ferry;;sadhonker;;black;;mirror;;reboot;;puzzle;;point;;click;;king;;thq;;thqnordic Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams Today, we're inheriting a Scottish castle! Isn't that nice?! Sure, somebody has to die for you to inherit anything; it's kind of how this thing works, isn't it? In this case, it is our father that has kicked the proverbial bucket. Now, we didn't actually have a very loving relationship with the man over the years, so we're off to Scotland to sign the inheritance papers. And this is exactly where things go haggis-shaped really, really fast!

BLACK MIRROR

By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on September 12, 2016

Do any of you know the expression: "May you live in interesting times"? Well, now you do, don't you? Wait... I forgot where I was going with this! Come to think about it, I don't actually know why I brought it up in the first place... I suspect I was, believe it or not, actually trying to make a point. Oh well, it's just something that happens from time to time. Or, as Billy Connolly says, and as he says it very well: "Sometimes I drift away... don't worry about that. Sometimes I don't drift back... but don't worry about that either!"

So, what are we doing today, apart from forgetting what we were on about? Well, dear readers; today, we're inheriting a Scottish castle! Isn't that nice?! Sure, somebody has to die for you to inherit anything; it's kind of how this thing works, isn't it? In this case, seeing as how we are all taking the role of David Gordon, it is our father, John Gordon, that has kicked the proverbial bucket. Now, we didn't actually have a very loving relationship with the man over the years, so we're off to Scotland to sign the inheritance papers. And this is exactly where things go haggis-shaped really, really fast!


It is the year of our lord 1926 when David Gordon arrives at his ancestral home of Sgathan Dubh, or Black Mirror House in English. David has been raised in India, but he has been living in London for quite some time now. He has actually never been to Sgathan Dubh before and is curious to learn about its history and, maybe even more important, what happened to his estranged father. Andrew Harrison; the lawyer who is to oversee the signing of the papers that transfer ownership of Sgathan Dubh to David, drives him up to the castle in his car. When David finally arrives at the castle, he is met there by his grandmother, Lady Margaret, Mister McKinnon the butler, Miss Crannon the maid, Rory the gardener. Later on, he will also meet his cousin, Edward Mallory or Eddie for short.

Now, the meeting of these people isn't one of the best in the history of man. Lady Margaret and Mister McKinnon display a strong disdain for David, the gardener is a creepy old fellow and the maid seems to be scared constantly. Eddie acts like the castle is his; he constantly bosses the maid around and is generally an unpleasant young man. Nevertheless, you are escorted to your room by Mister McKinnon and this is where your adventure starts. Because you suffer from insomnia, you decide to explore the house a bit. So, armed with a burning candle, you set off to wander its ancient halls.

Black Mirror is a modern take on the classic point-n-click genre, meaning you can freely control David's movement and walk through the entire house in whatever manner you like. The castle is really huge and contains a lot of rooms for you to explore, filled with puzzles and items you will need on your quest. Because there is no electricity, the house is lit by a large number of fireplaces and oil lamps, giving the environments a spooky feel. I especially liked the contrast between your first night in the castle as opposed to the next day, when you get to see the interior in the light of day. During the daytime, as is often the case, things look a lot less eerie and you get the feel it is really nothing more than a house. But alas, you could not be more wrong...

Because we're playing a point-n-click game, puzzles will make up the majority of the challenges you will face. There are some points at which you will need to find your way around a certain obstacle, but you will be puzzling for your life most of the time. The puzzles themselves are not exceptionally hard, but they are well conceived and beautifully executed. You will also encounter a number of ghostly recounts of past events. Whenever you see one of these spectral scenes, you will have to investigate them in order to learn what really happened. But beware! If you get too close for too long, you will be attacked by said specters and will die! So pay attention to the scene and act quickly when it is time to do so.


I feel there is one puzzle I need to point out specifically, which is the ongoing Master Key puzzle. At a certain point, you will receive a big iron key that will open up a number of locks around the house, but there's a twist! You will need to solve the riddle of how the key works before you can even think of using it. And even then, opening some locks is quite a bit of a challenge. I will not spoil the riddle by explaining how this all works, because it is just too much fun finding out for yourself, but I will say that it is easily one of the coolest keys I've ever seen!

Black Mirror is a reboot of the series that started with the release of "The Black Mirror" in 2003. Subsequently, two more games were added to the list in 2009 and 2011 before things got a bit quiet. Now, six years after the release of Black Mirror III: The Final Fear, German developer King Art Games has taken it upon themselves to start over and try to reboot the entire series. The resulting game, simply titled: "Black Mirror", is released on November 28, 2017 for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One and is, in my humble opinion, a worthy successor to the throne.

Visually, the game looks really good. The eerie environments tend to be dark and give off a threatening feel. The characters are nicely detailed and fit their surroundings perfectly. I also really like the time period in which this game is set. The lack of technology makes for a truly cool feel of isolation and helplessness. The story is truly compelling and expertly written and the voice acting lifts the game to an even higher level. The characters each have their own personality and every one of them propels the story forward in his or her own way. If you've read my review so far, you could surmise that I cannot find a single fault in this game and you would be almost right... almost.

There is actually one thing I feel I should mention, and that would involve the loading times between environments. Now, bear in mind that I have only played the Playstation 4 version, so I cannot pass judgement on the PC or Xbox version, but the PS version had really horrible loading times. Every door you enter triggers a dark loading screen, which, at times, seriously unhinges the pacing of an otherwise awesome game. The only other game ever to drive me nuts with loading screens was one of my favorite games of all times: Resident Evil. Remember those doors? Those doors... THOSE DOOOOORRRSSS!!! In Black Mirror, if you walk too close to a door, the game automatically suspects you want to enter the room behind said door, which results in another loading screen. This makes making an honest mistake, like entering the wrong room by mistake, kind of a bother. Then again, this was my one and only problem while playing Black Mirror; the rest of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed!


So yes, playing Black Mirror will definitely provide you with a very interesting time! ... AHA! And there it is, ladies and gentlemen; I knew I was going somewhere with that expression in the first paragraph! Damn; it would seem that I was so clever, I even outsmarted myself. But, back to the subject at hand! Playing Black Mirror is definitely a cool experience. The storytelling is very, very good and the game looks really nice. So, my one boggle aside, it is truly a game I would recommend you play, if you're a puzzle and suspense fan. So, if you're looking for a thrilling time, just pack your bags and visit me in my creepy Scottish castle... if you dare!


available on:

BLACK MIRROR
King Art Games & THQ Nordic
November 28, 2017