November 5, 2019
Pendulo Studios, YS Interactive
Blacksad: Under the Skin – Review (Xbox One)
I want to first apologize for the tardiness of this review. If you’ve been fans of the site you may have remembered that I was super stoked for this game. Some of you may have watched some of the streams I did of Blacksad: Under the Skin. But damn am I so torn on this game. On one side, I am a huge fan of this game, on the other hand as a reviewer, there were some issues that arose. Follow along and I’ll discuss a little of both.
First off, this game was a lot of fun. Maybe it was my experience on Xbox, maybe it would have been a little smoother on PC but think of Blacksad: Under the Skin as an advanced Point-and-Click adventure game. You control Blacksad and you walk around each location talking with other characters, searching for clues, solving puzzles, or picking up collectible sports cards. The sports cards are just collectibles and won’t help in the story, they are fun to gather as it fills up a sports “photo album”. As for gathering clues, and like most adventure games, you need to have an open mind, talk, and look at everything…EVERYTHING. Even if you’ve already looked or interacted with that item already. What I enjoyed about Blacksad, like most mysteries, you will gather some information that doesn’t pertain to solving the mystery. Once you gather enough clues you can start linking them together. Once you link the clues together you’ll be able to press on with the story and unlock some important dialog to be able to talk your way out of different situations. In my playthrough, I had a lot of fun getting the clues to change my dialog a little, but still, poor Blacksad got his butt kicked…a lot.
The controls were a little bad at times. Sometimes I’d have to walk past an item or object and have to go back to be able to trigger an interaction with it. I do remember one time trying to collect one of the sports cards, it took me a good couple of minutes to figure out where I needed to be and which way to face to be able to collect it. I did run into a few bugs. Some I just needed to reload the game, one was so bad I thought I lost all progress. Without spoiling the story there was a fight scene with some quick time button presses that need to be done. I got to a button press and the game locked up. When I mean locked up, I mean locked up in the most terrifying way. The characters froze, the music kept playing, yet their eyes didn’t. They were stuck in combat, ready to swing yet their eyes kept looking around and blinking. All of this happening live on stream. We were having such a fun time playing and that just killed the vibe and really the whole outlook of the game for me. It took a little bit for me to pick it back up again and continue. Luckily it loaded in the previous save state and didn’t lock up the next time through.
The story was really well done. It was a good mystery with some good twists and some good revelations throughout the story. I really do not want to ruin the story because of how fun it is as well as this being a story-driven game, I do not want to do that to potential players of this game. You run into some great, well-written characters, as well as great scenes. The main character, Blacksad is amazing. A private eye with a past history that you pick up on. Considering this is based on a Spanish comic book from authors Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido, this really wants me to search those out and get more into this world of Blacksad.
As for the visuals, I really enjoyed them. All of the characters were animals but human-like, anthropomorphism (I had to look that one up) to the fullest extent. Everyone had their own style and personality, which matched the animal’s real-life trait, and everything fit so well. I even had comments on the stream where people enjoyed the whole anthropomorphism idea. There were a few animation things that irked me but nothing I can really complain about. Sound-wise the music and everything fit that 50-60s vibe it was set in, it really helped with the experience of the time period. The voice acting of the characters was pretty well done. Most of the voices really fit the characters pretty well. I will say though, the addition of voice acting really helped make the game. If it was all just text boxes to read, it would have been quite a chore to play considering how much dialog is spoken.
Even though I ran into some pretty heavy technical glitches on my playthroughs, Blacksad: Under the Skin was a really fun game. The story was fun and enjoyable. The way the characters were presented was really well done too. If you are an adventure or mystery fan, this game could be right up your alley. It was for me, and I hope a sequel is being spoke of.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
+ Fun, engrossing story
+ Great characters
+ Not difficult to play or get into
+ Voice acting helps bring it all together
- Technical issues (At least on Xbox One version. See above)
- Controlling Blacksad to interact with an item can be an issue at times