The Blackwell Legacy

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The Blackwell Legacy (demo available)

MSRP: $4.99 PC / $2.99 mobile

Platform: Windows, iOS

Release: 12/23/06

The Blackwell Legacy is the first in a five-part series of adventure games by Wadjet Eye Games.   Both visually and mechanic-wise, it hearkens back to the heyday of adventure gaming, which is great for the nostalgia value, but not necessarily the best thing for making a good game. For the sake of comparison, 2006 was the same year that Dreamfall: The Longest Journey was released.

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I’m really torn about the Blackwell Legacy; I’m absolutely going to play the entire game through, but I’m hesitant to recommend it for a variety of reasons.  The first couple of puzzles verge on nonsensical, and I had some early issues with not being able to close out of an inventory item I was viewing.  Even as far as adventure game logic goes, it’s not that logical, and I found myself resorting to using a walkthrough more than once. Most recently, missing one dialogue option has left me in a place where I am going to have to reload an earlier save, as I cannot find a way to progress.

Which sounds like a laundry list of complaints, I know, but I’m completely intrigued by the story, I’m loving the characters and the soundtrack, and although I’m not dazzled by the voice acting, it’s pretty decent. In an early scene, the protagonist has a moment where she is almost totally shut down by social anxiety, and although I know it was just away to slide another little puzzle in there, it endeared me to the character.

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There is quite a bit of filler before you get to the meat of the story (probably about a third based on my current playtime vs. the average completion time), and that’s a shame because once the story gets rolling, it’s a great little mystery. I also really like the twist that instead of the game showing you exactly how you’re going to respond in a conversation, it only gives you options for tone (and I was frequently surprised by what came out of my character’s mouth).

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For anyone who’s not particularly interested in the Blackwell series as a whole, or who loathes having to resort to walkthroughs, I’d recommend taking a pass on this one. For veteran adventure gamers and people with a lot of patience, it’s a fun conceit and I’m interested to see where it goes as the series progresses.  Pick it up in a bundle if you can, and definitely look for a sale. At full price, it’s barely squeaking by as a reasonable value for the money, as you’re not likely to get any replay value.

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