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Video Game / Resonance

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Funny story - no matter what choices you make in the game, you will never see this image.note 

Resonance is a 2012 Science Fiction Adventure Game developed by xii games and published by Wadjet Eye Games (of The Blackwell Series and Gemini Rue fame). It has nothing to do with the Pokemon fanfic over in Darth Wiki.

20 Minutes into the Future, the brilliant particle physicist, Professor Javier Morales, has figured out the final calculations to unlock a brand new form of energy - Resonance. By separating and storing the two subparticles of an electron, then releasing them, the resulting collision of particles releases an explosion of clean, reusable energy. The further the separation, the more power.

However, "explosion" is the operative word, and like all new discoveries, more than a few unsavoury characters are interested in the new way to make things go "boom".

In the aftermath of a Resonance-related tragedy, Ed, Dr. Morales' research assistant, Anna, a doctor and Morales's niece, Ray, a journalist and Bennett, a detective, are brought together to uncover the secret of Resonance before the more "explosively minded" do first.


Resonance uses the following tropes

  • Abusive Parents: Anna's father is the monster in all of her recurring nightmares of her childhood.
  • Anyone Can Die: Whichever way you play it, you're going to see at least two of the Player Characters and an indefinite number of Non Player Characters get killed over the course of this game.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The basic concept of Resonance as a matter-destroying, energy-producing reaction is entirely made up. That said, most everything else is fairly realistic, so keep repeating that MST3K Mantra.
  • Big Applesauce: As is often typical of a Wadjet Eye Games production, the fictional city has a strong flavor of New York, complete with a secretary who has the accent, complex subways full of graffiti, nobody responding to a call for help, the specter of terrorism blowing holes in buildings...
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  • Big Bad: The Eleven Foundation, really, as they set everything in motion. If you include Ed, it comes a Big Bad Ensemble.
  • Boring, but Practical: In the opening sections of the game, there is a puzzle involving rewiring a security panel to open a side door, described by the developers as the hardest part of the game. Or you could just climb back out the window and go through the open front doors.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Notably averted. Ray starts out as the least sympathetic playable character and is expressly only in it for the story, and the fame that comes with it. He has the least personal stake in the proceedings and is seemingly rather unscrupulous. He is, however, the only playable character guaranteed to survive to the end, and his journalistic instincts turn out to be dead-on regarding the Antevorta conspiracy — which he can then choose to risk his life to reveal to the world, with his website being the only outlet that will run the story, in one of the Multiple Endings.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Any time you put Ray and Bennett together, it basically turns into this. Becomes mandatory after The Reveal.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: J.P. Tortoise seems to have cornered the security market of the city, minting a reputation as one of the foremost security experts in the world. He did it all to fund his love of collecting, solving, and crafting his own intricate puzzle boxes. The boxes in turn serve as a testbed for some of the technology he uses in his business, but if he could make the boxes his entire business, he would.
  • But Thou Must!: When Bennett asks what's going on at the hospital, trying to let him in on it will lead to Anna interrupting Ed before he can speak (at this point they're not sure if they can trust the police). In fact, this is explored throughout the game: Anna being killed before she can make the choice, the Eleven Foundation's master plan, the fact that the game rewinds when you fail a (timed) puzzle, etc... all refer to how we never really have free will and every choice and event in life is always calculated and controlled by an unseen force.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Antevorta" database pops up at the beginning, before being mostly forgotten in all the Resonance-related shenanigans. Turns out they're pretty closely linked...
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Ed's explanation of how Resonance technology could be weaponised. Can also count as a case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, if you decide to kill Ed in the final confrontation.
  • The Chessmaster: The Eleven Foundation is impossibly influential. They can also actually predict the future by crunching available data. The Big Bad, however, is Ed, who, despite having been manipulated by the Eleven Foundation himself, has since gone rogue in order to stop them from putting Antevorta into operation. He plays a mean game of Xanatos Speed Chess, insinuating himself into Anna's life to gain access to her uncle's secrets, framing Bennett to divert suspicion from himself, then rapidly putting another Resonance weapon to destroy Antevorta. It's just a shame he's so quick to resort to killing people to achieve his ends.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ray's contact Ozzy is a downplayed example. He has a thing for The Wizard of Oz, what with his emerald green cubicle concealed behind a red curtain and how he announces himself as "The Great and Powerful Oz".
