So here it is, the second instalment of the series, Blackwell 2: Unbound, and I’m wiggling my fingers in anticipation to have a good follow up game running on my iPhone. The last episode was good, a touch short, but it was good. Captivating, mind boggling, and with a very strong narrative.
Unbound starts off with a different protagonist, but, with the same ghost, which kind of threw me a little. I couldn’t work out if I had missed anything in the previous episode. It’s apparent that there’s some form of tension going on between Lauren and Joey, but it’s not clear what’s the cause for that. After a heated argument Lauren goes to the balcony for a smoke and refuses to leave until she’s finished her cigarette.
I did actually wait for about five real time minutes but realised I actually had to do something to progress – thanks for the indication! – so by tapping randomly on the screen I found the drop-down inventory just like from the previous episode, except this time I noticed there’s some letters on the border. Unknowingly I tap the letter, and suddenly the camera focuses onto Joey. What!? Character switching!? This will be interesting later on!
I had a look around the apartment, and decided, after looking at everything I could, to look at a picture. Hang on though, that picture looks familiar! It’s the same picture that, Rosa had in her apartment in Legacy. We have gone back in time to when Rosa’s relatives were alive. Now that’s an interesting turn of events because we now get to experience what we had only previously heard about.
You’re thrown into what appears to be halfway through a journal of investigations, and you’ve got two more left to sort out. The first I chose to see was the mysterious music that had been reported. Unsurprisingly, a ghost appears, he’s playing the saxophone and likes to ignore you. I have noticed an annoying thing with the dialogue options; it seems to make you feel as if you’re creating your choices on what to say, but then you realize that the majority of the time you’re being made to go through all of the options before anything happens or before you realize you need to do something before they work. This was the same in the first game, as was it the same in the games of a similar nature years and years ago.
I only bring it up, because with today’s advancement in games and narrative structuring I would have expected some form of feeling like you’ve actually made a choice or at least multiple answers for the same question.
So there’s two ghosts and each one comes with some hard going research needed before you can help them. Sounds normal, except the researching stage has been improved upon since Legacy. There’s more things to look into with the introduction to a second ghost, there’s more locations to venture to, and there’s even more going back and forth between areas, EVEN more if you got confused and stuck.
Ghosts are irritating, and you can’t help but share the main duo’s irritation throughout. The switch character option is a really nifty and well executed idea, but it could have had a shortcut of some kind similar to it’s PC sibling where you just pressed L or J to switch. It’s a really good system
though and Gilbert makes it work beautifully by using, Joey as access to locations that Lauren cannot get too, and using Lauren as access to things Joey cannot touch. Being a ghost must be hard.
Unbound is a really strong follow up from Legacy, the music is perfect, the characters bounce off each other really well and convey a great amount of struggle and trust at the same time. The investigation periods are nice and long and make you really think, thanks to the introduction of two cases to work. I’m glad it’s longer, and I’m glad that there’s more of a story developing as it progresses. Looking forward to the third!