The Let's Play Archive

Return of the Obra Dinn

by Nidoking, TheMcD

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Original Thread: DESTROYING murder mysteries with FACTS and LOGIC! - Return of the Obra Dinn



What's all this, then?

This is Return of the Obra Dinn, a puzzle game by Lucas Pope (of Papers, Please fame) that was released for PC/MAC in 2018 and Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One a year later. It has been met with critical acclaim and is notable for its "1-bit" graphical style inspired by early Macintosh games.

So what's this game about?

In 1803, the ship Obra Dinn, which had been en route to the Cape of Good Hope, goes missing. Five years later, it reappears in the waters outside the city of Falmouth, and the player, an insurance agent, is dispatched to the ship to find out what happened. They are also given a book and a pocketwatch by Henry Evans, the ship's surgeon, and are asked to fill in the fates of the sixty crew members and passengers. The pocketwatch will allow you to hear the last few moments before somebody died and see the exact moment of their death. Using only that information, you have to solve all the mysteries of the fate of the Obra Dinn.

Wasn't there already an LP of this?

Indeed there was, it's on the archive and everything. However, I have something different planned with this LP. The thing is that Obra Dinn very much encourages guessing in solving the fates. The way fates are validates in sets of three allows you to have two fates you're pretty certain in and then just guess for the third one until the game accepts. And towards the end, your options have diminished enough that just swapping names out will eventually lead you to the answer. Most people that play this game do something like this. I did it in my first playthrough, and so did the previous LP. Basically everybody does it in some way, since the game wants you to do it in some capacity.

However, the game does have evidence and clues galore which allow you to resolve all the fates without a single guess. That's what I want to demonstrate with this LP. No guessing will be allowed, and it will show off all the many different little details that many people miss.

But if you've already played this, how can you do that? You already know the answers.

That's where the magic of co-commentary comes in. Indeed, I will not be the one playing this game. Instead, I am tagging along with Nidoking, whom I have recruited to be the blind player. All things considered, I'm not the LPer here at all, Nidoking is, but I'm posting the stuff because otherwise he did basically everything here and it'll make me feel bad or something.

So anyway, Nidoking will be playing, I will be largely taking on the role of guidance and logic validation. If he thinks he's got an answer, I will require an explanation before I'll let him enter it in the game. This way, we will eventually get all the fates without a single guess.

Spoiler policy?

Now, given what kind of game this is, spoilers are basically inevitable. So I'm not going to go with the full "no spoilers ever, even under tags", but please keep things that haven't been seen yet under spoiler tags. To note, we have already finished all our recording sessions, so no worries about spoiling him and disrupting the blind playthrough, but for the sake of those watching along that haven't played this game yet, please exercise some discretion, OK?

Anything else?

A few side notes. One, this LP was absolutely plagued by technical issues. We had essentially three recording sessions, and three major technical issues interrupting them in some way, including right at the very beginning. So keep that in mind. Two, I have a big mouth that can't shut up. So in the name of keeping things moving, I end up going ahead and explaining things that Nidoking might have figured out, but probably not without frustrations. Note that these are largely technical/UI related things, not related to the puzzles. I'm just saying please don't yell at me.

Now, let's get going.

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