Black Book, Review. Slavic Witch


Vasya takes us down the path of the dark arts to recover her late husband.

We are indebted to The Witcher, apart from its revolution within the fantasy genre and role-playing video games. In addition to gaining popularity grimdark In response to the conventions of heroic fantasy, the Geralt of Rivia saga opened a window on Slavic culture and mythology. While the mythologies most commonly expressed in digital entertainment are Greek and Scandinavian, the folklore Eastern countries and further afield from the Urals also provide very interesting inspiration. So the designer Vladimir Beletksy, together with the studio Morteshka – creators of The Moosemanand Hypertrain Digital, present to us Black book, a role – playing video game that will launch on August 10 on Windows PC and Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

Black Book is one of it those treasures that can be noticed on the Steam store. After all, its audio-visual aspect may be inadequate compared to other titles in the genre. The aesthetic covers and announces the sinister tone in which the story of the witch Vasilisa expands, but the graphics of the scenarios and characters in the exploration parts may be poor. However, the portraits and page design of the black book, which depicts medieval engravings, are even more popular. Also, the images shown by the game are quite moving, and we feel that it could have a greater impact if the graphics were more careful. Conversely, the music and voices in English shine more, and balance the magical and magical tone of the work.

Agreement with the Devil

But despite its appearance, the Black Book is a surprising and very original title in terms of a gameplay to it brings together the visual novel and the card game in a title that invites the player to participate in the story, its Universe and its strategy.

As we have already mentioned, our main character is the young Vasilisa, known as Vasya from his close relatives. Following the recent suicide of her husband, the girl has a strong goal: to resurrect her lover. To do this, she decides to break her inclinations against black magic and begins a career as a witch, under the tutelage of her grandfather, who has extensive experience in the dark arts. Vasya gets the black book, protected by seven seals that she must break in order to achieve her wish. For a company that will obey the laws of nature and Christian commands, the witch must establish an agreement with the devil, and ally with demons be able to break the seals.

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A Black Book recommends us a story about questionable morality, in which we have to outline Vasya’s path through an already contradictory route. We are based in Russia in the late nineteenth century, in a society where Christian beliefs and paganism come together, and we will have to make choices that affect Vasya’s morality and her vision of bottling. Even with the knowledge that we have chosen a shady lifestyle, we will have to deal with choices that may be bad for us. That meter will increase or decrease according to our actions and will affect how others understand us and the outcome of the story.

Vasya’s adventure is structured in chapters that follow a sequence gameplay very well marked. Each witch’s day begins in her home, or at the accommodation where she spends the night. In the morning, you will be able to talk to your grandfather and companions to learn more about the upcoming missions. In addition, he will have to deal with two main tasks: send his demonic servants to cause small disasters to the neighbors to prevent our torture; and cater for the visitors who will ask us favors in the form of potential secondary missions. As an addition, we can play durak, a traditional Russian card game that we can enjoy in different parts of history.

A visual novel, research and strategy with spells

When we finish attending our visits, we will begin to fulfill our mission. A. map with marked route, where we have to visit various points along the way and sort them out before we reach our destination. The narrator, who describes each case in the second person in the style of a master of a role-playing game, it gives us situations in which we have to make a choice. Other times, we’ll have the area and interface with a point & click where Vasya ‘s controls and speed are not the most appreciated.

Hypertrain Digital Morteshka RPG Cards Vladimir Beletksy Black magic RPG cards dark fantasy Slavic fantasy PC PS4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch

The investigative part of the Black Book is one of the most enjoyable, precisely because of how it relates to the player and forces him to deduction capacity. Sometimes we are asked a question where only one answer is correct, and to get it we have to look at the legends, stories and the best things that are added to our files. The solution will not always be clear, but we will need to apply a little reading comprehension. Of course, the story will continue to evolve if we do not get the answer right, but we will lose a few extra experience points. However, the texts are only available in English or Russian, so if we do not control these languages ​​at least we will not be able to enjoy the Black Book.

From a magazine perspective, the Black Book is a delight that celebrates dark fantasy and the folklore Russian. A world in which we empathize with a witch who participates in the dark arts is immersed, while at the same time preserving her own humanity. We will find out too different shades in demons and other mythological creatures that accompany us, and that will enable us to empathize with them despite being conceived as the eternal villains.

Hypertrain Digital Morteshka RPG Cards Vladimir Beletksy Black magic RPG cards dark fantasy Slavic fantasy PC PS4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch

Along with the visual novel and the exploration part, we get a turn-based combat in which we go armed with the black book pages, which will be letters. In our grimoire we find two types of pages, black and white, corresponding to the spells of defense and offense, respectively, as well as the main cards that close the sequence. Each hand we play will act as a spell that will have the effects named on each card, and the possibility of creating simple combos. We can see the next movement and its changed state. Overall, the battles will be very affordable, except the puzzle type. In the latter, we can only repel our enemy in a certain number of turns, so few combinations are possible.

During our adventure, we will be able to find new pages for the black book and always choose the ones we want to use, since the resource of the gloom is limited. We will also find herbs that will heal us and give us bonuses for battle. What we find will serve our exploration, even though they are well equipped they can grant us some bonuses. And, as in any RPG worth its salt, we will develop a skill tree who will understand our skill with magic and our mastery with demons at our service.

Hypertrain Digital Morteshka RPG Cards Vladimir Beletksy Black magic RPG cards dark fantasy Slavic fantasy PC PS4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch

All in all, Black Book offers us a very immersive arcane adventure, of about 15 hours in which we are wrapped up in a delicious story about bottling, soft-spoken terror and a gloomy atmosphere. I enjoy playing RPGs with some exploration that encourages the player to read and deduce, and in an enjoyable dynamic card game. Vasya will open for us her demons, and we will discover that forbidden darkness and magic are dangerous, but no less appealing.

Battles at spells of stroke

Hypertrain Digital Morteshka RPG Cards Vladimir Beletksy Black magic RPG cards dark fantasy Slavic fantasy PC PS4 Xbox One Nintendo Switch


Black Book is a title that, at first glance, is notable for all the offerings we receive on Steam. His graphics are not enough, though he shows a very cover-up aesthetic sense. However, we are confronted with a very immersive RPG, in which he invites us to immerse ourselves in Slavic mythology through the journey of the witch Vasya, who embarks on the dark arts to resurrect her lover. This RPG offers a highly interactive visual novel, in which the player must activate his deduction ability; and a very affordable, dynamic and enjoyable card game.

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