|Genre||Point, click, death|
Blackwell Convergence follows The Blackwell Legacy and Blackwell Unbound in Wadjet Eye Games’ story-driven adventure game series. I found Unbound to be a stunning entry that rectified many of Legacy’s issues while building on the series’ mysteries. It also had a ton of style that is sadly absent in many games today.
So I had high expectations for Convergence, as the story was brought back to present day with our original heroine Rosangela Blackwell. The detour Unbound took to the past was engrossing and informative, and gave the series that much more emotional weight. I knew it would be tough for Convergence to keep up the momentum, but I promised myself that if it did, I’d be waving the Blackwell flag for many years to come.
Released in 2009 for Windows and once again built in Adventure Game Studios, here’s my review for Blackwell Convergence.
The story of Convergence picks up a few months after Rosangela and Joey met in Legacy. The detective pair are much more familiar with each other now, and it seems they’re both comfortable with the current routine, similar to Rosa’s aunt’s relationship in Unbound. Ghosts are sent on their merry way to the afterlife and all is right with the world. But Wadjet Eye Games wouldn’t have spun Unbound off into its own game unless it didn’t find the backstory it had to tell there pretty important, so it’s pretty obvious where Convergence is going to go.
But thankfully, the game doesn’t waste much time getting to the point. Rosa is lead down a path of ghosts, local legends, and questionable living people that eventually leads to a strangulation. She’s back...
The Countess felt a bit out of place in Unbound, particularly how her targets were picked, but she receives some much needed backstory and explanation in Convergence. Her story leads the arc in the final act of the game, but It falls a bit flat in execution, and I’m left wondering if the magnificent setup Unbound pulled off was wasted in the third game. We mostly understand how she became The Countess, but I still felt it pretty vague why she’s killing seemingly innocent people. For centering the game on her, I don’t come out of the experience as fulfilled as the previous two titles.
But the multiple cases that string together and overlap are well written and acted by an even larger cast. Convergence presents a series of deaths that don’t seem to be connected at all, but manage to fit together brilliantly at the end. All without silly adventure game logic or ridiculous pixel hunting.
The gameplay in Blackwell continues to be refined, with computers Rosa can directly interact with and use to search for more clues. The notebook is streamlined, whereas in previous games you could combine notes to discover a lead (which would eventually mean you would try to combine all the notes together in every possible permutation), notes are simply used in Convergence to trigger conversations and help you personally recall important details. It feels a lot more natural and “detectivey” this way.
The graphics in the Blackwell series are also constantly improving, the changes are subtle but make each game stand out just a bit more than its predecessor. I loved the character animations in the game, they accompanied the snappy dialog pretty well at times. The character portraits also look excellent in Convergence.
I have to say that the soundtrack in Unbound set the standard for adventure gaming really high, and Convergence doesn’t meet the bar. This is obviously tough, as there were multiple jazz characters in Unbound that would play you a tune, so I feel a bit spoiled even mentioning it. I still enjoyed the music in the third game, it just simply isn’t as memorable.
I’ve really fell in love with the Blackwell series, from the great voice acting to the un-adventure game like experience where story is king. Convergence is a good entry into the series, but suffers a bit in my eyes from following a stellar second act. Still, the high quality presentation of Blackwell Convergence makes me want to declare something crazy... like: The Blackwell series is the best modern adventure game series out there. Something like that.