the dark. But instead of making it more suspenseful, you really grow used to it and it just becomes repetitive after a while.
One of the most annoying things about this game was that, just like the first title, almost all the doors are locked. Immediately upon entering the town, there are several establishments that look like promising places to explore, but you’ll only be playing in one. The second location appears seemingly out of nowhere after completing the first story, and the transition seems sudden and jagged. The second establishment, being practically made of doors, will quickly become a disappointment as you realize the seemingly endless maze-like halls filled with doors only allow you to explore a handful out of dozens.
A redeeming feature of the first game was the fact that Kelly was readily available to offer very helpful hints and directions to offset the non-linear and often confusing gameplay. But that’s not the case for the sequel. Kelly is actually extremely unhelpful, with clues that are often too vague, or solutions that come too late after you’ve already completed the puzzle. You’ll quickly find you’re better off just clicking around on your own.
There is a consistency between the first game and this title, however: both have equally long and unskippable credit sequences. With credits at both the beginning and end of the game, the beginning spoiling some of the more interesting and scary scenes, you might be better off grabbing a snack or using the restroom while the credits roll. Dialogue in the game is also completely unskippable, so if you click the same area twice, you will be subjected to the exact same content and length of dialogue.
The Town with No Name does try to add a new element by letting you choose what to say to ghosts you encounter, but the text you can choose from on the screen is so obnoxiously large and clumped together, and ultimately doesn’t get you anything additionally interesting, it’s pretty pointless and could be better left out.
So, if you were looking for that excellent scary adventure game, it’s a good idea to keep looking. While fans of the first game might want to play this title for the continuing storyline, that’s really the only reason to buy this game, otherwise it’s best you save your money for something else.