Black Mirror 2
Just what can one add to the reviews that have been written? That is the question asked as I consider this game. Sequels often disappoint though this one in many aspects surpasses the initial effort of BM 1.
The graphics are new and improved with much better lighting. The point and click interface runs smoothly. There is an additional much to thank for feature. I am not sure if it is intentional or an accident, however, it is warmly accepted. That is when your protagonist, Darren is looking at an object and blocks your view you can click through him to activate it. It is so much nicer than constantly having to move him to re-click to pick up an item or activate a close up view.
There appears to be unlimited saves as I had about thirty or so. They are stored under my documents on win xp. The menu is located by sweeping your cursor at the screen bottom. The save menu exit and load access is tucked away in the upper left corner of the screen. Using the space bar or H key reveals hot spots. A handy tool because the room exits are often difficult to find.
If you recall in Black Mirror 1 our hero Samuel ended most every conversation with an inane repetitive statement. It sounded like an annoying Partridge Family song. Something like, "I think I should go now" After all these years that terrible voice acting and lack of emotion still prevents me from replaying that game. Thankfully, in BM 2 the voice acting is greatly improved and is quite good. Darren has a subtle Boston accent. I say subtle because the designers could have used the cartoonish Boston accent often overdone in movies.
I am not going to get into just why Darren has that Boston accent and why the first three chapters are played out in Biddeford Maine. Some complained that this section was slow and found it too long. It does a nice job of character development and telling the back story. In fact I found the Biddeford portion of the game more believable than some of the events later in the game. Having been to Biddeford, just down the road from Old Orchard Beach the developers did a decent rendition of the town. The population is close to 22,000 and the sixth largest city in the state. The city is much larger than what the game implies. Certainly you may find the game locations do resemble some section of town.
We have a dark somber game and there is plenty to do with many locations to explore. On that score you won't be cheated. Though take care as Darren can get himself killed, save often, even if there is an auto save feature for those dangerous times. At least twice the evil slider puzzle appears and there is one dreaded maze. You even have to contend with yet another develop the film puzzles. They did not omit the always fun put together the torn note scene. Take heart I did not encounter any rushed timed puzzles though every once in awhile you are tasked with a devilishly difficult brain teaser. Mostly you take your time figure things out without being rushed. In addition to sliders, lock picks, a maze and a ball puzzle there is a devious rope puzzle to contend with. The majority are the tried and true mix and match inventory items.
Darren's movements are sometimes rigid or blocky. But it is to be forgiven as he was seen with a two by four in his back pocket and even a ten foot ladder. I guess in that event you would walk that way too. Sometimes you can double click on a exit for quick transport. Other times it does not work. The disk must be in the drive to play the game.
As for the story it is well done. I enjoyed the Maine part more but both sides of this were very immersive. You have a map for quick transport from location to location in Maine. A very limited one exist for England and is not much use. I am not going to give away the plot or who did what. There are a few surprises for you to discover. The ending however, is the game's weakest point. I understand they were setting you up for Black Mirror 3. But they could have created a more satisfying conclusion and still whetted the appetite for the next game.
All in all it is a solid effort and you won't feel cheated. Plenty of cut scenes some long, some short. Conversations are done through a menu bar that offers pictures of what you should ask. You need to get into the options menu to set the game for captions. You can quick click through conversations if you are impatient and read the captions. Better yet if you accidentally clicked a second time on the same action. The voice though turned way up is not consistent. Some characters speak real soft and you have difficulty hearing. You need the captions. When tasked with reading letters and messages, sometimes Darren reads them aloud. That is good because of poor lighting you have difficulty reading them.
I could highly recommend BM2 with a decent ending. But never the less it is far better than than the first and many other recent offerings. My faults with this game are with the inconsistent volume levels for speech. The inconsistent lighting where the game dictates you must view something. Then there is the made for TV unnecessary quick "let's wrap it up and go to lunch" less than satisfying ending. Considering the detailed and excellent design of the game a thoughtful well crafted ending would have elevated this game to a higher level without much effort.
All in all, well done, worth playing and most should like it.