In the darkness of night, alone in an unforgiving city, everything comes to a head. Love and frustration have split our intrepid duo, as they continue to seek out answers about the red man and Flint’s disappearance. Those answers will be had. But is the enemy who they thought it was? And who will come out of this investigation alive?
Episode Three is the final part of the Bear With Me series. Amber and Ted return in this last instalment, which picks up right where Episode Two left off. This time the pair is split, Amber following the clues and Ted following Amber. Game play swaps between them, as they visit different locations and slowly zero in on the final confrontation.
Fundamentally there is nothing different in Episode Three from the other two episodes. The player navigates either Amber or Ted through a series of puzzles and dialogues. Some of these are item combination based, while others are sequence puzzles. As with the other entries, these puzzles vary from simple to challenging, but their difficulty flows nicely throughout the episode so that the player isn’t stuck in one spot for very long.
The artwork continues to be very high quality, with interestingly designed character rendered in a hand drawn style. Animation is very smooth, and Exordium Games have apparently gotten the system down as there were no little clipping or movement problems like in the other episodes. This episode also quickly visits a lot of locations, which are all incredibly detailed and engaging.
While Episode One had really snappy and interesting dialogue, Episode Two came in a little flat in that department. Thankfully the punchy, well written dialogue returns in Episode Three. Characters pepper each other with rapid back-and-forth conversations which are well timed and excellently voice acted. There are also some really well delivered sombre moments too, which does a great job of showcasing the versatility of the writing.
In fact, Episode Three has many comical moments, but largely this entry has an overall more sombre tone. It is almost a complete flip of Episode One, which was primarily comedy with the occasional serious interlude. The decision for this direction becomes more obvious during the final act of the episode, where the player begins to learn the truth behind the antagonistic red man and Amber’s missing brother.
While overall the episode is really well crafted it does have some minor problems. The first two episodes provided a lot of the questions, so this entry has to do a lot to wrap this all up. The introduction of an additional antagonist, just for this episode, feels a little lazy. Also, because so much of the conclusion involves revealing information, there are a few sequences where the player loses all control and is relegated to just listening to a long voice over.
Providing this information to the player is key to understanding the entirety of Bear With Me, but it is delivered in such a dry and uninteresting way that it sticks out. Especially when compared to some of the excellent ways players have been made to engage with the story previously.
Taken as its own thing Episode Three would seem like a very dark, almost depressing, game with almost no levity. However looking at it as part of an ongoing narrative, and as the conclusion for a noir-style mystery, it really hits all the right marks. While some people aren’t going to be happy with the ultimate conclusion to the series the developers should be commended for their willingness to tackle some confronting issues. I was certainly surprised by the final sections of Episode Three, and a little sad to see some of the characters go.
If you have played Bear With Me Episodes One and Two, then you need to play Episode Three. It can be a bittersweet experience, particularly if you are heavily invested in some of the characters, but it is a great example of how good writing and game design can evoke emotions. And if you haven’t played Bear With Me at all, the release of Episode Three makes this a great time to dive into this surprising noir mystery.
Bear With Me is developed and published by Exordium Games. Episode Three is available as downloadable content for Bear With Me, and is out now on Steam.
Reviewed On: PC
Review System: nVidiaN9600C, G1 Sniper M7 S1151, 16GB RAM
Playtime: 3.5 hours