Being a sequel, Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood must explain how well it connects to the original. Once the story starts, there is a scene that solidifies that we will be playing the same lady detective from the first game. During this, the game wastes no time and starts with a quick explanation of the current status of our protagonist and the ghastly preacher she was pursuing at the end of the first game. With that said, it is highly recommended that players play the first game if they wish to understand why the preacher is important at all. Either way, things quickly go awry and players find themselves outside a large door with an abused camper nearby.
This is where gameplay really starts and it is clear from the beginning that this game plays nearly identical to the original. This isn’t a problem because it means that jumping into the game is quick and easy. In fact, besides some strange events (possibly time travel or a very lucid hallucination), this sequel shares a lot of similarities outside of gameplay with its predecessor. Without spoiling too much, the game takes place in a forest area where people have known to go missing. This parallels the setting and lore from before while introducing new characters and a new mystery.
This mystery will be explored through the usual means, including hidden object scenes, puzzles, and some deductive reasoning. Since there still doesn’t seem to be any other Xbox One series that use hidden object scenes as much as this series, these games remain fun and fresh even when they feel a little samey. What this means for players is that returning fans will feel at home right away while new players will be able to pick up any of the games with ease due to the simplicity of the games and their controls.
Whether new or returning, players that pick up Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood will be happy to know that it is quite possibly the prettiest of the series with the smoothest animations. Normally the looks of a game don’t bother me much, but since these games come out so close to one another, it is really nice to see these games looking better with each release. Unfortunately, the accompanying voice acting is still a bit stiff and awkward. Although the voice acting isn’t the best, it is really the gameplay that keeps pulling me back into these games.
Although the gameplay is generally the same as it always is, it still remains a calming and pleasant way to spend an evening. The controls are simple and tight, allowing players to easily play and enjoy all the puzzles the game has to offer. Between hidden object scenes, color matching puzzles, pattern matching puzzles, and having to figure out where various items are used, Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood has plenty of variety for the casual gamer. These mini games and other game mechanics are fun enough, but they don’t really make up for the areas the game falls short in.
Despite these games being fun enough to play and this one being the prettiest so far, it still suffers from several clichés and general issues. Some of these are easy to overlook, such as jump scare sounds being played when something dramatic happens, while other times the voice acting is so awkward that there is simply no way to feel the impact of the discovery that just happened. If these games would stop trying so hard to pander to the most casual of gamers, I truly feel like they could create a memorable series that fills a niche category of games. Unfortunately, it seems like these games are always going to have a low-budget and thus will keep the same old stiff voice acting, still screen backdrops, and frankly sub par stories. After playing Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood, I simply kept imagining what it would be like if this same game had a darker and more serious tone. Even if that would be best for the series, I won’t be holding my breath.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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