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Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapter 5 Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

The final chapter of the Disney/Fleischer-inspired horror game Bendy and the Ink Machine by Joey Drew Studios is here. Chapter 5: The Last Reel continues the story of a trapped animator fighting for his life in his old studio, providing some new environments, thrills, and faces to keep your interest, but the conclusion is disappointing.

THE CLOSING CURTAIN

Very little has changed in Chapter 5: The Last Reel. You still play as Henry Stein, with all the same gameplay mechanics in place, but after a lengthy cutscene you're thrown into the action with a brand new item (the Seeing Tool) in order to find hidden messages on the walls which provide clues and hints as to how to make progress.   

Like the previous chapters’ gameplay, Chapter 5: The Last Reel focuses on fetch quests and exploration. One particular fetch quest in the office room was odd in its structuring: Essentially, you're asked to go into a dangerous zone three times to look for the exact same item in the exact same spot. In fact, the difficulty stays exactly the same throughout this part of the chapter, making you feel as though there’s no real challenge once you’ve done it already. Other quests were similarly inscrutable and weren't particularly fun.

BEYOND GAMEPLAY

The strength of this series has always been its storytelling over gameplay, allowing you to gather pieces and figure out what the answer to the mystery is yourself. Chapter 5: The Last Reel seems to be the most laser focused in this regard, having what feels like more cutscenes than gameplay segments. As gameplay isn’t what most fans of this series look for when they play, this can be forgiven.  

The problem is that the story may be a bit too obtuse this time around. This final entry of the series fails to truly answer any questions you may have had since the series’ inception. Nothing is truly accomplished by the end — by Henry or any of the other characters. This is supposed to be the final showdown between Henry and Ink Bendy and, while that does happen, there is no real resolution to anything. Henry and you are left in the dark about what happens to the studio and all the people trapped in it. On top of that, Chapter 5: The Last Reel doesn't have nearly as many recordings as previous chapters, leaving you with less context this time around than you would’ve had before.  

WHAT’S UP(GRADED), DOC?

If you liked the graphics in the series thus far, you'll be pleased with them in the final installment, as it continues with its signature, pseudo-sepia-tone look and presents new types of areas not really seen in previous chapters. Most of the last chapter takes place in a ghetto-like village for the first half and in empty, steel corridors for the second, while two types of places are very different from where the game has gone before. The character modeling has also improved drastically since Bendy And The Ink Machine first began production. The character models in this chapter are the most expressive since the introduction of Physical Alice in Chapter 3: Rise and Fall.

As for technical aspects, Chapter 5: The Last Reel is actually much less buggy than previous chapters have been in the past. Aside from some mouth movements on models that did not sink up with the audio, everything else is perfectly fine. Loading was smooth, the AI played well, and there was no trouble with gameplay. There was one minorly-frustrating part of this particular chapter, though: Not being able to move your body while using the Seeing Tool, merely being able to look around, means you have to constantly open and close the tool. This makes it discouraging to want to use the Seeing Tool at all, which is unfortunate, considering it's the only novel mechanic in this chapter.

5

The Verdict: Fair

The most positive thing that can be said about Chapter 5: The Last Reel is that it still feels like you are playing a Bendy and the Ink Machine game. The atmosphere, play style, and aesthetics all give you the sense that you're right back in the thick of it. Unfortunately, the entire chapter comes off as rushed and pales in comparison to the previous chapter (Chapter 4: Colossal Wonders) on challenge, story, and level design. Any fan of the series will want to play this no matter what, but they may feel like they’ve been left deeper in the dark than the victims of Joey Drew’s experiments.

Liam Cunningham
Written by
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:13
Published in Adventure

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Hailing from Maryland, Liam spent his college years studying all kinds of media, granting him an Associate's Degree in film from Anne Arundel Community College and a degree in Simulation and Digital Entertainment from the University of Baltimore to learn narrative game writing. He has worked on his own internet serials for many years, including Colorless Commentary (a review series of classic Hollywood films) and A Look Back with Lac! (Reviewing classic Anime). Also, he has voiced and wrote for many anime parodies for fun as well as creating, writing and directing a Batman fan adaptation, The Gotham High Radio Drama. His favorite games include the Kingdom Hearts series, Sly Cooper, Metal Gear Solid, The Stanley Parable, and Super Smash Bros.

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