Black Mirror – Xbox One Review

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Back in 2003, developer Future Games introduced us to The Black Mirror. It was a third-person point and click adventure that was based around horror themes and mystery. Developer KING Art is rebooting the classic for modern-day consoles with Black Mirror. This newest adaptation takes place years before the original game. What was made to be a continuation of the horror and mystery leaves players wondering if the real horror and mystery is the overall finished quality of the game itself.  With what has amazing promise is marred by development issues as well as some jarring animations.

Black Mirror puts you in the shoes of David Gordon who is part of the prestigious Gordon family that are the owners of a famed mansion in Scotland known as the Black Mirror. David is now taking leadership of the house as he has learned his father has died under suspicious circumstances. Upon his arrival he unravels the mysteries and learns more about the family itself, as well as his father’s past and his undoing. The story itself sets up for some great question and answering but with great leads and promise, the game never really pans out to have that wow factor that that you would hope for in a story. Many times things felt predictable or was just undermined by a disappointing cast of characters. At moments having great voice acting felt like things were really about to take off however, you tend to feel that characters lack substance which causes the game to have a difficult time and getting the player motivated.

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Black Mirror’s new recreation is not the traditional point-and-click that players would expect. You control David around the mansion as you would in any normal game in what feels like Resident Evil without a fixed camera.  Controls can somewhat be difficult or unresponsive and you’ll find yourself fighting the camera angles as much when trying to look at or investigate objects in the Mansion. The camera moves freely As you move and leaves the player helpless and trying to control where David looks. Also when moving David he moves rather quickly. This led to many times we’re overshooting doorways or walking past objects that you were trying to look at.  You investigate the mansion solving puzzles. The puzzles in Black Mirror are rather intelligently done however, are rather difficult at times due to the constant twisting and turning of objects to get the information you need to solve it. There are many times where you will not realize that you can look at an object at a particular angle to get the needed information which happens early and often throughout the game.

With the camera issues being a constant thing, what is the most distracting is the lack of immersion due to technical limitations of Black Mirror. Load times are way too long as we played on a Xbox One X and we’re constantly thrown into loading segments that took anywhere between 20 to 30 seconds just a transition between rooms. Even during the pause menu and going through different settings, we would encounter a loading screen. Whilst playing though, moments of the audio cutting out as well as times where entire walls would disappear and reappear would also confuse and just irritate as it would break the immersion.  There are also many times where the frame rate would drop well below a reasonable amount which is surprising as we said we were playing on a Xbox One X. Hopefully there will be some optimization patching later on but for now it is hard to justify spending this much money on what feels like an almost unfinished product.

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Black Mirror itself as a reboot is a great idea. The Edgar Allan Poe themes are strong and the environment feels like it could be a real promising feature to a story that just lacks delivery. Characters and technical issues or what are mooring Black Mirror the most. Given a little more love and care and there is some real potential to be had here. This is by no means a Telltale style game but does have some hope as long as it continues to get the love it so desperately needs.  Let hope these issues are worked out to help make Black Mirror worth the price of admission.

Black Mirror is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £31.99.

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