Sam & Max Save the World (Xbox 360) Reviews

  • APB PlaysAPB Plays459,323
    15 Sep 2009
    15 3 0
    Sam & Max Save the World is Telltale Games' first episodic series and a revival of the Sam & Max franchise in classic point-and-click style.

    Sam & Max is a point-and-click adventure, which for those unfamiliar with the genre basically means that you point your cursor at objects and interact with them. The interface is very simple - you click on an object, and sometimes you are able to add that item to your inventory to use it later on. You can also interact with people, and you get to choose your dialogue from a list of options. By using items in your inventory and by selecting the proper dialogue options, you can solve puzzles that stand in your way and advance the story line.

    Anyone who played any of the classic Lucasarts point-and-click adventures of the 90's will find that the genre's gameplay really hasn't changed at all.

    Sam (a dog) and Max (a rabbity thing) are freelance detectives that solve cases given to them by the Commissioner. Instead of solving actual crimes, Sam & Max always seem to get caught up in wild and bizarre adventures that can only be solved with creative and equally bizarre solutions.

    As the game is episodic, there's actually six different stories that all tie in with one another at the end. Without giving too much of the plot away, Sam & Max must uncover a deep reaching conspiracy to hypnotize the citizens of the US using everything from evil teddy bears to workout videos and the internet.

    Normally my reviews just focus on a game's story, but humor is such a huge part of the Sam and Max franchise that we have to look at it as well. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed with the quality and creativity of both the story and humor. It's inevitable to compare this new episodic release with the original game, Sam & Max Hit the Road - a cult classic, but even judging this on it's own, it falls somewhat flat. The story elements between the episodes feel forced and disjointed, and although the humor does deliver at times, especially in dialogue between Sam and Max, much of the other dialogue between characters fails to amuse or even ventures into the dreaded "annoying" category at times. The telling thing for me was that I actually considered skipping through some of the dialogue at times, which isn't a good thing when your game depends on dialogue for most of the humor.

    Sam & Max Save the World is a 3D adventure, and this is a good move for the franchise, but the graphics truly are lacking. The character and object models look amateurish for the most part, and they’re also lacking realistic looking textures. I understand the need to keep the world looking cartoony, and I also understand that this was initially a PC/WiiWare release, but for an XBLA title, the graphics are not up to par.

    The voice acting for Sam and Max themselves is excellent, but unfortunately this is not the case for all the other characters in the world that you’re forced to interact with. I’ll also note that although it’s not a big problem, I encountered a bug on numerous occasions that results in the last few syllables of a line of dialogue being cut off.

    Sam & Max costs $20, which is a fair amount for an XBLA title, but is it worth it? You get six episodes, which in my experience each took around 3 to 4 hours to beat, so you’re looking at probably over 20 hours of gameplay if you take your time to enjoy the world. It doesn’t have a lot of replay value if you take your time exploring on your first play through, but all in all, I think Sam & Max is fairly priced.

    Very straightforward achievements, the vast majority for beating the episodes and performing auxiliary actions through the episodes. Let’s be honest though, if you’re playing this game for the achievements, you’re approaching Sam & Max with the wrong attitude.

    Final Thoughts:
    Sam & Max is a valiant effort at trying to revive a classic franchise and a dead genre. But does it succeed? Unfortunately, the game falls just short in a few categories, including graphics and the key humor component, and it’s my opinion that although Sam & Max Save the World will entertain old fans of the series, it probably won’t convert any new players to the genre.
  • Kaiser679Kaiser679190,263
    14 Sep 2012
    7 8 4
    Even at the best of times, Sam & Max is "just a point and click game" which, at least for me, often spells boredom rather quickly. Then when you add in that the solutions to some of the puzzles are so obscure (and not even hinted at) that I spent 20 minutes walking the same room trying to figure out something bizarre like ***SPOILER ALERT*** that clicking on a 'One Way' traffic sign hanging on the wall would actually flip the entire office upside down (how do they expect that anybody would know this, short of clicking on EVERYTHING in the room?) it often got frustrating being stuck in the same boring spot for inordinent ammounts of time with little to no payoff.

    To make matters worse, there are plenty of times when, simply meaning to click to one side of the screen to get your character to walk into the next frame, you accidentally select an object you didn't mean to and find yourself listening to the same line of dialogue you've already heard 17 times (but more on that later). Essencially, the interface for walking around SUCKS, and won't allow you to vary your speed at all, which means moving any real distance takes quite a while.

    And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, we have the driving missions. You drive in a straight line at all times... and so do the people you're chasing. Apparently, no car in this entire world ever turns a corner (and yours doesn't even have brakes) your only real control here is to move from side to side between the two lanes, speak through a megaphone and shoot your gun straight forward to knock out tail lights, etc. Quite the snooze-fest.

    I grew up with the Sam & Max series on TV and loved it. I had been eagerly awaiting playing this game... and honestly, even on a half price sale I felt ripped off. The story is horribly repetative (the first episode requires you to do the same method of breaking hypnosis over and over and over again, and has a "boss fight" that's won via dialogue choices that make no sense, so you pretty much have to either look up a guide or just keep trying every order of selections until you get it right.) This game often times expects you to just "try everything" rather than having any sort of logical solution to anything, which just shows how poor the writing is, and the humor.... well, coming from a true Sam & Max fan: It's just not funny.

    There is really nothing outrageously good to report here. The graphics seem very much like they were meant for the last gen, but aren't offensively bad, and the sound? Well... underwhelming would be the best word.

    The voice acting? Sam & Max sound pretty much how they're supposed to sound, if a little dry. The rest of the characters are pretty bad.... and it seems every character in this entire world has 5 or less lines that they repeat ad nauseam. It didn't take very long to have me wanting to start playing it on mute just to avoid the same poorly read line being thrown at me a 25th time.

    Honestly, I bought this game at half price (800mp) and I still wish I hadn't. It didn't even take me all the way through the first episode to be wishing I could get my points back. This is saying a lot because I love Sam & Max, and am probably one of the very few out there who likes Telltale Games' style in general (Jurassic Park: The Game, Walking Dead, etc.). This was their first game of this style however, and it just goes to show you that they had a lot of room to grow.

    It's all pretty straight forward: Just by playing through you're guarenteed to get over half of them, and the others should come pretty easily just by screwing around (which you're bound to end up doing just to figure out what the game expects of you at several stages). The problem, for me, is that while I can often stomach a boring or poorly made game by seeing the little achievement popper coming up and reminding me I'm working toward something, these ones are so spaced out (especially in the first episode that only has one achievement right at the end) that it doesn't give me that satisfying sense of a silver lining.

    Final Thoughts:
    No. Just no. I wouldn't recommend this game for anybody really. People who don't know Sam & Max will just see a frustrating point and click game with illogical puzzles and long drawn out boring dialogue, and those who do (like me) will probably feel that they're watching their fond memories disgraced and disrespected. I'm a big fan of Telltale Games, but they say everybody makes a dud eventually... and it appears they wasted no time, getting it done or their first attempt.