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Bone: The Great Cow Race Review

Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: April 12, 2006 Also On: None

Looking back on Bone: Out From Boneville, I have to admit, I was completely justified with my low score. I had huge expectations for that game, and sadly, little of it was realized. Now, TellTale games has just released Jeff Smith’s sequel, The Great Cow Race. This time, I had minuscule expectations, but surprisingly, it might just be one of the top adventure games this year. While I should go on to explain why I have the worst luck when predicting the sheer awesomeness of games, I think it’s more beneficial to move on and give The Great Cow Race a fair chance.

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The game starts literally where the first one left off. The returning characters are the three Bones: Fone (the normal one), Phoney (the greedy one), and Smiley (that stupid one). Not only those three, we also have Gran’ma Ben and Thorn. This chapter finally introduces the town, which will play a larger role later on. The thing is, if you didn’t know what happened in the first Bone chapter, you shouldn’t play this one yet. You should either read the first book or purchase both Bone games at a lower price in a single package.

One problem I had with the game was that it was rather bland. The game just didn’t feel like as if it was right out of the comic. TellTale seemed to have changed that by adding a lot more interesting scenery and more interaction. The increase in interaction between the scenery and everything else might just be the hallmark of the sequel. While this can’t be really credited to TellTale, the storyline is just a whole lot more interesting. The rat creatures and the Hooded One seem to be playing a larger role, cool new characters are introduced, and a lot of funny gags. The real props go Jeff Smith.

But back to the real basics, meaning gameplay, we see a great improvement. The entire feeling is just a whole lot better. The puzzles are actually fun, which is what is missing in the vast majority of adventure games. The previous game felt like a bunch of mini-games stuck together, but this game feels a whole lot more realized and more like a movie. The audio is just as good. The voice actors are top-notch, while the audio is superb. The graphics are much better. While both games require only a basic graphics card, probably because of the better art direction, the overall product is a lot more pleasing to look at.

The largest problem with the previous game was the dollars spent to hours played ratio was too high. TellTale expected 15 bucks for around 3 hours of gameplay. What does TellTale games do? They make the game cost less and last longer. Now it’s 13 dollars at release (and will go down as time passes) and you can get at least 6 hours of gameplay. Doing the math (I know, I know…you play games to get rid of the horrors of education….) the ratio went down from 5:1 to 2 1/6: 1. That is like changing an F to a B.

Bone: The Great Cow Race is easily one of the best comical adventure games of the year. The game is cheaper than last year and the recent price reduction suggests that TellTale games an eventual trend of price reductions of games to come. All I can suggest to TellTale is to continue what you’re doing: Continue to reduce the prices (to the 8-9 dollar mark), continue to lengthen the games (to the 9-10 hour mark), and continue to create this fun gameplay. As the Bone series progresses, the games can only get better. TellTale seems to be the developer that listens to its critics and delivers in spades.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Simon Review Guide