Review: Supreme League of Patriots (PC)
Do you want to be a superhero? How about a superhero in a point and click adventure game? Prepare to step into the shoes of a bumbling janitor. No, not that janitor.
Meet Kyle. Kyle is a slovenly, useless bulk of a man who is the janitor at the local office of the NYPD. His housemate, a witty technophile named Melvin, runs the tech systems there, but both have taken the day off for Kyle to enter Superheroes Got Talent! The competition’s test seem impossible and Kyle will have to cheat his way through the competition if he wants to win. For the most part it is slapstick, but some of the puzzles are rather clever, often taking a left-field approach.
Then you meet the Purple Patriot and the supporting legs start to wobble. The Patriot is a racist, misogynist and homophobic mountain of issues, which Melvin, sometimes, apologises for, but uses the later attempts to rather attack Republicans at every turn. Purple loses his charm as he slowly steals, bribes and entraps his way through the puzzles, making it feel less like a satirical commentary because you lose all sympathy for the character. You start to realise that all the characters are stereotypical, shallow representations of various racial groups and sexualities, placed there for the sole purpose of using them as the butt of the next joke.
By the umpteenth time that the Patriot or Kyle take a swing at their respective pet topics it becomes grating rather than funny, offensive rather than caustic. The game tries to emulate South Park’s humour, especially for issues 2 and 3 (The game is split into seasons, with issues episodes lasting just shy of three hours.The first season is $15 or $6 per issue.), and falls flat. The writing is often off the mark, something brought into full focus thanks to sub par voice acting. It is sad because the self-referential meta-humour at the beginning of the game sets a great tone that drops off and gets replaced.
Even some of the clever puzzles are awkwardly handled thanks to frustrating mechanics. In later issues even if you think you know the answer to the problem, you often need to get your characters to know what the answer to that problem is, rather than them just following your commands. You know that widget fits on that thingamajig, but unless your character knows why he would want to do that, he will just ignore your commands until you activate the correct dialogue branch, which often involves a fair amount of repetition.
I have never taken so long to wade through eight hours of a game and the fact that I switched to headphones halfway through and looked for any excuse to take a break indicated, to me at least, the discomfort I felt. What started with several laughs at Melvin’s wit slowly stopped treading the line of caustic, pithy commentary and ended up reading like something you would read on the more anonymous side of the internet.