Black Mirror Review
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Black Mirror is a modern-day re-imagining of the 2003 point-and-click horror adventure game of the same name. The new game is developed by King ART games and published by THQ Nordic. It is a gothic horror adventure game that plays very similar to just about any Telltale game. The game has its share of puzzles and mini games all while going through tons of dialogue and exploring the environment for clues and interactables to move along the main plot.
The game starts with David Gordon as he journeys to his family's ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands. David has inherited the estate of a father that he truly never even knew. He arrives at the estate and meets an unfamiliar family and tries to piece together the mysteries surrounding his father's death. Very soon David learns that dark forces are at work and are most likely responsible for his father's death and they are trying to claim his own life if he can't uncover the truth that his family appears to be hiding.
As already mentioned, Black Mirror plays almost exactly like a Telltale game, so if you've played one of their games, you should feel right at home with Black Mirror. The puzzles in the game are quite nice and had me thinking much more than many of the other current horror games that I have played. The puzzles seem to be mainly spread throughout the game's first chapter and final chapter, however. There are also a few mini games such as lining up a bright circle in a darker circle in order to regain sanity and following spirits in order to piece together a past event. The majority of the game is spent running around the estate while speaking to people and examining objects.
Exploring in Black Mirror is heavily brought down by the constant loading screens thrown in your face however. The game's loading screens are often around 10-20 seconds in length, but they are don't even attempt to disguise themselves and are quite intrusive. The constant loading screens are so dreadful that walking into the wrong room feels more horrific than the game's overall horror atmosphere. A sample of the dread is "Walk into hallway, LOAD, walk into library, LOAD, walk into main hall, LOAD, accidentally walk back into library, LOAD, walk back into main hall, LOAD". I'm sure you can get the picture of how annoying the loading screens can be.
The game does horror atmosphere quite well. The environments are dark and the lighting effects are quite nice. The game has a very serious way of telling the story with no room for even the slightest joke. The overall story is decent, but it is very slow moving. The main problem that I find with the story is that many of the characters feel so wooden. I don't really care much for any of them since they are not that interesting. The lead character is probably the worst in regards to personality.
Black Mirror is also loaded with tons of glitches and other problems. The movement of the main character can make it hard to line yourself up with objects to examine. The framerate will often cause stuttering while running around the various environments. The worst problem with the game is that it sometimes locks the main character in place during a cutscene or while investigating certain items. I had no choice but to exit back to the main menu and reload a save at some points because my character would not move from getting locked into place. There was also one time where the game bugged out and took away ALL of my previous chapter items, to where I couldn't even finish the game from lacking a key item - this bug actually saved to the autosave file. Basically, I never even finished the game since I didn't care to start all the way over (from the final chapter) in fear of getting some other game-breaking glitch.
The game received an update while I was playing, but I still encountered plenty of glitches even after the update. If you can get the game to work well, it has a decent story, but I can't imagine anyone enjoying the game enough for a replay or to actually own a copy. Black Mirror looks more promising than it actually is for horror fans. If the game gave off the same feeling as its trailers, we would all be in a treat for a very dark themed horror game, but sadly, the actual game feels boring and has many problems.
+ Nice horror atmosphere
- Game breaking glitches
- Bland characters
- Poorly optimized loading screens
Final Rating: 40% - The only true horror in Black Mirror are the intrusive load screens and a game-breaking bug.