HomeReviews4.5/5 ReviewAgatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express Review 

Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express Review 

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The previous two games inspired by the works of Agatha Christie – The First Cases and The London Case – were underwhelming and failed to live up to the standards one would expect from anything involving Hercule Poirot. Nevertheless, I am about to board a famous train for Poirot’s next mysterious escapade in Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express. With a different developer at the helm this time, Microids Studio Lyon, perhaps a fresh approach will do the great detective a world of good. 

Should you go full steam ahead and pick up Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express as soon as possible, or is it yet another blot on Monsieur Poirot’s legacy that you’re better steering clear of?

agatha christie murder on the orient express review 1
There’s only one person for the job when there’s a murder…

The Murder on the Orient Express game is a modern retelling of the classic novel of the same name, which was first released in 1934. The year in this is 2023 and the legendary Hercule Poirot receives an urgent call to return to London at the nearest opportunity. Fortunately, his good friend Monsieur Bouc managed to pull a few strings to stay on the luxurious Orient Express for the long journey ahead. What Poirot doesn’t know is that there’ll be no time to relax as someone is murdered during the trip and the culprit is subsequently on the loose. Those little grey cells must be put to work.

The original 1930’s tale has been adapted on numerous occasions over the years; on TV, radio, in films and even parodied by Robot Chicken with Inspector Jesus H. Christ in charge of investigating. So, while many will know the main plot, I assure you it doesn’t detract from the quality of the case itself and Microids Studio Lyon have woven their own ideas in to flesh out the experience. It’s not done seamlessly, but as near as can be to explore another aspect of the goings on.

In order to facilitate the inclusion of additional storytelling material, the developers have also created a secondary, playable, protagonist – Joanna Locke. She’s a detective from Boston who possesses a level of intellect matching that of Poirot. That said, her personality is rather bland, which makes for a rather uninteresting character to share the lead role. Unfortunately, Hercule Poirot isn’t bereft of criticism either, for his appearance and mannerisms are different compared to the classic representation. It’s strange and certainly takes some getting used to.

As far as the gameplay is concerned, you’ll control either Hercule or Joanna (depending on the chapter) in third-person perspective. Everything you do is likely to further the investigation, with each aspect covered briefly, but excellently in a short, tutorial style case preceding the main crime. Essentially it entails interacting with various items of interest, engaging in conversations with people, and partaking in mini-games.

agatha christie murder on the orient express review 2
What could be going on in here then?

From the outset, Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express does a grand job of character building for the support cast, while also ensuring the crucial details pertaining to the case are lodged in your mind. It does so by regularly asking you questions, which basically check if you’ve paid attention to the dialogue and kept your eyes peeled during scenes. This could be regarding a person’s profession, whether they’re left or right handed, or even if their alibi rings true. There’s a fair bit of leeway thankfully, with multiple choice answers and no penalty for failure, but it really helps you feel like a detective when you choose correctly.

Searching for clues is another activity that holds your attention, as they aren’t always in the most obvious places. Sometimes finding something can open up further lines of questioning for the numerous suspects aboard the train too. Furthermore, a raft of golden moustaches are hidden throughout the adventure and, although a tad silly, these give even more of an incentive to thoroughly search every environment.

The puzzling mini-games are perhaps the best feature of Murder on the Orient Express, delivering a cavalcade of different problems to solve. Such mini-games involve organising a storage room so that every oddly shaped container fits, weighing oils on scales and using algebra to figure out which one is the necessary remedy, and disarming a bomb. These aren’t easy tasks, however there is a system in place to avoid anyone getting stuck. Completing them without assistance is incredibly satisfying though.

The visuals on show here are simply oozing with style and elegance, as one would expect aboard the luxurious Orient Express. Additionally, the characters are well designed too, with decent voice-acting accompanying the vast majority of them. On the contrary, the sections which take place elsewhere, in particular the flashbacks set in the States, are quite disappointing due to bland environments and an abundance of invisible walls.

agatha christie murder on the orient express review 3
It’s not just Poirot at the heart of this one.

Ultimately, Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express is the best Poirot game of recent times and really brings out your inner detective. The investigating of scenes and piecing together timelines is very engaging, while the frequent puzzles are great to test those little grey cells. Despite the narrative being well known, it’s been enhanced and altered enough to be worth taking in by those familiar with it as well as newcomers. The only downside is having two rather unlikable protagonists, making it difficult to become attached to either one.

Upon my thorough investigation though, I find Agatha Christie – Murder on the Orient Express to be a great detective game that’s worth picking up.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • A modern retelling of a classic
  • Excellent puzzles
  • Investigating like a proper detective
  • Difficult enough to provide a test
Cons:
  • The two protagonists
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Microids
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 19 October 2023 | £33.49
James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>A modern retelling of a classic</li> <li>Excellent puzzles</li> <li>Investigating like a proper detective</li> <li>Difficult enough to provide a test</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>The two protagonists</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Microids</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 19 October 2023 | £33.49</li> </ul>Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express Review 
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