The Blackwell Legacy

The Blackwell Legacy Review

With the exams taking place these days, I don’t really feel like playing anything too complicated lately. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, sobbing on my Steam shelf for several months now bears witness to my brain’s inability to munch on too complex reflex skills. Ow well, the good thing is that there’s always adventure games. Point and click is really comfortable and reasonable stories are always soothing. That’s how I stumbled upon this little jewel. The Blackwell Legacy is the first part in a trilogy about Rosangela, a girl who has the uncanny ability to help dead tormented people (read ghosts) to embrace the afterlife. Of course, her gift comes with a curse, but a rather charming one, in the person of Joey Mallone, who looks as if he’s just left the Mad Men cast with a rather bluish glow. Of course, some might say this is an overused cliche, but before tossing this game to the ‘been there done that’ dustbin, you should think about giving it a chance for the really professional and warm style in which the story is told. It also gave me a sort of soothing feeling as if hey, there’s life after death anyway! Yet to find out.

The Blackwell Legacy is otherwise your classic point and click adventure game for breakfast on a tiny plate. It can easily be completed in somewhere around an hour if you’re not up to talking to everybody or you don’t get stuck as I did (see below). A nice addition is the ability to combine clues in your notebook to bring the story forward, but some of the so called inferences do not do logic much justice. Dialogues are all of them funny with a twist, with the exception of a scene about peeing pills which kind of seemed forced into the game. Dave Gilbert himself admitted he inserted it during a brain-dead moment , in the audio commentary. Which, by the way, is great for developers on the rise (it gave me a very deep perspective upon integrating audio into an adventure game for example, or the pain you have to go through when you forget to record a line).  The voice acting is also very professional for a game of this caliber, but the sound stutters each time a new scene is loaded, which is very annoying when you have your headphones on. Blame the engine I guess.

Unfortunately, Rosangela is not a very memorable character yet and the situation she is put in in the very beginning of the game actually creates a lot of confusion around her personality: she doesn’t have the guts to interrupt her neighbor from a public recital, yet you’ll soon find out that this introvert is quite the news reporter and private investigator. Is this part of her becoming or just a poorly sketched character sample? Episode two: Blackwell Unbound will surely tell.

While I play on, check the tips below. You might just stumble into these issues and why spoil a perfectly mysterious and charming experience?!

You got stuck as you can’t pick up Joann’s journal

You have a communication problem. Most likely you forgot to talk to Joey about his ‘superpowers’ as a ghost. So make sure you go to your apartment and you two folks get to know each other a bit better. Then you can go back to the dorms and call Joey on the phone and ‘request a performance’.  Problem solved. As a general rule, if you get stuck in this game it is not because you’re not doing something right (the puzzles are not at all challenging) but because you forgot to revisit a location or ask the right question.

Every time you ALT+TAB, the game skips all conversation

At first, I simply solved this problem by saving and reloading the game, but that wouldn’t work all the time and I would have to close the game and restart it. Simpler solution? If you REALLY need to  switch to your desktop, do it using the Windows key. This solved the issue, at least for me. Tell me if it works for you.

You can buy the whole Blackwell bundle directly from the developer website or go the classy way: gog.com.

Ana Todor is a Computer Scientist with a playful and literary twist. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, Digital Interactive Entertainment.

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