So, I've been playing the Wadjet Eye Adventure Games over the last few weeks (Gemini Rue, Resonance, Emerald City Confidential and the Blackwell-Series) and thought I'd lose a few words about them, since they were largely pretty good.
My favorite from the bunch, a Sci-Fi story where you are alternating between playing as a cop/ex-assassin and a prisoner in a high security facility.
The game lives off of its story, setting and atmosphere. It reminds of classics like the Blade Runner Adventure and Beneath a Steel Sky (which can also be gotten for free from GoG and a few other places by the way). I was also reminded of the BattleStar Galactica universe, especially since a lot of the used names in the game seem very similar and parts of it look like they could be out of the series "Caprica". The voice acting was also very good throughout and rather fitting.
The only weak point of the game I can point to is the rather inconvenient fighting mechanic that you have to make use of every now and then, fortunately it doesn't come up too often. Most puzzles were logical and easily solvable without use of "Adventure logic" aside from a few optional "Achievement-Puzzles" where there is some amount of pixel hunting involved and a few crate puzzles that can be stupid.
It took me about 7 hours to finish and from the entire catalogue of their games I can recommend this one the most.
Gemini Rue Trailer:
Not a bad game and uses a lot of fresh concepts, never before seen in Adventure-games. For instance you can save memories, either automatically in your "Long Term Memory" (LTM) as the story progresses or by dragging objects/people into the "Short Term Memory" (STM) and being able to use them in dialogues or to gather further information to solve certain puzzles, which leads to increased interactivity. You can also do a lot of things with simple Drag&Drop, but not all of these features work as well as they were likely meant to do, and it is rather noticeable that some of them have overreached their potential and came away short near the end of the game, even though it has been in development for almost 5 years.
It starts rather promising, with a physicist that works in a laboratory with a particle accelerator on a new revolutionary technology, which might change the world.
Throughout the course of the game there's four characters that the player can accompany and direct to solve puzzles, aside from the already mentioned physicist there is also an investigative journalist (who doesn't really like being called a blogger), a female doctor working in the local hospital and a rather "old-school" cop as you might have recognized him from many of the older US TV series.
As much as the beginning of the game awakens interest and exhilarates, near the end it somewhat wanes and I was personally not enthralled with its conclusion. A few of the puzzles were in my opinion also unnecessary and dispensable as they didn't make the game any better overall.
I can still say that it wasn't a bad game and can even recommend it, since my expectations might have been somewhat too high for this one, while I had low or near to none for a lot of the other games. Along with Gemini Rue it also has the best background music.
It took me about 13 hours to finish, even though that might have been because of the desire to try out a lot of things with the "memory" system and it should be considerably faster if you just try to get through the games story, concentrating on the essentials.
There are four parts in the Blackwell Series that came out between 2006-2011: Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound, Blackwell Convergence and Blackwell Deception.
In comparison to some of the other games, these seem more like short episodes similar to the Sam&Max Seasons or Tales of Monkey Island by Telltale, they're about 2-3 hours long with the two newest parts being the longest at up to 5-6 hours.
You play as Rosa Blackwell, a young, nerdy journalist that in the first part finds out she is being haunted by a ghost named "Joey" and henceforth has to help other plagued ghosts realize that they are dead and find their way into the great beyond.
To that end you have to investigate the circumstances of their deaths by talking to and questioning other people and acquaintances of the deceased. There's a mechanic in your trusty notebook (which works in a similar way to L.A. Noire e.g. you point at a topic and ask someone about it) that helps you combine "facts" you've found out already to come to new realizations. And you also have to use the In Game version of the "Internet" or in part two, which plays in the past, the telephone book to research addresses and phone numbers and find out additional facts and information about places, people or organizations you've come in contact with.
The first part, "Blackwell Legacy" is a few years old by now and it shows that it is one of their first games, some of the riddles are somewhat confused and the sound quality isn't the best. But it is still fully voiced, like all of their other games. It mainly deals with Rosa getting acquainted with Joey, getting to grips with the situation she has been put in and solving her first cases amateurishly.
The second part, "Blackwell Unbound" is an improvement over the first, but it still shows its age, it is about Rosas aunt and plays back in the 70s, having somewhat of a different style over the first.
I personally liked the third part in the series the best, "Blackwell Convergence", which features Rosa again having gotten accustomed to her new role and has the most paranormal elements about it.
The fourth part, "Blackwell Deception" which I bought after playing the first three has somewhat dropped in the story department and had a bit too much pixel-hunting and adventure logic in it. It deals with Rosa having settled in to her new life and trying to make people in need of help come to her instead of the other way around, as well as an overall plot about psychics.
Blackwell Series Trailer:
Emerald City Confidential
The surprise under all of their titles, I didn't expect much due to the art style and it looking very much like a "casual game". And to an extent it is an "Adventure Light". It doesn't have multiple verbs you can use, like in all of their different other games (Look At, Pick Up, Talk To etc.), but only one way of interacting with the environment and objects around you (although later there are a lot of items and even spells, which you can use to interact with things in a limited way).
Nevertheless the game did overall satisfy. It plays in the world of the "Wizard of Oz", set after the events of the book/movie and could convince through interesting characters, effort in its world building exercise and yet again the story-department. You play as a rather sarcastic, foul-mouthed private detective, who has to investigate several cases till she blunders into something much bigger.
It reminded me of a Mix between Discworld and Discworld Noir, even though not quite at the same level of quality as those games.
Emerald City Confidential Trailer:
Their newest title that hasn't come out yet, it's set to release on the 5th of December and makes a rather good first impression.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world with "Planescape"-flair, where there are only robots and other machines in existence, the player takes the role of one such robot, Horatio Nullbuilt who will apparently find out about the disappearance of all the humans during the course of his adventure.
Steam Greenlight (make sure to vote for it if you can, since despite them already having 8 previous games on Steam, Valve apparently forced them to go through the Greenlight process instead of releasing it directly on their Store): http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=108108057