Not bad for £6. - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Not bad for £6.

It's very rare that I'd be willing to give something a second chance what with the amount of stuff out there. I hated this game for the longest time and I can't even remember why anymore. It's pretty fun, and I'm glad I went back to it.

Story
The story surrounds a writer who is suffering from writers block and decides to go on a vacation with his wife to a small rural town called Bright Falls. After arriving and meeting some of the inhabitants of the town, Alan and his wife Alice settle in to their vacation home. A short while later they get into an argument about Alan's writers block and Alan storms off, only to be called back by Alice's cries for help. Unfortunately, Alan doesn't arrive in time and Alice mysteriously disappears, thus begins his quest to find the woman he loves.

Throughout the story many more characters are introduced with personalities ranging from funny to outright eerie. These characters all drive the plot to a certain degree by adding a common enemy, moving the story forward, or splitting up all the tension and atmosphere with a little comic relief. The game itself is full of many memorable moments; enemies will run around Alan shouting funny yet bizarre one-liners that can catch the player off guard. Other moments include, climbing onto a stage and rocking out to the Old Gods of Asgard whilst taking on a horde of enemies, or just getting drunk, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The plot of the game can get a bit confusing and it could take more than one playthrough to fully understand what happened at certain points in the game. A lot of the game; the ending included, is left up to individual interpretation and plot holes are left deliberately unfilled in an effort to let players speculate about what happened, which is a bold move, but it seems to have worked.

Graphics & Environments
The graphics for the game are great for the most part. Environments are detailed and plenty of time has been used to create realistic character models and environments for the player to traverse. The lighting effects seen throughout the game are some of the best I've seen, but that is to be expected considering how large a role light and darkness play in the game.

I would have liked a little more time exploring the town of Bright Falls and a little less time walking through forest after forest, but that's just a minor nitpick.

The only major problem I had with graphics would be the lip-synching and some of the facial animations during cut-scenes. These two problems are the main reason I kept getting pulled out of the immersion that the game creates. It's a shame that these two problems are so bad when so much effort has been put into the voice acting.

Enemies
The main enemies in the game are fairly similar to the villagers from Resident Evil 4; in that they wield farming equipment, shout random garbage and chase after you relentlessly, they even share the same axe throwing skills. The main difference of course is that most enemies are shrouded in darkness ( a form of protection created by the main villain, in a sense ) and can only be damaged when this protection has been removed. This can be accomplished by shining Alan's torch on them for a short period of time or setting off some kind of explosion that can generate light. After they are exposed Alan is free to take pot-shots at their actual health with his arsenal of guns, flares, and / or flash bangs.

As you would expect the regular enemies in the game get progressively stronger as it goes on and newer variations of them appear wielding larger weapons and with some eventually turning into larger villagers with increased damage and health to add a little extra difficulty to the game.

Other enemy types include flocks of birds that can swarm Alan, Hitchcock style; these ones can be pretty infuriating on the hardest mode. Another rather frustrating enemy type is the "poltergeist". The poltergeist is the darkness controlling objects in the vicinity of Alan and hurling them at him in an effort to stop the player. The type of objects that the darkness picks up can range from small items such as tyres or chairs to larger things like tractors, boats or trains. I must say, props to Alan for being able to take a steel girder to the face and just walk it off.

The biggest problem I had with enemies though is that usually when an enemy appears the camera will zoom in on their location revealing them to the player. If the game didn't do this I feel it could have been a lot scarier.

Audio
This game may have one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard. The licensed songs that play at the end of each chapter all seemed oddly fitting to the mood and give the player a little breathing time to relax before the next part of the story unfolds. The voice acting is also pretty solid. With a couple of minor mess ups with how some people react to the current situation.

Achievements
The achievements aren't really that bad. I imagine the only ones that could put players off getting them all would be the achievement for completing the game on the hardest setting and collecting a bunch of extra collectibles on said mode. It is worth noting that a lot of the achievements in this game to open up new details for what is happening throughout the story and if you want to get the full experience you may as well go after them. If not, you're not really missing out on anything too important.

There are some achievements that feel a little out of place though. One achievement in particualr is for collecting a bunch of coffee thermoses scattered across most levels, and I've been told this is a reference to Twin Peaks but it just seems odd that they would put even more collectibles in the game when you consider the large amount of manuscript pages the game also lets you collect.

To sum up, consistently good storytelling and plot twists will keep the player guessing as to what will happen next and the difficulty curve will ensure the player can't breeze through the game without struggling at least a little bit. It's a great cinematic adventure that plays out almost like a movie and the atmosphere remains top quality throughout the entirety of the game. I'd recommend it to fans of psychological / horror type games and action / adventure fans as well.

Comments

No one has commented on this article.