Queen’s Gambit Emmett Impressions and Review – Spoilers after the Jump

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Basic Premise: As a top spy at Destrier, a private security agency, the main character must complete her assignments and protect her team at any cost. (And, if you work really hard, she might get to snog the character who appears in all the lovely stills.)

What Differs from Previous Voltage Entertainment USA Titles

  • = The player no longer receives messages directly to a personal email account. I miss getting content from secondary characters but do not miss having to close the app every chapter to see if a new one had appeared.
  • = Three acts of five chapters each net you more content than previous titles but also cost more at $5.97 total rather than $3.99.
  • + Each character has a unique prolog. It keeps the plot and characters voices consistent.
  • + All four endings unlock upon completing the route, and each ending differs significantly. It’s worth reading them all.
  • + Save slots, a rewind button, and a relationship meter keep the player from having to reread huge batches of text if they make a mistake or miss something.
  • + The sprites have many poses, and the MC’s expressions now appear in her dialog box.
  • + Sound effects and how the text pops onto the screen emphasize the action and mood of a scene well.
  • + As I noted in a previous review, Voltage USA’s gun illustrations up to this point have been terrible. Queen’s Gambit‘s illustrations are a huge improvement.  No sprites hold weapons that I remember – which keeps the description of a particular gun from clashing with the visual – and the few stills that feature guns have them held properly.

Overall I like Emmett better than João, but the main plot is not as strong. Since this comes down to a matter of taste, I’ll give a few general points before digging into more specifics and spoilers after the jump.

I really like Emmett as a character. He’s focused, intelligent, kind, and has a slightly goofy sense of humor. He has issues, but he doesn’t pity himself and has enough perspective to address his problems. He also ties into White Lies & Sweet Nothings (though none of those characters cameo like Speakeasy Tonight‘s Neil does, darn it).

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The two leads may get together as a couple by the end, but for most of the route Emmett and the MC feel and interact like what they are: long-time, close, adult friends. I actually love the slower buildup, hesitation, and having the few little romantic interactions being able to be reasonably brushed off as friendship, but I can see players who expect more mush in their visual novels being frustrated.

The MC mentors Cameron (the team’s rookie) well.

The main plot ties into the MC and Emmett’s history. It starts unraveling towards the end though.

If inaccurate medical details can completely destroy your suspension of disbelief, you may want to skip this story. It reaches Master and Commander levels of unbelievable.

MORE DETAILS, SPOILERS, AND A NSFW STILL AFTER THE JUMP

I applaud Emmett’s accurate description of living with PTSD and the MC’s reaction. The writer did their research, and I love that when the MC hears about it she takes a little while to process, doesn’t assume she can fix it, and suggests he gets the help he needs and prods their supervisor about it. Unfortunately his PTSD seems to be ignored in two of the endings.  He’s not magically cured or anything, but an extra line about continuing counseling or how he’s addressing it is needed.

Does the MC have ANY security at all for her apartment? I could almost ignore an alarm system or something similar not being mentioned in João’s route because she isn’t being hunted by a vengeance-crazed ex. Emily had just reappeared that same day, and she doesn’t think anything of waltzing home and kicking off her shoes?

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The MC receives a gunshot wound to the gut that should have her either dead or completely immobile as she’s stitched back together and receives transfusions. She continues to play action girl. The writer tries to bridge reality and the needs of the story with some experimental wound-closing glue gun, but having the MC continuously mention the pain and wound opening while still doing such damaging things made me wish they had just committed one way or the other. If you’re going to use technology as magic, go all the way.

The medical “you have got to be kidding me” moments get better though. You know what does not feel good on a healing, itching wound and a fractured hip? Pressure. Pressure and lots of motion. I don’t care HOW good Emmett is in bed. This cannot be the pleasant experience described in the story. It would be such a simple fix; just move it forward a few months.

IMG_0786OUCH-OUCH-OUCH-GET-OFF-ME!!!

The MC, Emmett, Tim, the Boss, and the entirety of Destrier look like morons by the end of the route.

  • Yeah, MC, you’re TOTALLY the better choice to rappel down twenty stories with your fresh gut wound rather than Cameron. Tim, you want to stop picking your nose in the back and say something that might stop Emily and keep Emmett and the Boss from getting killed? Please?
  • Hey, Emmett? Remember five minutes ago when you were shooting to kill Emily? That was a good plan. Try that again before she can escape. The MC apparently can survive anything so stop hovering. *facepalm*
  • Assuming it was a trap the Boss set, he let who-knows-how-many park ranger and Destrier agents get killed, his headquarters become damaged, and the MC and Emmett nearly die…FOR EMILY STILL TO ESCAPE? And if it WASN’T a trap the Boss set, it kind of makes him MORE incompetent.

Bottom Line: Despite my problems with the last few chapters, I still enjoyed Emmett’s route enough to play it again and investigate any future installments. The characters and relationships pulled me in and never felt padded despite the longer length.

Voltage Entertainment USA’s Queen’s Gambit is available on iOS and Android.

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7 thoughts on “Queen’s Gambit Emmett Impressions and Review – Spoilers after the Jump

  1. Thanks for another great review! I also remember seeing complaints about the pacing and the lack of romantic ‘mushiness’. Can’t say I’m too surprised by the MC’s and Emmett’s characterisations: we’re dealing with the dynamics of a longtime friendship–not the aftermath of one-night stand. Then again, I always consciously suspend my disbelief whenever I read a story, so just about anything goes (and hey–I’m even fine with Emmett being a double agent and serial killer who double-crosses everybody)!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂 I think not having the full story available from the get-go particularly hurt Emmett’s reception. I waited for the whole story to come out before buying; if I had gotten to the end and found “now your sweet best friend who you’ve just started feeling butterflies for has informed you he’s quitting and moving several states away – check back in a few weeks for any kind of conclusion” I would have grumped too. Leaving it there gives the story and relationship no arc. Loved the relationship once it was complete though.

      I’ve been lobbying Voltage USA to make Cliff a serial killer for a while now. Maybe Emmett could be his descendant. XD

    • Because all the endings unlock once you play to the end, all you need to do is select “endings” under the “episodes” screen and choose which of the four you want. No walk-through needed!

  2. I almost didn’t finish Emmett’s story. For me it should have been 3 chapters shorter. If you are going to take the romance part away and make it a straight action spy game you better make the story stand up. By the end I should have been stuck in a month-long coma to recover and somehow I’m doing the monkey dance with him?! ( hehehe monkey dance…)

    My favorite story was João’s good ending, not the best. They are both vulnerable after all that’s happened and try to work it out. Loved it! Made me have all the feelsssss.

    • Yeah, so far none of the best endings have been my favorite for any of the characters. I did like Joao’s good ending; my favorite for Tom’s route is the rookie ending. I know the sequel can’t pick up from a worse ending, but it’s such an awesome “to be continued” moment while staying consistent to the characters and tone…

  3. Pingback: Queen’s Gambit Senator Lindsay Tom Walker V Impressions and Review – Spoilers | myladylydia

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