In Now Playing PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Phil seeks adventure in the marvelous 80 Days.
I’ve heard some amazing anecdotes from 80 Days players. Stories of mystery, adventure, and quiet, sad failure. Looking over the achievement list, it’s clear that a lot can happen on Fogg and Passepartout’s trip. It sounds rather exciting: a wager, a time limit, and guaranteed hijinks. I travel a lot, but the most eventful journey I’ve ever taken was in an unairconditioned train that stunk oppressively of human excrement. I’m in the mood for something more romantic.
Instead I get mild adventure, pleasant conversation and accidental efficiency. We depart from London, and I quickly establish Passepartout as Fogg’s unflappable valet. I will be calm and dependable; a man of the world, intrigued at the march of progress. Each time we arrive at a city, I plan out the route ahead—sometimes negotiating an earlier departure, other times exploring in search of faster or more direct routes.
Before long it’s day 19 and we’re in Istanbul. Some canny trading means we’ve got £11,000 in the bank. In all, it’s been pretty uneventful. There was an incident with some pirates, but they were actually pretty chill. Most games reward efficiency, but I think here it’s to my detriment. Taking a train to Iran, I catch a passenger using suction cups to scale the length of the train’s exterior. That seems mysterious, but, before anything comes of it, we’re in Tehran. I talk to some blacksmiths instead. They seem nice.
Herat, Quetta and Lahore fly by. It’s day 28, and we’re in Dehli. I find a retired airship pilot rumoured to have the fastest ship in the world. I goad her into proving her claim by taking us to Hong Kong. She challenges me to produce £10,000. What the hell, it’s time for some adventure. The pilot hates the English, and has called her ship the Death of the Empire. The whole journey passes without incident. We’ve been travelling for just over 30 days, and we’re already in China. Why am I so good at this?
Finally, in Hong Kong, some intrigue. An undercover detective claims Fogg is wanted for stealing £50,000. He drugs me with opiates in a plot to loosen my tongue and I end up wandering the streets looking for my master. I hear a rumour that someone English-looking boarded an airship for Yokohama. I follow. I’m penniless, so I join the circus in the hope of earning some cash. There, in the crowd at my first performance, I spot Fogg.
It feels like I’m collecting the first half of every story—pirates, train-scaling thieves, unscrupulous detectives all feel like plot threads I’ve misplaced before the payoff. I’m becoming increasingly reckless in the pursuit of drama. In Washington, I charter a flight to Ponta Delgada. As it leaves, I’m given an option: bribe the navigator to take us to London instead. It’s a gamble, given the airship’s fuel load. I take it happily. We crash outside of the UK. Hours later, a rescue ship picks us up and takes us the remaining distance. 67 days and only one life-threatening disaster. I’m a bit disappointed. Next time, I decide, I’ll get Fogg killed. That’ll be interesting.