Saturday, August 18, 2007

Review: Return

The Vitals:
"Return" is an older video, but one of the first I'd ever encountered. It is the first chapter in the story of Voldigar, a human man who leaves for war and returns to find his home, Stromgarde, in ruins. His wife is dead and his life is in shambles. But Voldigar promises to avenge what has happened and gathers his old comrades to take back Stromgarde from the invading ogres.

Story: 5/5:
In a pervasive market of music and raid videos, Return is a rare jewel. While the story is an old one, it is told well and places seamlessly in the Warcraft setting. The sage character runs the risk of being too powerful for the story, but so far, she has been well-written. Voldigar himself is a pitiable and admirable old man, crippled but not crushed by the horrors of his life. I will have to wait for the rest of the story, but the first chapter sets a sad, beautiful scene.

Text and Titles: 3/5
Tastefully understated.

Camera and Effects: 5/5
The camera is handled exceptionally well; someone has a very steady mouse hand. They mimic standard camera angles and movements almost perfectly. The in-game effects are largely limited to costuming the characters as they rally to take back Stromgarde, but the pre-BC wardrobe is used to excellent effect to create the illusion of not a raiding party but a cinema-worthy cast of characters. You know what they say: Clothes make the man.

Music and Editing: 4/5
Most of the music used in Return is from the game itself and used to great, if slightly cliche, effect. The video edits are well-timed to the score. In fact, my only complaint (and corresponding docking of points) is the voicing of Voldigar, which strikes me as occasionally melodramatic.

Overall Score: 4/5
A wonderful story and video only slightly marred by some cheesy writing. I look forward to the sequels.

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About the Author:
E.D. Lindquist is a multimedia consultant for a newspaper association. She has produced video for a major daily newspaper and helped to create standards for online production throughout California.