Review for Blacksad: Under The Skin

The game «Blacksad: Under the Skin» is based on a graphic novel authored by two Spaniards and tells us about the adventures of an anthropomorphic cat John Blacksad in the dark and noir world of post-war America. The game is interested primarily in the fact that we see New York, populated by» humanized » animals. If you listen carefully to the dialogues and follow the plot, you can find a lot of funny and not very allusions to our, human, world, and animals only emphasize this comparison.

The authors tried to convey the atmosphere of the US 50s, showing all the unsightly aspects of that time. Smoking in any place, including the hospital, talking about Communists, the problems of adaptation of World War II veterans, racial and gender discrimination, gangsters, pimps, underground casinos where the «lords of the world» talk about their  business over a glass of whiskey and a game of poker. At the same time, even the most violent scenes do not cause either disgust or indifference, but make you feel the corresponding emotions. This effect is quite difficult to achieve, but the writers did it.

With each passing hour, I experienced more vivid emotions and became more immersed in the story. The promised jazz composition accompanies the investigation, and the narrator in the form of the main character is very pleasant . He also comments on his actions and often gives a philosophical assessment of everything that happens. Many of his lines are admired for their depth.

Our protagonist – John Blacksad, a black cat and private detective, whose business is, to put it mildly, not very good. John is forced to take on a variety of things to make ends meet, but everything is complicated by the fact that he is a principled cat, for whom the words «honor» and «conscience» are not just a set of letters. A private detective with principles is a killer mix. We will shape the character of Blacksad by our own decisions, and he can become either honest and incorruptible, or mean and unprincipled.

An old friend, gorilla Jake Ostiombe, comes to Blacksad ‘s office and brings with him Sonya Dunn, the daughter of the Boxing club owner who hanged himself the day before. Sonya doesn’t believe in her father’s suicide and wants our cat to investigate.

At first, the case looks not very promising and quite obvious, but the further we delve into the criminal world of New York, the more shocking details we will learn. A lot of different characters, familiarity with the underground sweepstakes, shootings, gangsters, and to top it all – the echoes of the Second world war, which affected almost all participants in this story.

The plot, in my opinion, turned out very worthy. The case, which at first seems simple and even a little boring, gradually becomes overgrown with details and becomes entangled no worse than the wires from New Year’s garlands, which you can not unravel. It was really interesting, and the ending was quite unexpected.

«Blacksad» is a mix of telltales games, Sherlock Holmes and the dark atmosphere of «L. A. Noire». No complex puzzles and painful searches, we have a good interactive movie with elements of the quest and research.

We wander around the locations and carefully study them for various clues. Everything interesting is automatically recorded in a notebook, where you can draw logical conclusions by comparing the facts (Hello, a series of games about Sherlock Holmes). The resulting conclusions become evidence that will also go into action. Logical chains are surprisingly logical, for example: the suspect wears small shoes, and similar footprints were found at the crime scene. In principle, this mechanics is optional, and you could easily do without it, but it’s more interesting, so you feel like a real detective, unraveling a complex case.

An interesting, in my opinion, gameplay element – the use of the senses inherent in cats: smell, hearing and cat vision. This is presented as a small mini-game, during which we are asked to take a closer look at the interlocutor or the area and make small conclusions. The sad thing is that these conclusions, for the most part, are not particularly useful to the investigation, and all the information received is aimed, rather, at getting better acquainted with the persons involved in the case. However, there are moments in the game in which it is the cat’s feelings that will help you not just learn something new, but sometimes save your own skin.

Of course, there will be QTE scenes. Usually there is enough time to react, but there will be cases in which you will have to act very quickly, otherwise our hero can easily die or fail the investigation.

Now a few words about choice and variability. » Blacksad » is a complete story with several possible endings and ways to reach them, but we don’t have any global choice. If we suddenly do something wrong and die, or do not prevent the death of an important character, we will simply be asked to start the scene from the beginning. The same applies to dialogues. There are a lot of them in the game, you can choose a variety of answers, but we can not change the plot, just some little things. The story always moves in the same direction regardless of what our hero says or does.

The game certainly has a visual style. I want to note the beautiful image, the presence of high-resolution textures, excellent shadows, high-quality lighting.

The adventure of the black cat pleased me. A good, rather deep story, very charismatic characters, a great atmosphere of noir, a good visual style and excellent voice acting. Well, and a slow passage, which takes an average of 10-15 hours.

I recommend «Blacksad»  first of all, to fans of telltale games, great stories and noir, and, of course, to fans of the graphic novel that became the basis for the game. And not just them. If you have never played a game of this genre, then it’s time to try it.

 

Play just in good games :3

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21.6.2020