The first two chapters of "Bendy and the Ink machine" showed players an engaging story with abysmal (and borderline unplayable) gameplay. After completing the second chapter, I had decided that I was not going to buy the third and opt to watch a friend or YouTuber play instead. When the chapter was released, I changed my mind, and I am glad that I did.

What the first two chapters should have done differently

The first chapter was free, so I feel that one should be more lenient, but the issues of Chapter One are the issues of Chapter Two. Chapter one creates a gorgeous, sepia-toned atmosphere that sets the bar quite high.

The player must shortly after that find a gear, a doll of Bendy, an existential book written by one of the characters (which has implications that could last an entire article), a jar of ink, and a wrench. These serve as motifs that will be present throughout the chapters and, while serving as remarkably dull gameplay, help to set the scene.

The second chapter introduces more world building with frequent audio logs. We learn about many of the characters from this as well as the history of the building. The story in this chapter more interesting, but the gameplay has dropped even lower. Despite padding the length of the game by making the player find randomly placed objects, the symbolism is lost as they are items such as buttons and switches, making the chapter feel like a $5.99 commute.

How the third chapter has improved the gameplay

Just as a quick heads up, there will be some minor spoilers ahead, but I will try to keep them to a minimum.

The third chapter continues the theme of phenomenal world-building as you wake up in what is referred to as a safehouse, (though one wonders how any room in the building can be a safe house).

Around the room, you will find various things to flesh out the time between chapters two and three, such as a sheet of paper stating that enough time has passed for Henry and Borris to have played 44 games of cards (with it being a 22 to 22 tie). The fetch quest-style gameplay of the previous games makes an early return as the player is prompted to find three cans of soup.

This theme in gameplay is rather quickly adjusted as you are given a flashlight and must walk through a dark hall, similar to 'Slender' or 'Resident Evil 7'. From this point on, the player is presented with various tasks, most of which given to them by Alice. This follows an earlier theme of finding multiple things, but there are puzzles and new gameplay mechanics to be enjoyed such as Miracle Booths that the player can hide in, reminiscent of 'Amnesia: The Dark Descent' and a stronger focus on combat. Although the new gameplay mechanics are not remarkably unique, Chapter Three uses them to show remarkable improvement on the gameplay (or lack thereof) of the previous two chapters.