Rosa Blackwell's life isn't going so well. She's become an antisocial shut-in, her work as an amateur book reviewer for a local paper is beginning to suffer, and her only relative has just passed away after succumbing to what might possibly be hereditary madness. And as if that wasn't enough, she's begun to see and hear a smart talking ghost who has revealed himself to be something of a family heirloom.
This is The Blackwell Legacy, the first of five chapters chronicling the events of Rosa and her new life partner, Joey, who have quickly become shackled together and must now make the most of their predicament. Perhaps not an entirely original premise, but that fact seems to be entirely lost on Blackwell, which disregards any accusations of being cliched in order to tell an expertly penned and even more impressively acted narrative that quite frankly transcends the game it's attached to. Characters are written and voiced with a deeply personal feel, easily engrossing you in their lives and making you care about their outcomes despite the game lasting little more than a few hours. The plot is slow to unfold, but as the first game in the Blackwell series it acts almost more like a prologue, spending most of the time introducing you to the characters that you'll be seeing for the next four games, and in that regards is entirely successful.
It's a tad disappointing then that the actual adventure game elements so often fall into the same issues that have plagued the genre since its inception. Most annoying is how often you are left without any direction or indication of where you are supposed to go, what you need to say, or who you should be interacting with. This left me consistently walking in circles as I tried every option I could, only to realize I'd missed something a ways back that seemed entirely unrelated. It's tedious and confusing, and really got in the way of the best part of Blackwell, which is its story.
Even so, it's worth pushing through the convoluted puzzle logic in order to experience the surprisingly excellent narrative, which not only delivers a highly intriguing story in its own right but sets up so much potential for what is to come of the series. I wasn't sure quite what I was getting into when I decided to checkout The Blackwell Legacy, but am certainly glad I did and am eager to see where it might go next!