Blackwell Unbound is the second game in the Blackwell Series, the first being The Blackwell Legacy. This game is what you’d expect from its previous instalment, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. But as well as being similar to its predecessor, it is also very different. However, this change wasn’t a bad thing at all. It offered new art styles and voices to enjoy, instead of just playing a reboot of the same game.
Blackwell Unbound focuses on Lauren Blackwell, Rosangela’s Aunt who is mentioned heavily in the first game, and her spirit guide Joey Mallone. Again, it is your job to help spirits into the other world. I was very pleased to see the return of Joey, as his character brings humour to a game which is essentially about the process of death.
The story in this game was great and managed to perfectly develop the groundwork that was already laid by The Blackwell Legacy. In this game Lauren and Joey have two cases to solve: one involving the spirit an old jazz musician, the other about a crazy ghost lady who believes that a construction site is her apartment building. There was also no particular track in the order they had to be solved, so this offered freedom of choice. I preferred the story aspect in this game a lot more than I did in the previous one. I found Blackwell Unbound to give a real taste of what the Blackwell Series is about, whereas The Blackwell Legacy was more about the history and getting to know the overall idea of the series.
The gameplay is mostly like the first game, with the addition of being able to take control of Joey any time you please. Just like the last game, you have the ability to inspect all the items in your environment. This feature felt a lot more polished this time around, mainly because of the amount of detail that was put into it as practically everything could have something said about it.
The puzzles were also very difficult in this game, figuring out what to do could take a lot of thought and time. And with the ability to control Joey, it means that there are double the possibilities to solve the problem. But if you enjoyed this aspect in the first game, then you definitely won’t be disappointed.
I found the voice acting in this game was better than the last one; unfortunately the last game was let down due to the annoying voice and personality of the protagonist. The range of different environments is interesting, as it gives you the chance to talk to very different characters to help you on your cases. Without giving too much away, I liked how there was more of a main villain in Blackwell Unbound because in The Blackwell Legacy it was a bit all over the place. This story line leads from then end of this game and onto the next, which really develops the game’s timeline.
I was really impressed at how the developers caught the atmosphere and tone of the time period the game was set in, it made me take the game seriously instead of seeing it as a half baked game one man had cooked up in a day. The music throughout the game also fit very nicely, so adding this to the mix really completed the ambiance.
Overall I think Blackwell Unbound is amazing, and is definitely superior to the previous game. And to think it’s been made on a fairly small budget makes the quality of this game even more impressive. The atmosphere is almost perfect and the art style is a nice new change, and the depth of the story was really great to see. I was glad to see the gameplay had not changed, otherwise it would have felt like a completely different game all together.
All in all, if you enjoyed the previous game then you are going to love this one. But definitely play them in the intended order or you will get extremely confused. Because all of this and it managing to exceed my high expectations, I’m going to give Blackwell Unbound a 9.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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