Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood Review

By Rebecca Smith,
Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood is the second in a trilogy of games. Following on from Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek, the game continues the storyline in a way that would best benefit those players who have already played the first game. If you haven't done this, proceed with caution. While the game can be played as a standalone adventure, some of the events will only make sense with prior knowledge. Some may even be considered as spoilers. With that in mind, are you ready to continue onwards?

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I desperately wanted to start this review with "It was a dark and stormy night". After all, that's how virtually every Artifex Mundi point and click has begun since Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart back in September 2015. The problem is that I can't do that this time, because like some of the game's mechanics, the plot has also diverted away from some of its usual tropes. This time, we don't need a dark and stormy night because our setting is intimidating enough without it.

Our detective protagonist is still on the trail of the demonic preacher that eluded her in Maple Creek. As she travels through a forest, she encounters a strange shadowy presence. Spooked by her encounter, she comes across a scene of devastation. A deserted camper van sits outside the entrance to Ravenwood Heritage Park, badly damaged and with its contents strewn across the road. What happened here? Our detective soon finds herself in the middle of a new supernatural mystery that not only plays out as an enjoyable tale in its own right, it also fills in a lot of background lore for the previous title, although this lore does make a significant "surprise" plot twist become rather predictable. As can be expected, it also sets the scene nicely for the sequel, which we can only assume will make it to the Xbox One at some point in the future.

It wouldn't be an Artifex Mundi title if everything stayed this peacefulIt wouldn't be an Artifex Mundi title if everything stayed this peaceful

The gameplay doesn't stray away from the usual formula of standard point and click gameplay with a variety of different hidden object games and puzzles. Unlike the first title in the series, Enigmatis 2 makes use of three different types of hidden object games. There is your standard version with a list of items to find and a second version where you must find parts of objects to create a whole. The third version requires players to use found objects to solve puzzles until a final object is created. None of the scenes feel too cluttered and the different versions do a great job of mixing up the gameplay to prevent it from growing stale.

Like more recent Artifex Mundi titles, Enigmatis 2 introduces an alternative to the standard version of the hidden object games. If you're struggling to find an object or you're just getting bored of hidden object gameplay, pressing cn_down switches the player to a Pair-Matching game. Unlike Snap, where players find pairs of identical pictures, you must instead match pictures that make a suitable pairing, like a camera and photographs. Unlike the mahjong or domino alternatives that have been present in previous games, the Pair-Matching puzzles are fairly simple -- almost too easy. It's a minor blip in a title whose gameplay is otherwise fairly consistent.

There is more to this scene than car keys, licence plates and air freshenersThere is more to this scene than car keys, licence plates and air fresheners

Aside from the hidden object gameplay, players have a variety of puzzles to solve, from the simple to those that require more thought. If you ever get stuck, the trusty skip function returns to move you onwards so that your story never grinds to a halt. Enigmatis' most prominent feature, the evidence wall, also makes another appearance. Like the previous title, this allows players to map out the evidence that they have gathered throughout the park's many locations. After using the evidence to form deductions, you're given a new objective to fulfil. Rather than just being told a story, this allows players to interact with it instead and gives some satisfaction as you uncover more layers of the story.

A new feature for the Enigmatis series is the collectible coins. First seen in the Nightmares from the Deep series, players had to collect a total of 12 coins to unlock an object that was vital to finishing the game. In Enigmatis 2, players have to free a prisoner, instead, and Artifex Mundi has finally found a way to give this gameplay mechanic a bigger purpose. Unlike previous titles where players could hoard the coins until the very end, only returning when the locked object was required, this title makes players interact with the prisoner throughout the game. Not only is he a source of information who will provide background for the evidence board, he also holds objects that are needed to progress.

Who is the mysterious prisoner?Who is the mysterious prisoner?

As you progress through the story, the map understandably grows larger as players discover more locations. Each of these locations remains open for the entirety of the game once they are discovered, but the story develops in such a way that players will find little need to travel to locations that they've left behind. If you ever do feel the need to return to earlier locations, there is a fast travel option via the in-game map to make that journey a little less painful. The map also serves the purpose of indicating available actions when playing on Normal difficulty, although this is just one of the features that is removed if players want to take on Expert difficulty instead. There is a longer hint recharge, a reduced number of hints and a penalty for too many incorrect clicks during hidden object scenes, too. Even on Expert difficulty, the game rarely stumps players and most will be able to make it through the story in 4-5 hours.

Upon completion of the story, players will unlock a bonus prequel chapter that tells the events of 40 years ago, reliving the story of the park's guard. As usual, the chapter will add an extra hour to your play time and offers up a couple of new characters and a new spin on some familiar locations. You will need to complete this chapter to earn one of the game's achievements. Of the others, 15 are unmissable story-related achievements that will be gathered during a single playthrough of the main game, while you get another for completing the game. You'll also need to make sure that you play on Expert difficulty, find all of the game's butterflies and illusive objects, and not skip any of the title's mini-games. Finally, as you would expect with a game that offers an alternative to the hidden object puzzles, two playthroughs will be needed. One will see you not using any hints as you complete all of the hidden object scenes, while the other will see you completing all of the Pair-Matching games. None of these achievements are challenging and the completion should take around 6-8 hours.

If you want to travel around the park, use the map... not the gondola. Trust me.If you want to travel around the park, use the map... not the gondola. Trust me.


Summary

Bucking the curse of the middle episode, Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood offers another solid storyline with plenty of supernatural tendencies, setting the scene nicely for the final part of the trilogy. The standard gameplay will be extremely familiar to Artifex Mundi fans by now, although some would consider the new Pair-Matching alternative to be a bit too easy. The developer's attempts to spice up the collectible coins does give the feature a more meaningful purpose and the evidence wall allows players to become immersed in the story, rather than just playing it out. If you like Artifex Mundi's games, or adventure games in general, than this will be another enjoyable title for you.
4 / 5
Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood
Positives
  • Simple and accessible gameplay
  • Evidence wall adds player immersion
  • Improved coin collection mechanic
Negatives
  • Pair-Matching games can be too simple
Ethics
The reviewer spent eight hours battling another demonic curse in the middle of a deserted park. After earning all of the game's 36 achievements, never again will she look at birds the same way. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.