In the reviews of the previous entries in the series I’ve almost always opened with comments on how the art style has updated, Blackwell: Deception is the first game where it is simply refined, rather than leapt forward. It’s certainly seemed to have reached a point where technologically it can show everything it needs to, however, that said, the lighting/shading in this one are the big step
The start introduces us to the dynamic-duo, Rosa and Joey, about to board a boat with some cheesy, boat boarding humour, and the first thing I notice is the notebook has been replaced with a phone. Now Rosa can use her phone to write down notes, and also search the web on the go. It’s a big change, as it means that a lot of the puzzle solving can now be done on the go – this is a major technology jump in the series, and it also streamlines a lot of the puzzle solving by removing certain bits of travel time.
Rosa later gets a phone call from an old writing friend, Jeremy, who wants her help with an article, but when she visits him he’s a shadow of his former self. He’s dead.
Not that stops him from constantly whining that he feels really ill… some illness. After some questioning and walking around it becomes clear that he’s been murdered, so Rosa and Joey set off to dig deeper whilst finishing his article.
Further into the story, we meet an elderly man who isn’t your main interest at the time, he just resides in the same room as the woman you’re visiting. Suddenly though, as you’re leaving, he begins to call out Joey’s name. Joey questions him, but as soon as he realizes who the man is Joey forces Rosa to leave with haste. At this point all we know is the old man was asking Joey “Why” indicating something has happened in the past, but we have no idea thanks to Gilbert’s teasing storyline!
Could Joey have a dark past? Why is he so secretive?
When more digging becomes involved you find yourself meeting more and more characters, in fact, in Deception it comes across like there are maybe too many characters to keep on top off! It’s not that hard to follow, but there is quite a lot going on, in fact, I found myself physically reaching for my notebook and pen and writing down notes on whatever was going on because Rosa’s phone just made everything a bit too cluttered.
The story becomes far more heartfelt in the final scene, Rosa is being drained of energy, and Joey tries to bring her round by bringing up various moments from the past and tugging at her heartstrings. He is essentially trying to will her on to fight back. There’s a moment where he brings up Rosa’s relatives and it seems like he genuinely cares as he watched them both go crazy after they tried to stop their Medium duties, and he doesn’t want it to happen to Rosa.
It’s a strong fourth instalment, however the in-game interfaces seem to be becoming more fiddly and with stubby fingers, it’s hard to navigate. There also something I didn’t mention earlier when I opened by talking about the art style – this time the characters mouths don’t move… I know that’s not a big deal, but it’s certainly noticeable, and it started to bother me as the game went on. Why suddenly just use still portraits with different emotions each sentence!? I want my animated mouths back!
It’s getting darker in terms of story. I’m actually concerned about what’s yet to come.