The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times offers more of what made the previous installments so much fun to play. It doesn’t make any drastic changes to the formula, but instead polished everything up a bit and switched to a more fantasy theme. It is still not perfect and probably won’t sway players who aren’t already fans of the genre, but once again provides a couple of hours of solid entertainment.

Gameplay: Veterans might find it a bit easy, but there are some nice puzzles to solve.

Graphics: More colorful and detailed than previous installments.

Sound: The sound effects are a highlight, but the music and voice acting is mostly good as well

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The Secret Order 3: Ancient Times

Developer: Sunward Games | Publisher: Artifex Mundi sp. z o.o. | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Hidden Object | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Nobody deserves a break more than Sarah Pennington, but unfortunately for her and luckily for us, this is not to be. Instead, Sarah discovers that the chaotic artifacts she spent so much time retrieving the previous game has become unstable and could actually destroy the universe. Sarah has no choice but to use the Royal Griffin to travel back in time again to prevent this from happening. Her destination is the mythical realm of Aeronhart, home of the man who ordered the creation of the artifacts in the first place, King Amadon.

Ancient Times is the third entry in the Secret Order series, so having some knowledge of the previous games will be useful. We recommend playing at least the second game in the series, not just for the story, but also for the fact that it is really quite good. On the other hand, The Secret Order 3 starts with a recap of the events that transpired in the last game, so playing part two is not absolutely essential. Sarah is the daughter of the Master of The Order of the Griffins, which has some perks. One of these perks is a time travelling sailing ship, which Sarah uses to go back in time. Her first stop is 19th century London, but after that it is straight to the 3157 BC Kingdom of Aeronhart. Ancient Times is definitely more fantasy themed than he previous games, so expect to see dragons, griffins and all manner of other interesting creatures.

Visually the game is a little less dark and gloomy than Masked Intent and the artists have definitely made the most of the fantasy setting. There are 57 locations to discover and most of them look a bit more animated than the previous games. Effects like running water and flags waving in the wind make a big difference and the scenes are also very detailed. Once again, there are plenty of cut-scenes and while they look a bit better than Masked Intent these movie scenes are still not in high definition. Those playing the game at lower resolutions will probably not mind or really notice, but the cut scenes do look rather fuzzy on high definition monitors.

The game uses 3D animations for many of the characters, which can make them look a little out of place against certain backdrops. Also, while we appreciate the amount of detail that went into characters faces, their mouths look rather weird when they talk. This is not a deal breaker, but it is very noticeable and quite distracting. Interestingly enough, the bonus chapter that is unlocked after completing the main game features a slightly different visual style. Although it takes place directly after the main story the scenes and characters in it features a more painted look instead of the rendered style.

The gameplay remains mostly the same as previous installments, so once again your time is divided between solving puzzles and completing hidden object scenes. As in Masked Intent, the hidden object scenes can be substituted for mahjong tiles if you prefer. There are a total of 60 mini games and hidden object puzzles to complete and while the majority of these are quite easy they are still fun. You’ll encounter the usual sliding and pipe puzzles, along with a host of others, but the game also features some other neat elements. Our favorite is the baby griffin that you encounter early on. This little critter is not only adorable, but can also be selected from his perch next to your inventory and commanded to retrieve objects that are too high for your character to reach. While this game is not the first to provide you with a helper the baby griffin absolutely ranks amongst the cutest of them all.

Sarah also comes into possession of an artifact known as the “Golem’s Heart” which is used to animate statues. As you progress through the game this artifact increases in power, allowing you to manipulate larger and larger statues. As a nice bonus there are also hidden griffons and dragons to find while playing. These don’t’ really have anything to do with the story, but you are rewarded with achievements for finding them all.

The audio of Ancient Times really impressed us, especially the sound effects. Each scene features some nice crisp sound effects and ambient effects that sound great when playing with earphones and really helps build the atmosphere of the game. The voice acting is the usual mixed bag of good and bad that we have come to expect from the genre. The soundtrack features a nice selection of tunes, although we did recognize a few from the previous game.

Overall anyone who enjoyed the previous two games or like a good hidden object game shouldn’t hesitate to add Ancient Times to their library. The bonus chapter, which involves uniting dwarves, fairies and elves against a common enemy didn’t feel as polished as the main game, but Ancient Times is still a great entry in the series. We have a feeling that we won’t have to wait too long for the next installment to hit Steam either.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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