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Review The Blackwell Epiphany (PC): Not the best in the series

genre: adventure

After all the praise and the raving reviews I strapped myself into this adventure game and was prepared to be dazzled. What I got was decent and adequate enough but in my opinion not as good as the previous games. 

My biggest problem was the tone of this one. While the earlier games could be quite dark it still had a lot of humour about them that made it fun to solve puzzles or find leads to advance into the stories. This final part is far too aware and much too serious that I personally did not made the dramatic impact people are talking about. In fact I could not believe how disconnected this ending was from the vibes the previous games had. It was too dark and I have a suspicion it was done that just for the sake of giving you an ending you did not expect. If the middle part of the game had not dragged so much maybe the ending would have made more of an impression but even then I was immensely let down by this story. And I seem to be one of the few who thinks so. Which I find really surprising. I have been a fan of games made by Dave Gilbert since I got introduced to The Shivah. And all of them dealt with religion and dark themes but always managed to keep them light and short. Oh no, he didn't? Did he just say short? He likes games to be short? Yes I did. To make it clear I do like more and longer game play if it is diverse enough or offers me something that keeps me hooked to them. However for me the appeal to these games were that they gave me the chance to play and relive old school adventuring back when I first played them without having to juggle for time as I could start these up and finish them in a few hours. The stories made much more of an impression to me because of it. In Blackwell Epiphany it becomes quite clear that there is not much to the story at all. Where once you had interesting and funny dialogue between Rosa and Joey or truly compelling mysteries to be solved now it felt rushed and lackluster. This could be because I am very familiar with the genre and that I simply expect more from a story then what we have been given in this one. But it could also be that the little mysteries that had to be solved in previous games were more detailed and had more substance to them. In this one they felt more like they were put in just to increase the number of puzzles. Also in previous games you felt the sadness of people coping with death or the reasons why they could not move on. Here I barely cared. By making things bigger and grander and introducing many characters it makes it more difficult to get to know the sub plot characters well or get attached to them in some way. And it is not helping either that focus on quantity of puzzles is detracting from the funny banter between Rosa and Joey. 

Overall I was quite underwhelmed with this gaming experience and mostly because it lacked emotional impact for me. Which is curious since this is one of the reasons why the game is being praised so much. I am also a little suspicious of the reviews. I could not find a single one that was very critical about it. Which is quite odd because even the best of games have flaws that need pointing out. What am I missing?

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