  • Contrived Coincidence: Ed and Anna just happened to share a train that morning. Ed set the whole thing up.
  • Cowboy Cop: Bennett. Made obvious when he breaks stakeout protocol to track the suspect during his introduction.
  • Death by Flashback: Anna shares a series of flashbacks with her uncle, who dies at the end of the first act. Anna is the only character out of the four that gets these flashbacks, and her childhood abuse at the hands of her father is interwoven with clues to the mystery. Guess what happens to her at the end of the second act.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Cleverly done. The first scene is played from Ed's perspective, but Anna has the deepest connection to the central mystery. During the four individual scenes, Anna gets the most backstory, while Ed feels like the one whose personality we get see the most from the inside. The two of them feel like the "real" protagonists of the four Player Characters... until The Reveal, when Ed kills Anna, turning the game into an Salt and Pepper Buddy Cop Show between Bennett and Ray.
    • Anna has the most motivation to solve the murder and gets alot of scenes that involves her. making you think she is just as important as Ed up until the reveal.
  • Developers' Foresight: While your options as a player are by no means unlimited, there are many puzzles in the game that have more than one possible solution, using different combinations of the four characters you control. Unlocking all the achievements requires finding several of these alternative solutions.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just as Anna uncovers that Morales was her father, not uncle, she's unceremoniously shot in the Ed.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Ed's real name is Tolstoy Eddings. So he understandably sticks with "Ed".
  • False Flag Operation: The game begins with a series of terrorist attacks in the world's major cities. The Eleven Foundation were never interested in Resonance as a power source. Instead, they wanted a weapon of mass destruction that could be blamed on terrorists and used to create global fear to justify the use of Antevorta, their Big Brother supercomputer capable of tracking every electronic activity of every person on Earth.
  • First-Name Basis: During the prelude to the final confrontation with Ed, Bennett refrains from addressing Ray as "Jimmy", much to the latter's pleasant surprise.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Sanguine - Ray, a sometimes flirty, always outspoken writer.
    • Choleric - Bennett, a no-nonsense, driven detective.
    • Melancholic - Ed, a socially awkward mathematician.
    • Phlegmatic - Anna, a compassionate but secretly-insecure doctor.
  • Foreshadowing: Regarding The Reveal.
    • There are several hints early in the game that Ed isn't what he seems. For one thing, he keeps saying that Dr. Morales is hurt inside the lab, even though he has no proof of this, and never tries to call Dr. Morales' phone. For another, he starts to get kind of... manic... whenever anyone starts discussing Resonance technology. Most obvious, though, is his reaction to Anna giving him a peck on the cheek - despite all the ship teasing between them before now, Ed doesn't look happy, or flustered, or even very surprised. He looks downcast.
    • Even more subtle are the two Red Herring notes that point toward Bennet (not counting the letter Bennet dropped by accident). In both instances where Ed hands something of Dr. Morales to Anna, she immediately finds a note attached to it. Coincidence?
  • Functional Addict: Ozzy, a friend of Ray who works at the National Credit Service. He has a comfocil addiction, but it doesn't interfere with his work... except when he runs out and gets panicky. You have to replenish his fill (this can also be done with a placebo) in order to get Morales' financial records.
  • Genre Shift: It starts out as a sci-fi thriller Teamwork Puzzle Game where you can change party members on the fly. Ed's segments tend to involve more mechanical puzzles, Ray's reading lore and sussing out details, while Bennett's segments are a straight-up detective show, and Anna's nightmarish dream sequence flashbacks lean into psychological horror and focus on mood and atmosphere rather than logic. After The Reveal, you can't switch out party members and the game tends to play like a slightly more straightforward inventory-based adventure game.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Happens once or twice with Dr. Morales talking to his niece, most notably with the password to the Resonance vault — Te Prometo, or 'I promise'.
  • Guide Dang It!: The aptly-named "Insane" achievements fall under this trope. One requires you to go through a Time Trial without taking steps to increase the amount of time you have, and the other requires you to solve a four-part block-puzzle without being able to see the blocks. It may be that the developers meant they cannot be unlocked unless you know exactly what you're doing, either because you've played the game before or because you're looking at a walkthrough.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: With a dash of Karmic death. In one of the endings, Eddings is taken out by one of the Resonance devices stolen from Morales.
    • Also happens to the Eleven Foundation, courtesy of Raymond Abbot, if the player so chooses. They manipulated him so the AbbotPost could become a reliable news source. But because of Ed's betrayal, they also had to reveal themselves to him, providing enough information to expose them. Normally, as Ray says, nobody would have listened to a mere blog written by an independant journalist. But since he exposed several scandals before...
