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The Blackwell Legacy Review

The Blackwell Legacy is an intriguing point-and-click adventure game that follows a young woman named Rosangela Blackwell in the wake of her discovery that she can communicate with the dead. If you enjoy the mystery genre, then this might be the game for you.

The Blackwell Legacy Review

Introduction

The Blackwell Legacy is a point-and-click, investigative, adventure game developed by Wadjet Eye Games. It was first released in December of 2006, and it was released on Steam in January of 2012. It can be played on PC. The game has a retro style that is bound to invoke feeling of nostalgia in anyone that has played older point-and-click adventure games. 

The Blackwell Legacy is available for purchase on Steam for $4.99 

Story

The story follows a young woman in her early 30s named Rosangela (Rosa) Blackwell. The game begins with Rosa scattering the ashes of her recently deceased aunt Lauren Blackwell. During the first part of the game, we get a clear picture of Rosa's personality, habits, and family. She's lonely and has few friends, if any. She's very socially anxious and has difficulty interacting with others, but she's also headstrong and intelligent. She avoids confrontation, but once confronted she doesn't hold back. She works for a local newspaper writing book reviews and is constantly putting off her dream of writing her own novel. Her aunt was the only living family member that she had, both of her parents having died when she was a baby. Her aunt Lauren raised her until the age of 5, at which point Lauren had a mental break and had to be committed and kept in a comatose state for the remainder of her life. Despite Lauren being her only living relative, Rosa hardly knew her or remembered anything about her, although she still made a point to go visit Lauren in the hospital once a week.

After scattering Lauren's ashes, Rosa goes to speak with her aunt's doctor, one Dr. Quentin. Quentin tells her that Lauren's condition was hereditary. Her mother, Rosa's grandmother, came down with it when she was 55. Lauren was effected around the age of 40. Quentin goes on to warn Rosa that it's possible she may begin to experience similar symptoms and that she should come to him immediately if she does. He mentions that their cases were very unique, as far as schizophrenic breaks go, due to the fact that they were uncharacteristically similar. Both Lauren and her mother Patricia often called out to the same name: "Joey".

The Blackwell Legacy Review. Something I hope I never hear from a doctor.

Soon after this encounter, Rosa begins to experience painful headaches at more and more frequent intervals. She believes it's just due to exhaustion and stress and tries to ignore it. At this point she gets a call from her boss informing her that a young woman at a local college committed suicide that morning and he wants Rosa to write a piece about it. Rosa protests that she only does book reviews, but her boss insists and sends her on her way. This is where the whole mystery part of the game kicks into gear. The woman who killed herself was friendly, popular, smart, and had many dreams and goals. There weren't any signs or indications that she was unhappy in any way. 

While Rosa begins to investigate the circumstances surrounding the girl's death, and begins to piece together that not all is as it seems, the frequency and pain of her headaches reaches a peak and what appears to be a ghost materializes in her living room. A combination of shock and pain causes Rosa to faint.

The Blackwell Legacy Review. Hey, they said the name!

Upon awakening, the ghost explains that his name is Joey Mallone and that he's the personal spirit guide for the Blackwell family. He's an old-school private investigator who looks to have died sometime in the 1930s. His mannerisms, the way he speaks, and his personality all seem to fit that assertion. He explains that Rosa's grandmother Patricia was the first in the family to receive the gift, but she couldn't handle it and ended up being committed as a result. Lauren was able to handle it for a while, but when she started ignoring matters of the spirit world in order to raise Rosa, it eventually caused some sort of disconnect from reality. Mallone explains that he's bound to whomever he's supposed to guide and can't move more than about 30 feet away from that person. He complains that he was stuck in Lauren's hospital room for 25 years.

It takes a while for Rosa to accept that what she's seeing is real and not a hallucination or her own mental breakdown. Once she's calmed down, Mallone explains that Rosa's job is to find ghosts that are stuck, and help them pass on to the next life. After this revelation, and with the help of her ghostly PI, Rosa throws herself into the case of the girl that committed suicide, and quickly discovers that something supernatural is afoot. This is where the mystery truly begins.

The Blackwell Legacy Review. Pretty sure that's how ghosts are supposed to work.

Gameplay

The gameplay is the same as with any other point-and-click game. The mouse is the only control that the player can use. Clicking is used to move around, enter or exit an area, learn about an object or person, and interact with an object or person. There's no need for speed, no challenges based on time, and nothing that requires dexterity. The simplicity of the controls does not in any way take away from the game. The only issue that I had with the controls is that the mouse felt a bit sluggish and was annoying to move across the screen. In all fairness, I'm unsure if that was caused by the game or if the fault lies with my own computer. 

Even though the game is very linear and story-driven, that doesn't necessarily make it easy. There are puzzles that must be solved, and the main mystery of the story really does require you to piece it together and work it out on your own, otherwise you may end up completely stuck. One should pay attention to everything they see and hear, because it will likely be important at some later point. It's surprisingly easy to miss clues and doing so usually results in wandering around for many minutes trying to figure out how to advance the story. Such instances can be frustrating, but it's a very rewarding feeling once completed.

The Blackwell Legacy Review. How inviting.

The entire game can be completed in 2-3 hours and there's no extra content. It has very little replay value; when you've played it once, there's no real need to ever pick it up again. It's a good game for all age groups with no inappropriate content, but would likely be enjoyed most by people in their late teens to early twenties. 

graphics and audio

The graphics follow a retro, pixelated style. There's not much detail and there aren't any particularly interesting settings or backgrounds. However, the game doesn't need to rely on graphics exclusively. It's supposed to be about the story rather than how the story looks. The graphics don't add anything to the quality of the game, but they don't take away from the quality either. 

The soundtrack for this game is excellent. The background music fits the tone of the game perfectly and enhances every aspect of the story. It's relaxing and enjoyable to listen to. Likewise, the voice acting for the characters is very well done. Each character's voice comes across as fitting the personality of the character and it's a great help for immersion.

The Blackwell Legacy Review. If I spent 25 years in the same room, I'd be reluctant to go back too.

Conclusion

As interesting as the story is, the ending is very lackluster. I was caught off guard by the credits rolling because the game ended at a point that felt like the middle. There wasn't a satisfactory conclusion and it made the whole thing come across as rushed. There was no build up, there were no explanations, and there was no good reason for anything that happened in the last 20-30 minutes. We get no background information on Joey Mallone and we get very little background information on Rosa.

The story itself is good up until it starts to veer off course. I won't say that the game isn't worth playing, but players should be warned that they might not enjoy how everything turns out. The fact that the game is only five bucks makes it an easy purchase. I won't say it's worth it, but it's not not worth it, especially if the mystery genre is something one is particularly into. 

Personally speaking, I still plan on getting the rest of the games in the series. The characters felt like they had real personalities and there were more ups than downs as a whole. I'm curious to see how this all plays out and, as much as I didn't enjoy the ending, the plot is one that I want to see more of.

PROSCONS
+ Interesting story– Very unsatisfying ending
+ Characters have depth– Not enough detail for good immersion
+ Excellent soundtrack and voice acting– Lack of answers for certain questions
5
Average

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Gamer Delucks

Great review! I like how you give both the good and the bad. At such a low price point I may just give The Blackwell Legacy a try. Is there only one possible ending?

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