Artifex Mundi is back at it again with not only another HoG for our PS4, but also another final conclusion to one of their trilogies. A few weeks ago I reviewed the great Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala and now we have the third, and final, Grim Legends story. Grim Legends 3 brings with it a few new gameplay mechanics I’ve not seen in previous titles as well as some returning favourites. It’s also ‘possible’ to obtain the platinum within one playthrough if you are very vigilant with your exploration of the scenes or resort to using a guide (which I advise against). So, does the story end with a happy ever after, or does the series end in a tragedy? Let’s find out.
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is the third and final game in the Grim Legends trilogy, but as with all other Artifex Mundi titles – it’s its own self-contained story. This means that you can jump straight in here if you want to and you won’t feel you have missed anything if you haven’t played the previous games – although I do highly recommend all of their games if you like playing casual games. With that being said, in Europe and the UK, the previous games are currently at 66% off until the 23rd May – as are a lot of other titles from Artifex Mundi – so it’s time to stock up!
In Grim Legends 3, our protagonist is Sylvia, a young huntress who is working for ‘the Order’. Along with her mentor, Solomon, she has been tasked to seek out and find Gabriel, an ex-member of the Order who has seemingly stolen an artifact which contains an evil being known as Koshmaar. Meanwhile, the entire town of Lichtenheim has been absorbed into Koshmaars nightmare realm upon its release. The townsfolk are left possessed by demonic creatures from another dimension who are known as Maskwraiths and have no purpose other than to serve their master.
As Sylvia, you will embark on a fantastical journey as you free the poor citizens from their terrible fate and return their souls to their rightful bodies. Along the way, you must solve puzzles, search for useful items, encounter many creatures, help people, and uncover the truth about your past. Grim Legends 3 will offer you around 6-7 hours of entertainment per playthrough as well as a 1-2 hour bonus chapter. There aren’t as many collectables as we have seen in previous games and there isn’t a choice in puzzle modes, but there are plenty of new and original puzzles along with hard to spot collectables and an intriguing story.
If you wish to know exactly what a hidden object game is, please see one of my other reviews here – I have explained the genre in quite a lot of detail in each one. The basic gist is, you play through the story via moving from scene to scene of beautiful backdrops, as you interact with various people, objects and sparkly areas. You talk to the people to gain hints, pick up and use the items to solve puzzles, and perform Hidden Object Puzzles (HoPs) in the sparkly areas. The aim of the game is to perform some inventory management puzzles, standard puzzles and exploration as you work your way through the game towards your goal.
What I love about Artifex Mundi is their ability to bring something new in each of their titles, even though they are on about 16 games on the PS4 now! One game has multiple choice questions which changed the paths you went down, some have domino games in them, and they all have different puzzles (well, about 10% of puzzles are reused across some games). The new mechanic in Grim Legends 3 is a battle game in which you play against the Maskwraiths. It’s a simple game yet very fun. You are casting a spell in order to fend off and knock out the evil creature so your spell wheel appears on screen, along with 2-symbol spells. You must look at the ones the enemy has and pick the one you have where none of the symbols matches any of your opponents. It’s not tricky or hard to complete this, but it’s a new mechanic I’ve not seen them use before.
The fun doesn’t stop there either – once you have hit the Maskwraiths three times and they have collapsed, you must go into the creature’s heart in order to free the townsfolk within. This is performed by solving a stained glass window type puzzle. Each Maskwraith has a different puzzle and they come in sets of three – all of where I found to be entertaining, fresh and fun to work out. These are a little more tricky than the above due to the stained glass being see-through, so the solution isn’t always very clear – but they are all still do-able and simple enough.
On top of these new mechanics, we have a lot of old favourites present within the puzzles and exploration. There is a decent amount of puzzles within Grim Legends 3 which range from building items like a crossbow by finding 9-12 pieces of it in a HoP, your standard finding of 12-15 items in a normal HoP, finding ingredients then mixing potions, and many other puzzles like creating moulds and painting a picture where none of the sections is near same colour. I never got bored, the puzzles never repeated and there was no obvious clone of a puzzle from a previous game (which you do sometimes get).
