Of All The Noirs In The World, Calvino Had To Walk Into Mine.
By Gwendolyn L. Spelvin
Calvino Noir is a peculiar little bastard; at first glance it is nothing more than a downscaled rip of platform titles in the same genre. The trailer alone lets you know it prides itself as beautiful fandom threesome between L.A. Noire, The Saboteur, and Mark Of The Ninja; to its credit this is a point of bold curiosity that appears unabashed and unashamed about such influences.
So why in the hell did this semi-carbon copy stealth clone crash, burn, and give us the slip?
From the very beginning Calvino Noir is shrouded in secrecy, living up to its name. Everything from the central thematic concern of the storyline to the development team (who use the moniker Calvino Noir LTD) are on blackout mode.
And that’s okay; something about its unknown factors drives the curiosity around enough to indulge in its nuances without knowing a damn thing about it.
Everything starts off great. The protagonist walks around, gets orders to talk to the barkeep, explores a little bit, gets a phone call and meets a potential client upstairs. He kibitzes with the dame, gets offered a gig, names his price, and then it’s time to get on the hustle. Great noir opening, right?
The clandestine ambiance is absolutely wonderful until your first mission. From that vantage point you realize that the core functionality of this throwback moment are virtually broken. That’s right, folks. Calvino Noir commits suicide with full circle directional incompatibility.
Seriously, how in the hell does a developer intentionally release a stealth side scroller with dysfunctional controls? Inquiring minds want to know.
This obvious oversight from the Quality and Assurance department is painfully obvious with controls that are devoid of proper control mapping, scheme, and handling of the protagonist. We’re talking about a bigger epic failure than the lazy driving controls that plague Grand Theft Auto here.
For a stealth game whose primary dynamic is venturing upstairs and downstairs in between hiding in the shadows from enemies who shoot to kill, the ability to do that should have been on the list of coding priorities from the onset.
How else does the developer expect players to work within their set parameters of stealth when something simple as going up or down steps is a directional nightmare?
One thing that saddlebags the PC platform in particular is that it makes no difference whether or not you use a controller or a keyboard; directional navigation on BOTH mediums is a crap shoot at best. Seriously, was this game coded on Windows NT 3.1? How does a developer in 2016 with assets galore, Craigslist internships, and YouTube tutorials on game creation mess up keyboard controls?
There is no way with all these options available the fundamental building block of any side scroller was incapable of being correctly done.
A pit of brewing bitter animosity would not have been syphoned had this problem been evident from the very beginning of controlling the character. Hiding this obvious coding flaw in character movement until its mission time is a complete abject epic failure on the part of the developer, and a slap in the face to the players wasting their time on it.
Come on, guys. There is absolutely no way in hell was this issue was not known about ahead of time in beta testing. The rigs don’t lie, unlike developers. Maybe if the development budget had of went to more hands on deck instead of the jazz muzak this could have been a non-issue.
No plausible excuse can justify Calvino Noir LTD murdering this game for the hell of it. This blatant ignorance should be more than enough justification to shame them and those like them completely out of the industry. Console port or not, releasing a deficient control schematic is a hell of a slap in the face to people spending their hard earned money on a broken product.
Think about this for a minute; who the hell gives a shit if your game is graphically stunning and has a dynamic, mysterious storyline when we can’t get to it because the character can’t navigate well to progress?
Calvino Noir is a prime example of the tainting in the industry by players and developers alike who put too much stock into the visually stunning graphics and other irrelevancies instead of the core basics that make functionality a necessity and not an option.
Twenty years ago this type of lazy programming wouldn’t have even made the cutting room floor; the outrage amongst gamers would have caused a complete industry upheaval. Today its considered an unplayable critical acclaim and probably will vet a sequel by frustrated demand.
Despite its success and glowing reviews, something is very wrong with that.