This will be more a short summary of what I like and dislike in the whole game so far, not only in book 3.
I do have some experience in game design... so I’ll be a bit boring
I like story, characters, setting... I liked it since the original TLJ and with new technology it can only look and feel better, and it does
I will talk more about the things I don’t like, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like the game.
I’m afraid those things I like less culminated in book 3.
Basically player is not involved as much as it should be. It felt like watching a movie. We had very little choices during the dialogs and there were only few puzzles. Good thing is, comparing to book 2, that you have less time spent running around the map. During book 2 I was repeating to my self “walking isn’t gameplay” so many times... this was a little bit better in book 3.
What would I like to suggest (if you guys are reading this) is to try to use puzzle game mechanics (item interaction) more frequently. Not to prolong time of the gameplay but to make some diversity in understanding the characters and the world.
What I mean is this – you don’t need to have 15 minutes of a non-stop dialogue to understand a new npc. This will give a player feeling like he played just 5 minutes. But when you implement a quest for this character it will split the gameplay and will connect a player with this npc – if quest is sound. For example why Kian doesn’t help Bip or Enu with something? That could make him understand them better. You can even add a choice how that quest can be resolved – it could make a difference in relationship with those characters later in the game.
Or about those manhole keys in book 2... Why not add some insight into how Abby and Hanna live? Maybe they steal food from the cards and when you startle them they drop the key? It wouldn’t look so random and would indirectly give some new insight to the player about those characters.
Of course, you would not randomly bump into them while they are stealing. For example - while you are talking to Queenie you find about it. Then you need to hack eye terminal (or drone, or transmissions), find out something about those types of crimes in Propast so you can figure out when and where you should look... in other words there could be some involving gameplay behind it... you just need a few low poly items for interaction and few lines of dialogue.
Other examples are prescripted events that seem like quick jumps to another long dialogue. In my experience the most expensive part of making a game is localization and voice overs, and surprisingly in Chapters it seems it’s the other way around. There is more voice overs then actual gameplay. And I have a question mark over my head thinking why you didn’t add some (cheaper) gameplay elements, but instead you chose to skip them? (I’m not saying there should be less dialogues, they are great to have!)
This game would be great (from my point of view) if it had just a little bit more player involvement.
After playing book 3 I’m scared that dialogue choices we had will not have as wide influence for the main characters as it seemed while we played books one and two. For me some choices don’t look like the choices my character would make. This is solely because (for example) in book one we often had 4-5 different answers/questions too chose from. My perception of Kian or Zoe is now probably somewhat different compared to developers’ perception of their personalities.
Yes, I understand that in a game like this you can only have a few endings so story needs to converge towards those endings.
I’m just hoping I will be pleased with it...