If you enjoy the true challenge of an intensely difficult puzzle laden with ideals of gore and killings, then Vigil: Blood Bitterness could make you a very happy gamer!
After reading the introduction to Vigil: Blood Bitterness, I thought this was going to be one very cool game unlike any I have played. Truth be known, it is ... whether its uniqueness is a good or a bad is yet to be decided - even after more than a few months of playing.
The first thing to remember in Vigil is that the entire game is a puzzle. It is not a series of puzzles, which lead you from one area to another upon completion, but one big complex puzzle that extends from room to room in a huge palace. Keep in mind that you could miss closing a door in one room, and it will have an effect on the game two rooms over.
The imagery is intriguing thanks to the very Frank Miller/Sin City feel of the black and white with random splashes of color. These colors are important, because it means someone died (more truthfully murdered), a face was eaten or clues to the mystery were written on papers. The intricate designs of the black and white drawings are enough to keep you wanting to go from room to room - as long as you figure out how. There are beautiful altars at which you eventually figure out you are supposed to pray. Others are huge diagrams on the floor that signify something you should do.
This is where the game gets cryptic - nice play on words seeing as the entire palace has the feel of an above-ground crypt. You start by trying to decipher the words of Dehon, the character you play; only he is speaking French dripped in slang. My three years of French are certainly not enough to make sense of what he is saying. The good news is that there are subtitles; therefore, his whispery, gravelly voice becomes more of a sound effect than actual dialogue. The other sounds in the game make the black and white more realistic with mechanisms turning and doors rising and lowering. There are also "movie clips" designed to give you more information on the madness within the home of Dehon.
The difficulty is trying to figure out what you are supposed to be doing. There are no instructions. There are no guidelines. There is not even a help section. You have to figure it out by trial and error. Moreover, if you do make an error, you have to start over from the beginning.
Overall, the game movement reminds me of Minesweeper - clicking randomly to see where it takes you and hoping there is not a "bomb" behind the next door. I keep Vigil on the desktop so I can play occasionally, however it is not something that can keep my attention for long periods. I am a player that needs more instructions than the makers of Vigil are offering.