Rotating Header Image

Review – The Blackwell Convergence (PC)

Wadjet Eye Games | July 22, 2009

So the last Adventure title I tried, Runaway, was kind of a convoluted guess fest that required the use of a guide to complete.  Blackwell Convergence was, fortunately, quite a different story.  This is the third in a series of games following Rosangela Blackwell and her spirit companion Joey Mallone.  Rose is able to communicate with spirits and her and Joey work to help displaced spirits move on from the locations they haunt.  It is presented through your standard Adventure Games format of static scenes with animated characters and various interactions and dialogues.

Though this is the third game in the series, the game opens with an unrelated case to help the players get accustomed to some of the gameplay mechanics and in general how helping the spirits out works.  Your first ghost is a ghost standing on a ledge preparing to jump to his death.  This is almost as ridiculous as it seems since he is a ghost, but it does help to serve a good purpose to anyone not familiar with the series (presumably, I was not familiar when I started).  Basically, the ghosts are sort of stuck reliving some sort of final moment from their lives.  In this case, the guy had jumped and now his Ghost is stuck in this look haunting his old office.  The interactions also help push the idea that the spirits do not always see the world around them clearly as Rose can pretend to be the guy’s ex wife or an interested investor yet the ghost doesn’t notice that she is the same person or that she is not his ex wife.  It serves the purpose well of pointing out that, the ghosts are confused which is part of why they have not moved on.

in case you didn’t figure it out this comes up again rather cleverly during the first case of the main story.  The first spirit is an actor who died mysteriously of a heart attack.  As you approach him, he starts rambling seemingly random lines to you but it quickly becomes apparent he’s trying to finish his final scene.  Solve the puzzle and things are able to move on.

Now, simply chasing spirits and jumping through hoops for them could be a little droll after a while but the plot really picks up after the first case when it becomes apparent that not everything is quite what it appears with the death of the actor, or several other recent deaths for that matter.  Rose and Joey soon find themselves chasing a mysterious rogue spirit while trying to piece together a murderous plot.

The plot itself is certainly what dives this style of game and the plot of Blackwell Convergence is pretty well done and interesting.  Many seemingly unrelated points come up along the way but ultimately everything wraps up fairly nicely.  Another point that I really love is that unlike 90% of all murder mysteries, you, the player, can actually manage to piece it together before the game gets there.  There is one thing I’ve always hated about mysteries is when some Deus Ex plot device is necessary to solve the puzzle that doesn’t shop up until the 11th hour.  Personally that style of plot device reeks of lazyness on the writer’s part.

The plot is also helped out by an excellent dialogue track.  All of the characters and lines are voice acted and all are distinctly different enough to keep them separated.  The presentation itself is all very nicely done.  The backgrounds and very attractive despite the retro 16bit style graphics and the interface is simple and easy to use.

The game mechanics themselves also have a few fun twists that I found interesting.  Rose has a computer in her apartment which is used frequently through out the plot to do searches for addresses or to check email.  There are points when you must switch to controlling Joey, who can walk through doors and walls and hang around unnoticed eavesdropping on conversations that Rose can’t listen in on.  There isn’t an excess of item collection throughout the game either, which makes some sense as realistically, a person isn’t going to be able to lug around 20 random items collected throughout the city.

The only real drawback, depending on one’s point of view, is that the game, much like a lot of modern Adventure titles it seems, can’t be failed.  You pick and choose dialogue options and any point of failure, such as say, reciting the incorrect lines from the previously mentioned Actor’s Final Scene, simply result in a reset of the dialogue.  There are some action scenes later in the game during the climax that could potentially lead to failure if the player doesn’t react but i did not wait to test out if the game would actually punish you for doing nothing.  I don’t want to say it hand holds you through the plot, but it is linear and generally you won’t get lost as to where to go next.  So like I said, this is only a drawback depending on how you feel about difficult and not so difficult games.

So in closing, the previous game Runaway came off as a bit Advanced and bad for adventure beginners, The Blackwell Convergence would be an excellent choice to get into the genre.  It looks nice, the puzzles are intuitive , it has an interesting plot, this all works to make this game very accessible to a pretty broad audience. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.