Picking up right where the first left off, The Detail Episode 2: From the Ashes brings you further down the rabbit-hole of organized crime and corruption. I was not sure after the first episode ended if The Detail had enough of a story to keep me compelled, but my thirst for mystery was quenched once more. If you go into this game wanting a great two-hour or so thrilling experience, you will be thoroughly satisfied. However, if you want a non-stop killing, eyes at the leader board experience than you will sadly not find solace in this game.
From the Ashes takes what was so great about episode 1 and expands upon them leaps and bounds. The artistic direction is back in full force. It is the oddest feeling to be looking at your screen moving while it still remaining static, but the developers found a perfect balance of movement and motionless. At some points in the game you will wait a few seconds longer just to take in the scene and the comic strip like image that unfolds. Likewise, the music makes an encore performance and hits every note perfectly. Mostly the music is just a piano playing a few keys, but at certain points it takes a turn and so too does the action of the game. Encounter with an individual going bad; a few dead notes might play that informs you to tread softly. Find an important piece of information and the music will signal it’s significance. It is the use of art and music that brings out so much more in The Detail.
Like before you are an observer of many people but this time there are a couple more members you must help with the investigation. One person in particular I was thrilled to play as because she is the first women protagonist in the game and because her history lends to a compelling story. You end up playing as four different individuals in about two hours, and each one feels important to you in a different way. As the detective you are aggressive because you need information to take down the perp, but as the informant you have your family to think about. Like before your decisions do not effect the overall story, as much as it allows you to live out how you would react in these particular situations.
This episode seems to lay down the groundwork for how The Detail will unfold later to come. There are many plots that need to be unraveled, which is what makes this game so appealing. It gives you the ability to role-play as a cop in a big city and determine what crimes deserve your attention. There are difficult choices but rather than your decisions matter in terms of someone's death, it matters in terms of someone's life. People have to live through the consequences they make and being able to decide so many people's futures is what edges this episode up from the previous one.
From the Ashes does a great job at continuing the story of the last episode, while weaving in new plot threads for future installments. You begin to pick up on how this is not just a simple murder of a guy getting killed over drugs, but also that this is bigger than rival gangs competing for street-cred. There are some disturbing acts of brutality in this episode as well but they help the story along in two significant ways. One is the gore distracts us from the bigger picture of what we are trying to solve and two is that this brutality is real and something people have to deal with every day. There is a lot that comes to light in this episode but also foreshadowing of things left undiscovered. Without spoiling anything, it is hard to explain how great From the Ashes truly is. The Detail is heating up and episode 2 provides it with the spark and breath it needs to last three additional episodes.