Posted: May 17
I'm very pleased with this game. I bought it on sale for $4 and was a little skeptical about it specifically because it looked like the kind of game I would probably enjoy a lot (I was afraid I would be pumping it up just to be let down). I'm very glad I was wrong and I can easily say that this game is worth full price.
A few bits of personal preference to start off with; I personally prefer to have the color saturation turned up in the game. There's two modes that you play in, one is in the light and the other is in the dark. The dark provides plenty of the gray color palette to satisfy any inclination for having it feel gloomy. The game itself does a good job of setting that mood even without having the colors being washed out. I also made the darks less dark and the lights less light, just so I could feel comfortable being able to see everything there was to see. The second personal preference is to NOT turn up the difficulty in the game. The default difficulty is satisfying enough for me. For players who might get frustrated enough to put the game down, I would suggest setting the difficulty to 'less deadly' right from the start. The weapons are 17th century weapons and as such are slow and feel a bit cumbersome (although not at all as inaccurate as I was expecting). You're going up against supernatural beings who are every bit as deadly as you are and if you die, they all respawn (in new spots -except inside strongholds) and you'll just have to find them and kill them again. Avoiding them is very difficult and once they spot you, they'll chase you all the way back to camp if you're not able to take them down.
The visual style of the game is excellent. The sense of walking around in the woods is truly convincing and immersive. When the wind picks up to make all the vegetation move, it's nothing less than breathtaking. I go hiking on a regular basis and this game comes as close as any game has ever come to replicating that experience.
Navigating through the game and the story can seem a little confusing at first but it's actually very simple. You basically use two things to tell you what to do. Early in the game, you'll get a map and you'll get special senses. Basically, all you have to do is turn on all of your map markers and go to the site of each one. In addition to that, just keep using your special hearing skill (x-key by default) and follow the sounds to lead you where to go. That's it.
The game is pretty scary to me in a fun ghost story kind of way and it would make a great game to buy and play around Halloween, although there's certainly no need to wait for the next Halloween to come around. If you have a system that lets you set all the eye candy to maximum, it's worthwhile to do so but the game is well designed, with a sense of peril and accomplishment that really satisfies. I haven't finished the story yet so I'll update the review once I make my way through the whole game.
Ok [I think] I've finished the game although it seems a little strange that it doesn't have any credits available, but I guess that's because it was a small team. Anyway, here are some pros and cons.
-Great overall story which is worth sticking around to see where it leads.
-Great presentation. Sort a combination of light versions of Skyrim, Far Cry 3, and Blair Witch Project.
-Just about the right length considering how repetitive it starts to feel at the end.
-Lots of structures but not a single one is open to you to take a look inside. It's all bunch of external shells and doors that won't open -basically just scenery. Considering it's a period piece, it would have been nice to get a closer glimpse into what the daily lives of these people might have been like. Maybe the sequel (?) will include this.
-No voice acting. I know this is unfair considering that it's an independent game with a low budget and also that it's available in multiple languages. Nevertheless, maybe this game will be so successful that they'll be able to have a few more bells and whistles next time around. Having said that, I'd very much prefer to have it be all text than to have any bad acting so there's that.
-Repetitive quests. Why is it that on every map I have to find someone's head, tell ghosts to find their way by listening to the bell, and find apparently meaningless gifts for the chick in red? These things feel like and basically are meaningless distractions from the story that don't take up much time but nevertheless do so unnecessarily.
Overall, I'd say it gets an 8/10 score. The game was a lot of fun and very artfully presented. A well thought out sequel could really shine and I'd really like to see this title thrive as a new property.