Having just finished playing through certain lovely bits of Blackwell Deception, the fourth installment in the Blackwell saga, I'm elated to announce that a) the game has been officially announced, b) its hefty demo is waiting to be downloaded, c) pre-orders have been made available and d) it's a very good adventure indeed. Really! You can verify everything I've said by clicking over to the very special web-space Wadjet Eye Games have joyously created.
But what is Blackwell Deception? Well, just in case you're having some sort of memory lapsus dear reader, let me remind you it, just like predecessors, is a commercial, indie, point-and-click adventure with traditional yet interesting mechanics, a full voice-over, a lovely soundtrack and excellent pixel-art, retro-esque graphics. It also is the latest entry in a series all about guiding psychic detectives Rosa and Joey (only one of them is corporeal and alive, mind) through intriguing and slightly dark mysteries and having them lead stray ghost to eternal rest, while modestly saving the day.
Actually, scrap that, here's what I'll do instead: I'll link you to understanding and save all them precious words for the thing's review. Cunning, eh? Just have a look at the Gnome's Lair reviews of Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and Blackwell Convergence and you'll sort everything out. Failing that, there's also a pretty enlightening Dave Gilbert interview available for your reading pleasure.
Now, as this very post is supposed to be a preview, I wont go into much detail about Blackwell Deception, but will admit that I was once again pleasantly surprised by the fact the series is far from stagnating. The games do impressively seem to be getting bigger, better and more polished with every episode released and I can't help but get the feeling that the Blackwell series is maturing to become a true classic. Its two playable characters constantly evolve and become both more interesting and believable, the integration of gameplay and story becomes all the more seamless, subtle innovations are introduced and everything feels so much more polished.
Deception, in particular, does look better than any Blackwell game before it, sports the customary top quality voice acting and soundtrack, and is fantastically animated by brilliant pixel artist and game designer Ben 304. What's more, the interface has been further streamlined, the game is much lengthier than the previous chapters and the plot -besides being perfectly standalone- does actually progress the wider over-arching story. And don't get me started on the characers' portraits, the multitude of new ghosts or the simple elegance of certain puzzles; that might just end up being too spoilery.
As for Blackwell's New York, well, it remains as Woody Allen-esque as ever... Slightly dark, well thought out, occasionally funny, vaguely threatening, rich, interesting and definitely pre-order worthy.
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