The Blackwell Bundle

There's more to the Blackwell Bundle than meets the eye.

By RON, Posted 29 Mar 2012

Games that have extraordinary stories told in pictures are always worth playing no matter how old they get. After playing Blackwell: Deception almost a year back, I couldn’t take my thoughts away from its story, and wanted to know how this fiction actually commenced. Luckily for me; Wadjet Eye Games had it all sorted out with a bundle of three episodes, narrating the story of a legacy; surrounding some astonishing incidents. Believe me! Once you start playing, it’s going to be very hard leaving all three games incomplete.

The Blackwell Legacy

blackwell legacy review

The first episode of the bundle is Blackwell Legacy. Where you mostly play as Rosangela Blackwell, a freelance journalist, and her inherited spirit guide Joey Mallone. As the game kicks on, Rosa starts to discover that she’s not alone even after losing her only family member; her aunt who died after a dreadful 20 years of struggle in a hospital. Since this episode is the foundation of Rosa’s legacy; the story takes its time to introduce her inherited powers as a medium, and the apparent spirit guide Joey. This prologue takes place when she is asked to cover a story on a suicide of a young college girl. The plot begins to thicken when she starts exploring the suicide case, and meeting other characters from the game. While Rosa gets acquainted with Joey and her responsibility to free the haunted spirits, she discovers that there is more than just one spirit to be freed.

Identical to any point-and-click game, this is also played from a third person view. You move your characters by clicking the mouse button and pointing towards any direction – as well as interacting with objects by clicking on them. Rosa carries a notebook where she keeps all her records for analyzing, and there’s an inventory to keep various objects. Joey too will have access to Rosa’s notebook while helping her investigate any scenario. Even though there are several objects Rosa can interact with, she will only carry which are relevant to a case. As Joey being a spirit, other than another spirit there won’t be any objects for him to interact with. Except he can move light objects such as papers or pins by blowing winds. During the game Joey won’t be able to move from one place to another, unless Rosa moves. He has this compulsion for not being able to move 30 feet away from Rosa.

To solve any case, you must gather sufficient leads. One lead can be combined with another to construct a new lead. During the conversation with victims, suspects or witnesses, both Rosa and Joey access her notebook to jot down direct discussions. Any new clue found will be automatically added to her notebook. Clues aren’t only found through discussions; there are clues to be discovered from the scenarios they visit. Even though most of the time you either control only one character, there are situations where both Rosa and Joey need to be interacted at the same time. If you are looking for direct puzzles to solve, this game will certainly disappoint you. Because the whole game itself is a puzzle; and everything done from the start till the end are parts of solving it. As the game being an exploratory mystery type, it’s understandable the lack of direct puzzles to deal with. What disappoints most is the game being extremely short as it only offers one small case to solve. If you play the game without developer’s commentary, it won’t take you more than four hours to finish it. If it wasn’t just an episode of a bundle, it could’ve been somewhat disappointing. Then again, after finishing the game; you’ll get the feeling that Blackwell Legacy was made only to introduce your characters, how they interact and play, and the establishment of this extremely interesting story.

 

Blackwell Unbound

blackwell unbound

Even though this episode comes after Blackwell Legacy, hypothetically, before there was a Blackwell Legacy; there was this Blackwell Unbound. As here in the Unbound, you travel backward and play as Rosa’s aunt Lauren Blackwell. Having said so, tales of this episode took place during 1973 in New York when Lauren was still capable and not yet hospitalized. You read a lot about Lauren Blackwell while playing Legacy, how she got isolated from her family, how her mother got acquainted with Joey and more. I personally found this episode more intriguing as it reveals a lot of history which were only touched upon briefly in the earlier episodes Legacy and Deception. It also shares a bit of Joey’s history, and how he has been with Blackwell family for generations.

As the game kicks on, it immediately provides you with two different dilemmas to deal with. Similar to any Blackwell game, you do the same exertion here too. In one case you solve a mysterious murder of a woman in a construction site, and in another, you try to figure out the reason behind a strange saxophone playing on the Roosevelt Island. You obviously deal with the haunted spirits helping them to move on to their next lives, other than finding the murderers. But the story here actually helps you to get to the bottom of both the incidents. And in the end it turns out so unpleasing yet interesting, which will explain why Lauren had to spend 20 years in the hospital as a patient. As referred earlier, this episode helped me to understand the concept of the Blackwell series, which Dave Gilbert expertly inscribed throughout all the games.

 

Blackwell Convergence

blackwell convergence review

The last and most intriguing episode of this bundle is the Blackwell Convergence. When you start playing it, you know everything you need to know about Rosa’s family history, Joey’s inheritance, and your purpose with the game. Here you again play as Rosa, and Joey’s doings remain the same. The differences you are going to notice are the changes in Rosa’s approach towards Joey, and how she has accepted this awkward job. As predicted, you are going to deal with new characters, while some old ones from the Legacy and even Unbound make cameo appearances. The game straightforwardly puts you in a scenario helping a spirit to move on. While you start playing, you’ll notice the graphical differences as the story moved on to the present from 1970s. Things certainly look better and more eye-catching. Surprisingly not only the graphical improvements are noticeable; the voice-over somehow feels better too, even though the crew primarily stays the same throughout all three episodes.

The gameplay here is a little more engaging too. You need to carefully observe every clue you are able to find. Other than a basic tutorial, during the game you’ll have to find out the hints which will help you to deal with some sequential conversations, or even to crack someone’s Oggle email account. Unlike the previous episodes, you really need to carefully go through the clues you gather, even sometimes sending Joey to listen in on a conversation; or to read from a piece of paper. You’ll have to learn a few things before complementing someone’s work, and sometime using someone’s pet to discover his address. These all will take place in this breathtaking episode. What I felt lacked in the previous two episodes is the story being a little too predictable and short. But in Convergence, the balance felt just right. While you solve new mysteries brought into this episode, the story brings back a lot of happenings from the past as well. This only enhances the gameplay experience, and gives you a comprehensive feeling about the series.

 

I personally consider that sometimes it’s essential to take breaks from the usual games we play now-a-days, and spend some time with titles like the Blackwell series. We’ve been very consistent publishing articles covering games from Wadjet Eye, that’s only because we believe they deserve the attention. Also because they bring priceless gaming experiences with titles such as Gemini Rue, Da New Guy: Day of the Jackass and this Blackwell Series. Games like these might not look intense, but there's more to the Blackwell Bundle than meets the eye.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Wadjet Eye Games
Developer(s): Wadjet Eye Games
Genres: Point And Click
Themes: Adventure
Release Date: 2009-10-01

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