  • How We Got Here: The game opens with the news report showing over a dozen cities world wide having suffered some sort of an attack, before jumping back 60 hours earlier.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ray is not a "blogger".
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Anna's "Uncle" Javi is her real father, through an affair with his brother's wife. Dante knew. This seems to have played a part in Anna's father becoming The Alcoholic, abusive monster that he was.
  • Meet Cute: Ed and Anna are riding the subway together. Anna drops her lucky coin which rolls to Ed's feet...Except it turns out he was actually shadowing her and attempting to build a rapport.
  • The Mole: As it is hinted right from the beginning that at least one of the Player Characters are not completely trustworthy, the player is left in state of mild paranoia and speculation right up until the The Reveal.
  • Multiple Endings: Three, with two closely related.
    • New World Order endings: At the end of the game, you kill Ed with the resonance technology, and Ray gets to choose whether to post an article exposing the Eleven Foundation or drop the charges to go back to his normal life. If he does, the organisation initially succeeds in getting the US government to adopt Antevorta, but their victory is short-lived as they are ultimately exposed and arrested, but the two heroes are still on the run; if he doesn't, Antevorta is taken on by every nation in the world, just as the Eleven Foundation wanted.
    • Lesser of Two Evils ending: Alternatively, Ray can be sympathetic to Ed's cause and agree to help him destroy Antevorta - but Detective Bennett and several hospital patients die, and it's not clear how much damage has actually been done to the Eleven Foundation.
  • Necessarily Evil: Ed honestly hates himself for his actions, but he has a point when he says the Antevorta project would be a thousand times worse than the few dozen more deaths to stop it. The problem is that he never considered a third option, but he believes he's in way too deep to stop now — he's already a murderer.
  • Nice Guy: Ed's kind of dorky, shy and nervous. None of this changes after he's revealed to be the villain.
  • The Nicknamer: Not to the typical degree, but Bennett relies on these from time to time, such as "Sugar" for Anna, and "Jimmy" for Raynote .
    • The latter is lampshaded late in the game, with Ray calling him out and explaining that Jimmy Olsen was in fact a photographer, not a reporter. Bennet retorts by requesting whether he should call him "Lois Lane" then.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Eddings says he only shot Anna because she wouldn't talk to him about her decision. Even if Anna/the player chose to save the data, he couldn't see it from outside the bars.
  • Precision F-Strike: Bennet delivers quite a few.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Bennett introduces himself with one of these. That's the only time he does it, though.
  • Red Herring: Detective Bennett is not the traitor. The seemingly incriminating letter he drops is about something else.
  • Repressed Memories: Anna's nightmares are caused by the recollection of how her "father" really died: her "uncle" Javi (her biological father through an affair with her mother) knocked him down a flight of stairs, then fled.
  • The Reveal: Approximately two-thirds through the game, after you locate Dr. Morales' hidden vault, Anna is given the choice whether to save or destroy the research, only for Ed to shoot her in the head, reveal himself to behind the murder of Dr Morales, and try to kill Ray and Bennett.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Anna is the only girl out of the four, and one of the only female characters in the game, period.
  • Sphere of Destruction: How Resonance-explosions operate. Anything sitting inside the sphere... isn't, afterwards.
  • Straight Gay: Bennett is implied to be gay and to have been involved with a fellow officer, who was forced out of his job after being outed by a reporter. This explains his letter and his mistrust of Ray.
  • Transparent Closet: Played with. No character says that Bennett is gay other than Bennett himself, and his orientation is never questioned... but several lines of dialogue with police officers suggest Bennett's potential secret isn't as well hidden as he'd like. Considering that a fellow cop was fired after being outed, it's understandable that Bennett's friends would avoid saying anything direct.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tolstoy "Ed" Eddings. He's not wrong when he says that the Eleven Foundation needs to be stopped by any means necessary, and he's obviously torn up about his actions. On the other hand, he's a multiple murderer who betrayed everyone close to him.
  • Western Terrorists: The opening Flash Forward shows scenes of terror from around the globe. Naturally the perpetrators are revealed through the course of the plot.
  • Wild Card: Ray, who has the least connection to ongoing events. No matter what happens, he's got one hell of a story. He can even choose to support either Bennett or Ed in the final confrontation. If he chooses the former Bennett leaves it up to him if he want publish the truth about the The Eleven Foundation and potentially bring both of them in trouble, or just delete the article and walk away.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Ed and Anna form a pretty immediate connection. She even asks him to accompany her to her other uncle's grave for moral support. Then, near the end of the story, he shoots her in the head.