This adventure game with its secret organization, mysterious motives, and moral puzzles seems built to succeed, but it's really more of an average tale from start to finish. Most adventure games are designed to be more slowly paced and more narrative-driven, with characters to interact with and puzzles to solve. When you add in the mysterious theme, smooth controls, and decisions that can affect the story, it should seem like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, the game's concept is better than its execution. Between ho-hum gameplay, simplified puzzles, and a world that's eerily lifeless, this four- to five-hour adventure is mediocre at best.
Playing as two characters is a nice twist, as each has a unique role, perspective, and skill set). Madeleine Stone, who experimented on her own mother, solves puzzles and is mostly confined to small rooms. Cal, on the other hand, can roam about more freely, log into computers, open drawers, and explore the facility a little more. But the game feels restrictive, as you don't really go outside (with one exception later in the story), plus you don't really connect with anyone to create a memorable relationship. As a result, the world feels lifeless and empty, and you feel led on a tight leash. Puzzles are very easy, which might be fine for newbie players but not everyone else. It's too bad, because when things start to pick up and get interesting, the tale is over. There's little reason to play again. Without giving too much away, the story is quite good, as are the production values (with decent graphics and impressive audio). Virtual reality fans who like adventure games shouldn't be too upset with The Assembly -- it's also less expensive than most other games -- but will likely agree the gameplay doesn't live up to its promise.