Perhaps The Blackwell Unbound’s biggest contribution to the series, is giving it a far larger scope and nuance than what was only hinted at in the first game.Long before Rosa Blackwell ever met Joey Mallone (or had even been born for that matter), Unbound follows her aunt, Lauren, Joey’s previous “hostage” and an experienced medium at the point we find her. Unbound isn’t so much about her adventures with Joey though, as it is a foreshadowing of what we already know happens to her.
In many ways she’s the spitting image of her niece, though certainly more confident and assertive than the depressed Rosa we met in Legacy, yet tied by the common thread of having largely given up on the world. Lauren has devoted herself to helping lingering ghosts move on to the afterlife, but otherwise is unsure for what purpose she’s living for. Or at least that’s what she tells herself, but when caught up in an investigation she becomes a wholly different person.
Lauren is persistent and dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to finish a case, no matter if it means pressing people for information they’d rather forget, or putting her life on the line to catch a killer. Maybe it’s because she feels she has no other purpose that she’s able to so readily move forward, unafraid of how dangerous it could become. By abandoning her worry she’s able to fully embody her role as a medium, as if she too was a ghost and nothing could harm her. She’s a refreshingly capable heroine in a landscape of unstable sex objects, who manages to be tough without losing her humanity. There’s the feeling she’s still scared underneath her fearless exterior, and allows herself to become vulnerable at times to avoid a complete breakdown, but she’s always in control of any situation she puts herself in whether interrogating a witness or firing back when Joey gets brash.
It’s in the final moments of Unbound though that are the most affecting. We’ve already been told what eventually happens to Lauren in Legacy, but it’s seeing it and hearing Joey’s ignorant condolences that made me almost angry at what his presence has done and continues to do to the Blackwells. It casts Lauren and Rosa’s relationship with him in a different light and made me question his every word, now unsure if I could trust him the way I was, wondering if he had a more nefarious purpose for being there all along. Much of Unbound feels inessential, like another episode in a show you enjoy but could afford to miss, but its implications on the larger whole of the Blackwell saga is perhaps the most significant bit of exposition in the series thus far. Suddenly things have become a hell of a lot more complicated.
The Blackwell Unbound was developed by Wadjet Eye and is available on PC, Mac, and Linux for $4.99.
If you were wondering where the old review went, it's been repurposed do to a glaring inaccuracy on my part which rendered it useless.