Black Mirror: review


  • Format: PC (Version reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
  • Unleashed: November 28, 2017
  • Publisher: THQ Nordic
  • Developer: KING Art Games
  • Players: 1
  • Site:
  • Game code provided by the publisher

Horror may be one of the least appreciated genres in gaming, which is probably why titles that fall under this category are often largely unnoticed; often times spawning a loyal, but small, following. On that note, whenever horror games are mentioned, most people will think about Silent Hill or Resident Evil, completely unaware of  lesser known gems like the original Black Mirror … too bad the reboot won’t make a fan out of anyone.

Black Mirror (2017) does a superb job with the prologue, managing to not only set the story, but also create intrigue in showing you the heart of the mystery: your father’s death and the ancient evil that haunts your bloodline. The story, while mysterious enough to keep you wanting for more, is easy to comprehend and not at all difficult to get into, albeit, there were questions left unanswered by the end, but nothing to break the solid narrative.

The voice acting, coupled with the haunting background music, has also served to intensify the dark and foreboding atmosphere that grips the entire castle. In addition, the amount of emotion poured into the dialogue is impressive and effective in bringing each character to life. While the graphics may not be setting any new industry standard, they do a good job of delivering details in every corner of the castle, even on some smaller, less noticed items. Unfortunately, this where the praise ends, as the rest of the game feels unpolished and riddled with bad design choices and bugs.

From the very beginning, you will instantly notice the poor cutscene transition. A few cutscenes look like not much thought was placed into crafting them at all, and most abruptly cut the background music from the interactive sequence to the cutscene and back.

The controls are serviceable but clunky; most of the time, it feels like the game was not designed with PC users in mind. One of the best examples of this is near the end, where you’re required to walk in a very strict straight line, which is immensely hard to do with a keyboard and further aggravated by the camera angle. The camera in general has its fair share of issues, most of them manifesting during puzzle sequences, where it would often obscure parts of the puzzle and with no mention of you being able to move the camera around while zoomed in on an item.

Gameplay has a lot of issues that need ironing out. For one, you will go through the second half of the game with a companion, who is completely useless and hogs the candle (almost your sole source of light) to herself, leaving you fumbling in the dark while she walks like a turtle behind you. The ghost sequences are horrible, thrown at you without any explanation for the mechanics. The decision to only allow you to interact with key points here, at specific times and at specific distances, is often restrictive, unresponsive, and annoying.

The game, while it’s classified as a horror, has no real terrifying moments, not even jump scares or psychological horror. On top of all that, you’re hit with a 10-20 second loading screen whenever you move from one room to another, including corridors! That may not sound like a lot, but the story requires you to explore the castle, and that stacks up.

While the graphics are good, and the voice acting is great, these aspects are quickly trampled upon by the lip-sync or, to be more precise, the movements of the mouth. All the characters talk like they’re hand puppets with their mouths simply moving up and down, breaking the scenes. The aformentioned bugs include a particularly annoying one we hitnear the end of Chapter 5. Here, you’re required to follow a ghost to safety, which will sometimes become bugged and not move; leaving you to search for the path on your own. Furthermore, there are cutscenes that can’t be skipped, and leaving a puzzle will sometimes make you unable to move for a couple of seconds.

Black Mirror had a lot of potential: a great story, fantastic voice acting, and a beautiful soundtrack. Unfortunately, it ultimately falls short, and is a disappointment due to the technical failings. If you’re not able to enjoy a game purely for the story, then you want to stay away from Black Mirror.

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Written by Kate Yap

From the depths of Rapture to the cities Gaia, Kate Yap, has seen it all! Trading in hours of sleep for game time, Kate absolutely does not regret the panda eyes and proudly struts it around like a badge of honor.

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