Earlier this month, Microïds invited us out to San Francisco to try out a brand new demo for their upcoming game Blacksad: Under The Skin. The game is based on the popular comic book of the same name, in which the old-school world of detectives, underground crime syndicates, and just bad people all around still exist. But this time around it's in a world where the people are all animals. So how well does the material from the comic hold up in the form of a video game?
So first and foremost, if you're a fan of any of Telltale Games' titles, this is going to be right up your alley. In this game, you use your detective skills to talk to people through multiple choice. But unlike Telltale where people "will remember" what you said and did with little to no effect, your actions have real consequences. A good example of this is that at one point I needed to get into a safe. The safe required a specific combo that used to be someone's birthday. Using deductive reasoning, I managed to figure out it was now another person's birthday, which unlocked the safe. I could have kept the info quiet, but I made the choice to let the information slip to the person who's birthday was the old code. That person immediately drew a grudge toward them, effecting the story moving forward.
It also has some familiar elements to Telltale games as Blacksad has quick-button events. Right off the bat, I had someone break into my detective's office and I was in a fight. Totally unprepared for the scenario in front of me, it took me a couple of shots to make it through the sequence of events without getting killed. And trust me, there are six different ways you get killed in your office depending on what you push. The game had me talking to more people than dealing with these scenarios, but when they game, I found them incredibly challenging to get the timing right.
A good portion of the game will have you using your detective skills to figure out what's going on. As you gather the information you'll see it added to an area in your head where you make deductive reasoning. When you have enough pieces of the puzzle, you can link things together and get an idea of what's really going on. That will open up avenues of questioning for you to go down and solve more of the mystery. You can get clues from investigating places, examining people as they talk, or just in casual conversation. It's an interesting way of working the story out and putting together what you need to solve certain aspects.
Overall we got a good chunk of the first story of the game, and a lot of the elements of what will play out to come. I will say that the game is a little too true to the comic and that race plays a part in some of the storylines. Granted, it's between animals, but it's still one of those things that rubbed me the wrong way playing it. Like it wants to be a gritty true crime kind of drama a little too much. We'll see how it all shakes out eventually when Blacksad: Under The Skin is released on November 5th, 2019. For now, you can check out some video of the demo we tried out below.