The collectables were a bit of a pain for me though. On my first playthrough, I managed to get 27 out of 30 of them (this is without a guide or any help) – which is pretty good. I just don’t like the collectable they went with. You only have one kind in this game and there is no way to keep track of them, which makes it a pain on your second playthrough as you have to literally collect every single one again just to be sure you don’t miss one. They are the ones that vanish after a few seconds – like the ‘other dimension’ ones in previous titles. To people who don’t know what I’m on about, every few seconds a really small image of a skeleton/masked figure will appear in certain scenes before it vanishes again. You need to have a keen eye to spot these as they aren’t very clear and you don’t know which scenes they will pop up in.
The fact you only have one collectable is also good and bad – it’s good because you don’t have to look for two or three things like you do in other games, but it’s also bad because when they only have one they always seem to omit any tracking or hints. The first PS4 game, The Clockwork Tales was nice and easy for the collectables as there as a beetle on literally every scene. Because of that, I knew never to move on until I found it. But that’s just me – I’m just not a fan of no tracking and fading in and out items.
Another thing which I feel is constantly improving within these titles is the animations, graphics and voice acting. Grim Legends 3 improves on every aspect, but not without a few issues. Graphically, the game looks gorgeous on the PS4 Pro – with its highly contrasting colours, watercolour-style backdrops and colourful, yet dark and gloomy atmospheres – the game is beautiful. Some of the scenes and images could be printed out and placed in a photo frame and you wouldn’t even think they were from a video game.
The voice acting is really good. Okay, it’s not perfect and there are a few times here and there where it isn’t great, but overall the actors play the parts convincingly, the voices match the characters they are portraying, and the levels of the audio are consistent throughout. The music itself is yet another game I would love the soundtrack too. I hope one day that Artifex Mundi decides to offer us the soundtracks on PSN, or if anyone knows where we can get hold of them, please let me know!
Finally, the animations – this is a mixed bag. There are some really good animations, for an Artifex Mundi title, here with the characters moving in a more fluid motion than I’ve seen for a while. However, there is the odd occasion where the final outcome is a little strange and not very nice to look at. Once such moment is when Solomon is talking to a guard on a horse. As she is talking, her face is fleshed out and animated as she talks to you. Then, as soon as she shuts up, instead of keeping the face active or looking the same, it defaults back to the drawn image. This wouldn’t be bad but the drawn image looks very different to her animated face. This happens a few times with the faces of various people. It’s not a big issue, but it does let the game down a little in terms of the presentation.
One last thing I need to mention – the bonus chapter. Usually, with these games, the bonus chapter is a prequel to the main game which offers more insight into the build-up to the main game and offers more context into why things happened the way they did. Every now and again though you will get a bonus episode with focusses on the future, Grim Legends 3 is one of these. I don’t want to ruin the ending of the game but something happens which is kind of obvious but also a tiny bit unexpected. The bonus chapter revolved around what happens next and how that event can be fixed in order to deliver the trilogies happy ending.
I really enjoyed the bonus episode. It is required for three trophies and I liked the fact it was a progression of the story rather than a setup to the story you’ve just played through. As usual, though, there is no collectables or extra features within this mode, it’s just a 1-2 hour extension with more puzzles, HoGs and in this case a battle.
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is a great Hidden Object Game from Artifex Mundi. I love their commitment to bringing their popular franchises to us on console along with simple, yet effective controls and mechanics. This game was a little easier than some of the previous titles, yet it has a great selection of new puzzles, a new battle mechanic, great stained glass windows puzzles, and a great balance of HoPs as well. The voice acting is great, the music fits it really well and the artwork is top-notch. If you liked any previous HoGs from Artifex Mundi or you’re looking for a casual game then these are a no-brainer.
Also, up until the 25th May, all older Artifex Mundi titles, including Grim Legends 1 and 2, are £3.99 each! All with easy platinums and about 6-8 hours or gameplay.
**A copy of the game was kindly provided by the developer for review purposes**
Grim Legends 3: The Dark City£11.99
- Intriguing and interesting story with a satisfying end to the trilogy
- Very good voice acting and music
- I love the artwork within the game
- The battles and stained glass puzzles are cool
- Can be platinumed and completed in one sitting
- Seems easier than some of the previous games
- The collectibles are a bit of a pain with no checklist and the fact they fade in and out