The Blackwell Epiphany (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 04.05.2014

Review for The Blackwell Epiphany on PC

Cubed3 was recently introduced to a series it wished it had not missed out on before, but playing through all four entries in WadjetEye Games' point-and-click adventure story together - The Blackwell Bundle, consisting of The Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound, The Blackwell Convergence, and The Blackwell Deception - was something truly unforgettable. The last release was back in 2011 and finally the development team has polished off the fifth and final part, The Blackwell Epiphany. After a rip-roaring fourth chapter, this really had to be something special indeed, and it certainly is!

The Blackwell series has always had an intriguing premise, whereby its lead star has a ghostly ally throughout, with the two working to free souls that are trapped in limbo, unaware that their human forms had actually already passed away. Joey - the ethereal presence - will talk to another of his kind and then between him and Rosa Blackwell (whose family has been blessed/cursed with this 'gift') they must uncover the mysteries behind the death and help the apparition come to terms with the gravity of the situation, before allowing them to 'move on' permanently by use of a special tie Joey has that transfers them through Rosa to the 'beyond.' It all sounds quirky, and the theme is indeed unusual, but hooks players, all the more so thanks to some witty script writing and superb voice acting that draws people in.

Visually, booting up The Blackwell Epiphany will make the majority take a step back and go 'Huh?' since it looks like old PC titles from the 1990s, mainly due to the old engine it has been built on. However, it gives off a certain retro charm that just about works. In terms of how the action pans out, as well, everything has a familiar feel from days gone by.

Point, click, and away Rosa and Joey go, being able to switch between either character at will, making use of Joey to enter locked areas by drifting through doors that block Rosa's path, and then using Rosa to grab those corporeal objects that are always just out of Joey's grasp. They work as a great team, and the snarky banter between the two is just as enjoyable as ever, with the naturalness of conversations building up the bond between player and story, meaning that by the time the fantastic ending comes around, the connection is very strong indeed, making the conclusion even more impactful than it might otherwise have been. Newcomers will still likely be enthralled by the concept, but having a prior knowledge of the ongoing saga is obviously beneficial.

Screenshot for The Blackwell Epiphany on PC

As lovingly crafted as Epiphany is, there are some issues that mar the proceedings moderately, such as some illogical design choices at times - for instance, Rosa having to head back to gather information from a key source rather than merely calling them to discuss matters quickly using her mobile; key notes that can be pulled together in Rosa's phone to make important new clues only actually being used a couple of times during the entire game, rendering the feature completely pointless for the most part; plus a little bit too much to'ing and fro'ing in the run-up to the game's finale - but they do not hamper the overall experience, thankfully.

Part of the fun is sometimes hitting what appears to be a dead end only to start thinking outside of the box and get Joey to blow on a particular object to bring it within Rosa's reach, at which point that spark of brilliance rears its head once more and enjoyment levels shoot back up.

The story veers from comical to poignant on several occasions, taking those invested in the adventure on a rollercoaster ride, watching how the effect of meeting all these trapped souls takes its toll on both Rosa and Joey. The interaction between lead and bit-part characters works supremely well, and the supporting cast makes an already engrossing yarn even better. Sure, the visuals could have done with a spruce up, but everything else is a sheer delight, and anyway, graphically The Blackwell Epiphany has a certain charm to it. A truly fitting end to a thoroughly impressive series.

Screenshot for The Blackwell Epiphany on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The Blackwell Epiphany is the epitome of what has made the series so gripping so far - highly intuitive controls, intriguing puzzles, an intense rollercoaster ride of a story, witty banter between the two lead characters, and some fantastic music and voice acting to boot. Those that played the past four titles are in for a treat with this concluding episode, whilst those mulling over what to do after reading this review, be sure to start from the beginning and work through The Blackwell Bundle first so as to not miss out on one tiny drop of the series' magnificence.

Developer

Wadjet Eye

Publisher

Wadjet Eye

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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