Test – Adios – The end justifies the means

Available since March 17, ADIOS is a walking simulator in first person view that we saw during the last ID @ Xbox showcase. Developed and edited by the Mischief studio, the title tells us about the last hours on Earth of a farmer, a small-time villain, freely inspired by a terrible news item that occurred in Russia. Following an epileptic seizure, a farmer had been devoured by the animals she had taken so much care of: her own pigs.

The beginning of the end.

Friends like pigs

On this October morning in 1993, the sun barely shines on the vast plains of Kansas. On the steps of his house, our farmer enjoys the calm that reigns over his agricultural installation, comfortably installed in his rocking chair. Full headlights, a white van advances on his land and parks a few meters from him. To give himself courage, he opens his notebook in which is written “Tell him I’m done” (“tell him that I hang up”). He is a longtime friend, a hired killer for the local underworld in his spare time, who has not only made the detour to get paid for a coffee.

Our friend is a true professional, punctual and meticulous.

Because as always for 15 years, he did not come empty-handed. Several bloody packages, like so many pieces of a once-alive puzzle, are placed at the rear of the vehicle. The remains of a dirty work that our pigs have always enjoyed. Sated animals and relieved men. Everyone is benefiting. In any case until today.

Nothing better than a good hot coffee to start a long discussion.

From the first minutes of the game, when we inform our “friend” of our decision, the latter warns us: “you do understand what that means right?” (“You understand what that implies don’t you?”). He finally decides to spend the day with us, to lend us a hand in our daily tasks, but also and above all to change our minds.

Aware that putting an end to the deal with our employer inevitably implies a disastrous fate, the handful of hours that the title lasts invites us to glimpse the motivations of the farmer … and to prepare for the inevitable outcome.

Twin Pigs

Behind the Mischief studio hides a man named Doc Burford. The most curious among us may have already tried his previous game released in 2018, Paratopic, awarded at the Independent Games Festival (GDC). This first walking simulator, with graphics straight out of a Playstation (first of the name), involved us in a paranormal investigation at the confluence of the X-Files and Silent Hill. The whole was sprinkled with references to the cinema of David Lynch, with the aim of making us lose our bearings in order to bewitch us better.

The two creations share many points in common. We think in particular of a certain minimalism that invites us to focus on the essential and a certain sense of aesthetics. Because although the cell-shaded graphics of the title may seem poor in detail, little seems to have been left to chance. In addition to their formal beauty, interiors and landscapes participate in the story that is told to us.

Technically limited, Adios is nonetheless attractive in many ways.

The other resemblance is obviously at the level of the gameplay which, like any walking simulator, offers extremely limited interactions. The few activities offered here quickly give way to dialogues. Besides the fact that the title is not translated, which imperatively implies having a solid foundation in the language of Shakespeare, the quality of the dialogues and the dubbing is remarkable. The performers’ work sublimates the exchanges between the farmer and his friend, always on a razor’s edge, which constitute the heart of the game. A panel of ambivalent feelings emerge, ranging from melancholy to the dull threat.

The seventh bacon

This latent violence maintained by the exchanges with our friend, associated with moments of pure contemplation, reminds us of the most cult scenes of the cinema of Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs, 1992) or Cronenberg (A History of Violence, 2005). Adios offers, among other things, a ball-trap sequence that does not leave you indifferent.

It all starts with feeding pigs.

The most cinephiles will also be able to assimilate the chapters of the various activities as an additional nod to Quentin. Beyond its numerous references to the 7th art, Adios’ very form tends towards cinema, whether it be its duration or the fact that it is mainly made up of a sequence shot.

Slices of life

Like Firewatch (2016) or What Remains of Edith Finch (2017) before it, the title offers us a narrative experience whose appreciation depends strongly on the curiosity, even the maturity of the player. This requires accepting to be carried away by a very short game, centered on dialogues and within which the very notion of gameplay can be debated: a subject inherent to the genre.

On many occasions, the experience turns out to be quite touching.

Like his predecessors, Adios is lived more than played and will seduce those who like to try new experiences centered on the narrative and the characters, more than on their actions. This is how all the flavor of the game is revealed: with the choices that have led a tired man to the dawn of his life.

Test performed on Xbox Series X

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