Breaking Bad: The Interrogation
When a fire reveals a sinister secret in the basement of a church you, as D.E.A. agent Hank Shrader are brought in to work on the suspect in The Interrogation, an advergame mystery designed to promote the television series Breaking Bad. Never seen the show? Don't worry, this is strictly a standalone story. Throughout the game, you'll be presented with sets of dialogue options to choose from. Essentially, you're trying to figure out what to say to the suspect (and how to say it) to get him to trip up. Pay close attention to the suspect's impression and body language; push too far too clumsily and he'll "lawyer up", bringing your investigation to a premature end. If this happens, you can start the entire game over from the beginning (meh) or just start over from the chapter you failed on (hooray!). If you want clues as to how to treat your suspect, you can refer to the notebook in the lower left corner of the screen.
The game consists of five chapters, and I personally breezed through them in about fifteen minutes. One way to look at it would be to say that I am an amazing detective, which is correct. But the other, less flattering way to look at it is that the game is actually very easy. It doesn't take much logic or people skills to pick the correct sequence, and in fact you're not required to actually deduce anything yourself. Once the suspect accidentally reveals more than he intended, the agent pounces on it and makes the connections himself; it's mildly disappointing, since it can make you feel like you're doing little more than pushing buttons, something easily achieved by setting up one of those little drinking bird toys at the keyboard.
As an experimental piece of interactive art, sort of, The Interrogation is an all too brief but interesting diversion. One of its biggest strengths is easily the art, which reminds me a bit of Steve Dillon, and a bit of Chris Bachalo; the expressive, realistic characters combined with the fat ink lines lends the whole thing a nice, sketchy appeal. It isn't exactly what you might call a typhoon of breathless action, but it's an interesting idea that could do with some expanding; more cases, with more suspects in each one, and maybe a bit more puzzle solving required on our part. If you're looking for a bit of gritty police procedural in your day, The Interrogation offers a bite sized chunk with an interesting story to back it up.