A quick glance at the Artifex Mundi back catalogue would lead you to believe their titles are only full of fantastical settings, evil demons, and magical creatures. While that may be true more often than not, a handful of their games are relatively ‘normal’ – like Noir Chronicles: City of Crime. Path of Sin: Greed is another offering of such ilk, aiming to deliver an enjoyable hidden object puzzle adventure centred on crime solving. We’re going to have to do a spot of detective work in order to find out if developers Cordelia Games have succeeded.
In Path of Sin: Greed, the narrative follows a suspected suicide case involving a security guard for the wealthy Bradford family, which has garnered the attention of a rookie inspector and their supervising officer. After arriving on the luxurious island where the death occurred, it soon becomes apparent that there’s more to the case than meets the eye. Early signs suggest this is no suicide at all; as the famous TV detective Taggart would say, there’s been a murder!
It’s a fairly decent murder mystery, with progression through the story leading to a tangled web of evidence and possible motives. The unpredictability of how it unfolds keeps you guessing until well over halfway through the adventure, at which point the investigation becomes more of a hunt for those responsible. Unfortunately, the characters involved here are really bland and lack any kind of discernible personality; mainly due to the one-dimensional voice acting and a largely tedious script. Therefore you’ll probably not grow fond of anyone in this tale, not even the main protagonists.
The art of investigation is a key gameplay element, seeing you take photos when prompted, collecting vital pieces of evidence along the way. At specific junctures, there are a couple of interesting Sherlock Holmes style deduction segments and these test whether you’ve understood everything learned about the crime. This will help to uncover who was on the scene, how the events unfolded, and why it went down that way. There are also interrogation opportunities, however the limited options during questioning are a let down.
Inventory-based problem solving is part and parcel of hidden object puzzle adventures, with you needing to scour every corner of the Bradford family’s glorious estate to progress. Locating keys, makeshift tools and other knick-knacks is essential in order to access all areas. Sometimes multiple items can be used in unison as well, which ensures every scrap of the inventory plays a role at some point. A little bit of trial and error is required, but the majority of solutions are logical.
And then there are the hidden object scenes, tasking you with finding a full list of items in each one. Given the ordinary setting, you should have no issues working out what these items are; it’s not rocket science when you’re searching for mostly household regulars such as umbrellas, fruits and clothing. The hand-drawn scenes are lovely, providing warm and beautiful environments as backdrops in the midst of this deadly case. The only drawbacks come in the lack of variety regarding list types and the occasionally iffy cursor, the latter of which can mean it fails to recognise when you’ve correctly identified an object.
What’s slightly disappointing is the small number of mini-games featured throughout, and the fact that a lot of them are all too familiar to puzzle enthusiasts causes a minor unbalance in the overall freshness. Those present are still good fun though, with calculating ingredient amounts for a recipe and navigating marbles through a maze among the activities. If you’re a fan of jigsaws then there are a fair few different variations of this relaxing past-time to tackle. Should a mini-game be too tough or it just isn’t your thing, Path of Sin will allow you to skip it without hindering the playthrough.
Upon completion of the main campaign – lasting around four or five hours – there are two options: replay it to sweep up any of the phasing collectibles you may have missed or move on to the bonus chapter. There’s not much to the extra chapter as it’ll bring about an additional hour of gameplay at best, however it does focus on the resolution of a crime featured in the original investigation. There are a couple of enjoyable mini-games, but inventory puzzles are the most prevalent.
On the whole, Path of Sin: Greed is your standard murder mystery, albeit one infused with a vast amount of puzzles to solve in order to catch the criminal(s) involved. The luxurious setting is wonderfully portrayed via hand-drawn visuals, but the characters residing within them are terribly boring. While the deduction sections and mini-games make for some interesting conundrums, there’s a real lack of the latter and most have been used many times before. Sadly, the usually dependable hidden object scenes are short on variety and become quite samey.
Although Path of Sin: Greed on Xbox One isn’t too bad, there are better hidden object puzzle adventures on the market. So unless you’re desperate or it’s in the sale, just leave it be.