I'm a pretty harsh critic of most games, I find myself sampling games and stopping relatively quickly. I have a distaste of engaging in games I've played 5 different variations of before. We live in a time where innovative game-play and rich storytelling are hard to come by.
I have a special place in my heart for adventure games and have always ached to see the potential of the genre come to light again. IGN said the story of broken age felt crafted with the skill of a pixar movie and I feel this is a good comparison. Adventure games are a medium that in amateur hands can create a world that asks us to progress in an illogical way, through a story that isn't crafted properly for the medium and is often out of touch with the real world emotional reaction the player has at times during the game. I feel Day of the Tentacle, Longest Journey, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango may be the only four games to exceed in each of these ways.
It's a genre that isn't compatible with a formula, you have no gameplay to work with except individual action, reaction, effects in connection with the story. It's hard to argue that the story and setting are the most important thing in an adventure game, because of the dependency adventure games have on this I feel it is one of the truest mediums for storytelling in games, it is a sculpture from beginning to end, your satisfaction comes from your tie to the story without the luxury to keep the player interested with gameplay mechanics.
That being said, broken age is a beautiful sculpture that easily sits on top of my list of what adventure games can and should be. I found a childlike joy of appreciation when playing I haven't felt in some time, I invited my fiancee to embark this journey with me, she plays Vella and I play Shay. I can't wait for the 2nd act.
The hater-aid on this forum mostly stems to personal preferences for more difficult puzzles. This game has a rich story with puzzles, it isn't a game of rich puzzles with a story. Choices were made when this game was being made and from what I can tell they are due to a desire to stay true to a well crafted story, the puzzles in the game have to serve the setting and story first. The story doesn't serve the puzzles. It's better then that.
A puzzle connects the player with the environment the story progresses in. To shoehorn additional puzzles into the game that don't serve the story would cheapen it. Not all parts of a good story call to try to overcome endless obstacles.
When a character in an adventure game comes to a difficult situation, that burden of resolution comes onto the player and if the game is reasonable, you can come to a logical decision to overcome the obstacle. When that time comes a well made puzzle is satisfying. When it is forced or illogical your madly clicking on anything and start to feel like the game is an evil force you want to beat into submission.
This is a genre defining game. And it is accessible to everyone, veterans who appreciate the incredibly rich polish every scene and dialogue has to offer and more importantly to everyone else, who don't care to open and close the refrigerator 100 times.