Finding yourself in your hands a product like I Am Jesus Christ it gave birth to a great dichotomy within me. On the one hand I was attracted by the idea that someone had decided to exploit such a broad subject to give life to a video game, on the other hand I was scared by what could have been the result. In front of me, having arrived at the start of the game with the thrill of discovering it without preconceptions, a range of possibilities unraveled that led me to ask: What genre will I Am Jesus Christ ever be? And actually, I'll tell you, I didn't quite get it. Because after finishing the Prologue I'm still a little shaken by the myriad of game design ideas included in the video game and the incredible ability I had in not having them know how to manage even by mistake. But let's go deeper into the word of the Lord and find out together what I Am Jesus Christ tells us.
Don't worry about tomorrow
The prologue that we had the opportunity to play and which will be available for free on Steam starting today, while waiting for the next chapters, takes us into the life of Jesus around thirty years old, when, according to the Gospel according to Mark, the Messiah received the baptism by John the Baptist, contextual to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus. From there begins the journey of the son of God, who from the banks of the Jordan decides to wander for 40 days in the desert, meeting Satan, but resisting him without eating and without ever letting himself be led into temptation. Our task, in this story, is to impersonate Jesus, in a first person view that never allows us to see his face, not even in the cutscenes that concern him, and to guide him on a path that will lead to becoming the Messiah.
The adventure is interspersed with a series of videos that allow us to condense the entire experience of Jesus in Israel in a very short time; between one miracle and another, between one event and another, everything is punctuated with great rapidity and some rapid travel, which is served up to us even without meaning to. The rest of the time, especially in the early stages, when we haven't yet been shown how to fight (yes, fight) and use our powers (yes, powers), we'll mostly have to run, walk, talk to people, then walk again and then run again. In some cases even for totally bare, empty environments, and in which we will be forced to continue for hundreds of meters, without there being an apparent sense.
You will love your neighbor as yourself
Beyond what is the quality of the cutscenes, on which we will focus later, the whole narrative borders on the ridiculous, in various points, especially when the dialogues try to give us a semblance of freedom of choice, or when we we will find ourselves uttering truly meaningless sentences to people who, most likely, would not be willing to listen to us even by mistake. Moreover, after leaving Nazareth, Jesus will be provided with a rod of life, which within the interface will gradually decrease, forcing us to eat. This was just before deciding to spend 40 days in the desert, fasting. To meet this need, we are presented with the berry and inventory collection system, which however after exactly five becomes completely useless and which we will soon forget.
Moving on, however, to the more trashy aspect of I Am Jesus Christ we come to talk about the combat system. Once the Holy Spirit has descended into us, we will acquire the ability to use a skill wheel to perform miracles and to perform activities that – we are sure – Jesus would never have done that. These include the ability to use telekinesis to move objects, create bridges, generate and drop boulders from the sky to press platforms that make celestial stairs appear, or even fight Satan. The boss battle we had to fight back the Devil it was helpful in understanding how wrong and poorly calibrated the game's controls are, as well as being made with the wrong design ideas.
Jesus comes with a mana gauge, which can be recharged much like Goku does when he gathers energy before unleashing a Kamehameha. Excuse the galloping heresy, but it is the simplest example to give. Thanks to the mana we can, using the two mouse keys, use a beam of light which is equivalent to lock on the opponent and then repel the blows in the form of an electrified cloud that will be hurled at us. The lock will consume mana, a lot of mana, which will force us to reload often, stopping and taking hits, but also repelling the blows will consume energy, forcing us to reload immediately. Furthermore, if we reject without maintaining the lock, the blow will not hit Satan, but will end up dispersed. In short, a very annoying boss battle: someone would try to say hardcore, but I assure you that no, that's not the word you're looking for.
If you are wondering, however, even this feature disappears completely after five minutes of use, to welcome more, yet. Indeed, as soon as we unlock the map of Israel we will have the possibility to notice that the Devil is contaminating all surrounding areas, trying to attract as many people as possible to him, even if he were Sauron with Celebrimbor. Forgive this other heresy too. Our goal will be to go around looking for crystals to purify: an interesting mechanic, except that everything happens in a scripted way, like on a huge track, without giving us the semblance of a possible open world.
Many who are first will be last
It is clear that I Am Jesus Christ was based on many ideas, many possibilities to exploit having such a vast topic in one's hands, but at the same time it is clear that there was no ability to exploit everything properly. The skill dial seems endless, and we only unlocked two in the Prologue: I dare not imagine what else Jesus could be made to do, who has already turned water into wine and commanded fish to be caught, as well as having repelled Satan using obviously magical powers. The real problem, however, does not lie in having stuffed this production with poorly exploited content, but in the total absence of physics, animations, technical and graphic quality.
Jesus walks on cliffs and water the same way he walks on grass, people have no movement and are still, always, even when they speak. They have no facial expressions, not even in the cutscenes, during which they only move their mouths. The rooms are empty, huts are erected around which there is a void and, I assure you, the first time a verse from one of the Gospels appears, you will think being engulfed in the flames of hell who are chasing you because of an animation without any sense and criteria. In all of this, perhaps, the only aspect that can be saved is the English dubbing, which tells the whole story in a rather interesting way. The worst aspect, however, is that the game does not officially recognize the controller, and then still allow us to use it to move, but not to interact with people, keeping keyboard inputs on the screen.