The hackneyed question of whether online games can be art for the authors and heroes of The Last Show of Mr. Chardish is irrelevant and the answer is obvious to them. They take the above and ask: does an artist have the right to "pure art", how far can he go in trying to create "art for art's sake" and where does this lead?
The Last Show of Mr. Chardish begins as a typical walking simulator - with walks in beautiful surroundings and reading scattered notes here and there. But it quickly becomes clear that the authors were inspired by the famous What Remains of Edith Finch - in other words, this is a variation of a walking simulator, but with gameplay, and in different genres.
We play as Ella - an actress who returned to England from America in 1976 and decided to visit an old and, as it turned out, now abandoned theater in a small provincial town. Wandering around the dilapidated theater building, Ella reads notes about theatrical life and everyday life (there are, for example, instructions on how to comb the actresses), sees the stage, the auditorium, utility rooms with decorations and posters, tables where costumes were made - there are still scissors and theatrical masks.
At the same time, she listens to the interview of the main director, the titular Robert Chardish, which was taken from him when he was already ill and coughed, but did not lose his presence of mind. What Ella had to do with the theater and Robert, why she left - this is one of the main plot anchors of The Last Show of Mr. Chardish.
The second most important theme is the one I voiced at the beginning, about the artist and pure art. This provincial theater mainly staged fairy tales, but even in them the director tried to look higher, to raise more complex topics. And then he began to stage author's plays, which many of his viewers did not understand. He strove to say something meaningful, to be heard and the theater to be noticed. How far did Chardish go in this endeavor and where did it lead?
In addition to notes and audio recordings, answers are given by free reconstructions of some of the director's productions and thoughts. We find another theatrical mask, put it on and are transported to other worlds. Some are as if drawn by French impressionists, others are a typical futuristic robot factory, and others are something surreal, with statues growing out of thin air and stairways going up.
Each such episode has its own gameplay rules. Somewhere you need to make a path, solving riddles with the movement of objects on which the light falls:
In general, nothing complicated, but there are a couple of points that will make you tense up a little.
There are also action scenes where we have to beat a certain number of fake animals suspended from threads, so that the curtain opens and the hero moves on.
Finally, the most powerful episode that made my chin tremble is the one where a French artist in a characteristic hat turns a broom into a brush and with its help paints the colorless gray space around in bright colors of life.
The Last Show of Mr. Chardish is, on the one hand, a game endowed with quite tangible gameplay elements. And even with the final choice of ending. But first of all, this is a beautiful and sad installation about love, art and love for art, designed to illustrate the fact that with the power of imagination, striving for the beautiful and the lofty, you can create bridges from the air, overcome distances on an airplane carpet and paint the surrounding gray with powder paint. guns.
Pros: plot, characters, theme itself; unusual visuals; great music and voice acting.
Cons: as a game, the project practically does not pose difficult tasks; there are bugs.