A Game Review, by Nick Maker
So it has been six years since this game release and does it hold up? Well, to be honest with you, I don’t play a lot of horror games because it is not my cup of tea. I play it mostly to amuse myself, but after playing this game it really holds up good. The game shines by its uneasy atmosphere and the developers really did a great job doing that. I feel every time when I get into some unsettling creepy section of the room I say “I want to get out man, where’s the exit.” I don’t usually get really scared but man, some parts of the game just give me an intense feeling whenever something bad is about to happen, and spook me a few times just by hearing a random noise.
I will say this, that story isn’t the strongest suit especially from the beginning. You will get lost of what the heck is the main character talking about with his notes and additional dialogue that you either care or don’t, and just want to move on to your destination. Though in the middle or even at the end you’ll start to at least understand what this whole story is about, once you collect enough notes of the diary; and when you really want to get invested in the story than you can read it whole in Daniel’s dairy. I sort of got bored midway through Daniel’s rambling till almost the end when I finally took notice of the lore and I took an interest in it, so it’s not the most boring if you can persevere through the plot. Now one thing I find amusing about the plot is Daniel’s persistence to kill Alexander even if it means going through dank sewers, subjected to smelling rotten food and corpses, while running away from those grunts (which I called Big Lip “Monster moment” since they appear for a moment and disappear on the next), and all kinds of monsters out there. I’ve got to give him credit though for being that brave. I would just high tail out of there telling the constable the whole story and never set foot in that castle again!
I will tell you now there are practically little enemies in this game; but the biggest enemy you have to watch out for is your sanity, with no weapons to defend and you know what, it works perfectly! Yeah I wish there were at least two more enemies because I got a little tired of looking at big lip grunts all the time; and once you hear that screech you know it’s avoid, hide, don’t hear the music building up, move on and repeat. Thankfully once again the atmosphere and your sanity meter helps you build up fear to those three monsters in hair standing moments. Because the only monster I didn’t find scary is the invisible water monster; that creature had potential but ultimately you just don’t touch the water and you’re good to go. The brute I only saw once in my first playthrough and I only looked at him for a second! Based on what I heard about him, he’s a tougher version of the grunt that is all. I understand the game’s purpose of no weapons and you must hide from the monsters, but sometimes I find it funny through Daniel’s observation that why couldn’t he at least use some of the tools that look assaulting enough to attack them, or at least throw it. (I thought when I grab the crow bar I would be like Gordon Freeman, turns out I was wrong and decide to throw at the grunt…big mistake.) I guess Daniel-son hasn’t learned self-defense yet.
The second key point of the game is keeping your sanity in check, because if you don’t you will start to hallucinate and your vision will become drunk as demoman himself! Though honestly I find the sanity meter a bit disappointment than it is “ooooh gotch I better keep that in check.” Because drunken vision and seeing cockroach with blood on walls doesn’t help me become scared, it just makes me have to wait till my brain is less insane and then I move on to the next. Eternal Darkness from the gamecube did it better in terms of sanity effect because it just breaks the 4th wall of the game and it was awesome! Light apparently is essential for keeping that meter in check so always carry tinder and oil. You won’t believe how chill moments when you find out you only have little oil and only one can left, is a good feel of conservative! But sadly that sort of taking away the meaning of light when your sanity anyway will drop fast just by a sudden event you did or that shaky earthquake that my meter goes down fast. I don’t know if I’m thinking wrong, but to me it happens to me always especially even if my head is clear, a grunt appear and is bad to having that pounding headache.
Don’t get me started with the health meter, the health meter is practically useless. Why? Because almost nothing can kill you except the enemies. Those red blob things that hurt you won’t kill you; falling from ledges, nope trust me I tried many times to test it unless you hurt yourself repeatedly. When it said I’m bleeding badly it heals back to bruise and cuts so having that laudanum is pretty much the least worry of your problem of your journey unless that effects your sanity meter in which case I apologize. If you get killed don’t worry, it will reset to the closest section you died and you’ll still have your items with you.
Great horror game, great atmosphere and good puzzles too, though I wish they hinted the puzzles just a little more for some of the confusing puzzles but that’s just a nitpick. Another good thing about this game is mod support so you will get additional fan custom stories which make repeatable playthroughs with different fan stories. I give it an 8/10 for still holding up to its age.
About Nick… “I am a studious person who loves reading and loves researching about virtually anything! I play the piano and every year I have to give a performance in a church. I love video games – especially when it’s a puzzle and action game. I would like to become a programmer one day in the field of computer science. I love my family so much, even if we drive each other crazy sometimes, we’re still one big happy family.”