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Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure, Point and Click
Launch Date: May 11th, 2018
Price:  $14.99
 
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is the third installment in the Grim Legends series by Artifex Mundi, obviously.  We follow the story of Sylvia as she tries to save the world from a monster that was released by her friend after stealing a crystal from the Order, the secret organization Sylvia is a part of.  Let’s eagle dive in and see if this assassin creed like story holds up to the point and click adventure style gameplay.
 
 
Story and Gameplay 8/10
Time and time again Artifex Mundi has failed in storytelling but when it comes to their more recent games they are prove that they are learning.  This game is no exception.  I loved this story probably more than any other.  The entire protagonist and “villain” are completely surrounded in mystery.  Sylvia has lost her memory and doesn’t remember meeting the antagonist in this game even though they worked in the Order together.  Now Sylvia must travel to Lichtenheim to defeat the Koshmaar and return the Incarceri Stone back into the Order’s guard.

Although this is only the beginning.  What’s truly amazing about this story is that the Koshmaar takes the form of a human and its minions are those who harmed or hurt the human in their life.  So we get to see what sins these characters have done to the girl who is possessed by the creature but get to see that maybe, just maybe the Koshmaar may not be as evil as we as humans are.  It’s a tremendous experience and I hope that Artifex Mundi keeps this kind of storytelling up in future games.

As far as gameplay goes it’s almost a carbon copy of most of their games if it wasn’t for the duel system.  You face off as your opponent tries to hit you with spells and you must counter them by picking a spell that doesn’t share a symbol with there’s.  It’s a very interesting concept and works extremely well with the story they are telling.  The puzzles may be everything we have seen before but they seem purposeful rather then, hey it’s been 5 minutes time for a puzzle!  They did a great job all around here and I was rather impressed.


Can you save the masked victims from their sins?

 
Graphics 7/10
This game is colorful, varied, and interesting to look at and interact with.  I loved how every area with the masked minions felt like the environments revolved around them and made me feel very impressed in the experience.  WI never felt overwhelmed with everything on screen which is saying something when during a hidden object scene close to 100 things would be there.  However the reason it finds itself so low on score here is the animation.  Now I have said this before on almost everyt review I have done for these games, now in other games whenever something had to move cut scene played like a child’s picture book.  By that I mean whatever is moving just jumps a couple of frames and eventually reaches its destination, they thankfully got rid of most of this but the graphics have one huge fault, facial animations.  Every time anyone in any of their games decided to talk at the screen I can no longer watch it.  It looks like two invisible fingers are just morphing and moving the face towards you thus even making it look like their head as come detached from their body, it’s awful.  While the facial animations get me every time, they did an amazing job making the world I was in feel unique and making the environment very in depth.


It’s time to D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-duel!

 
Sound 7/10
You’re learning Artifex Mundi I’ll give you that.  The music here was near perfection; it felt ominous and mysterious and intertwined with the story perfectly.  I was thoroughly pleased throughout my playthrough how well done it was.  Every track fit the scenario your character was in, whether it was a puzzle unraveling the sins of a masked minion, a duel, or even just in the Orders hallway.  It’s rare for a point and click game that has music that stands out, but here we are. 
 
Now I know you know what I’m going to complain about….the voice acting.  I swear every character is played by Kristen Stewart as the lack of emotion is cringe worthy.  Without giving to much away there’s a scene where a man is reunited with the love of his live and without lack of emotion WHILE EMBRACING HERE says the following, “Is this real, it feels real to me.”  Although this is only one example of the many, many times there is a lack of emotion it was that stuck with me the most.  You were so close, yet so far from a much higher score here.


Time to do some HOS’s.

 
Difficulty  .5/10
This has to be of the easiest, straightforward, and hassle free games they have put out in some time thus earning my brand new score of half of a point.  You can complete this game in less than 3 hours with everything done including the bonus, as the bonus takes just under 10 minutes.  You will need a walkthrough for the collectibles but other than that this game is extremely easy.


Match the symbols to complete this puzzle!  So hard! (sarcasm obv)

 
Achievements 5/10
One step forward two steps back.  Welcome to the achievement list of every single game ever made by them.  Beat the game on expert, don’t use hints or skips, collect 30 collectibles, and beat a hidden object scene fast.  I applauded them for their use of achievements in the last game but here it just seemed like they stopped caring about innovation, at least where achievements are concerned.  Honestly  if I had to pick better achievements or a better story, I’d pick a better story but Artifex Mundi why not both?  Take a look at Nightmares From the Deep 3, the addition of having to click on certain animals for an achievement instead of collecting items that do nothing.  It was a break from the formula they had been using for years.  They were headed in the right direction, hopefully they keep learning from their past games.
 

Now this is how you make an environment, well done.



 
 
Summary
While the bad voice acting and achievement list form every other game of thieres  was a downer I really did enjoy this game far more then anything they have ever made.  I wanted to know how the story was going to play out and wasn’t disappointed in the end.  Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is a well thought out point and click adventure that deserves a look for casual gamers and narrative fans alike.  As the reviewer I played the game for about 5 hours and unlocked every achievement.


Final Score
82/100
 

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