It always boils down to discussing the Internet, and Sam and Max episode 5, you know, the one cunningly named Reality 2.0, just couldn’t avoid commenting on the whole cyber, MMO, Web 2.0, blog, spyware, online banking phase a modest but substantial part of mankind seems to be currently experiencing. After all, it only feels like the proper thing to do after poking fun at the US political system and getting the titular rabbity thing into the White House. Oh, and if you thought that taking down a huge Abe Lincoln statue was interesting, wait till you embark on a mission to destroy the Internet.
Yes, the Internet. The same sentient digital being that goes as far as using the extra processing power of a Pong machine, a high-tech (for its time) telephone, an old arcade machine and a vintage floppy disk featuring PC, simply to make sure it can cope with our ever expanding demands, and …uhm… hypnotize everyone into Matrix style submission. Apparently allow for a wacky point-and-click suited plot and some digital age gags too.
Unfortunately though, where Sam & Max episode 4 was fantastically hilarious without having to make the usual/universal George W Bush jokes, this time around the humor does feels slightly obvious, or at points even banal. Then again, this statement should be taken with a grain of salt as it’s coming from someone who never enjoyed the World of Warcraft South Park episode and still believes that a retired John Cleese should go on and produce Fawlty Towers season 3.
Admittedly, other than a few flat jokes (according to the very pretentious moi) that still manage to rise above average video game humor mind you, the game does have its moments of sheer brilliance and excellent gags and is definitely the best Sam and Max episode yet. Just not the funniest. Yes, despite Sam going all Mario when shouting "It’s a me, Sam" and grabbing a coin and some obvious (too obvious even) Second Life references.
But, and I can clearly hear you ask, why is this the best Sam and Max episode yet? Well, for starters there’s a new song, the usual great voice acting (provided you enjoyed the voices in the last episodes), an impressive amount of polish and more importantly an amazing virtual world, that feels like Tron on LSD with a psychotic duo stuck in it, which greatly expands the number of available locations, features some of the best graphics in the series and is a testament to Telltale’s imagination and artistic style. Gameplay wise, the ability to switch between worlds makes for a much bigger and more complex game. I’d dare say a tad more challenging too, even though admittedly I had to play it late at night and perhaps was too tired to think properly.
As for the new characters, you got to play Reality 2.0 to appreciate them. Then again, you really have to play this game especially if a)you love adventures, b) love rabbits, c)are a Sam and Max groupie, d)enjoy good games, e)have a PC.