Posted: June 28
It's been a bit of time since I've played Serena, but I find this game always tends to haunt me. Ooh, we're punning already...
There is one thing that Serena did well that I want to start off with. Serena tells an amazing story in a short period of time. You're in a cabin trying to recall what happened to your beloved and once your memories are becoming a little more clear, you're not so sure if it's madness or clarity. Things are not what they seem. This is a basic writing scenario. The point is to take these things, elaborate on them, and make them very strong. Serena excells at this and gives you a twist ending that leaves you staring at the screen and (at least for me) scrambling for more answers because I just couldn't believe what I saw.
It's a story that starts off simply enough and leaves you to click around for your answers. Things start off sweet and loving and shortly they become a more twisted vision of those "love goggles" your character had on.
Serena is a simple point-and-click style game that is more of an interactive story than a heavy game. There are no heavy puzzles you need to solve other than progressing your mystery you're wrapped up in. You don't ever leave your cottage so there's no heavy exploration. This is not a walking sim. It's just you and your obsessive searching of your cottage and your grisly discoveries.
It really is a lovely game and for what it does, it does well. It is perfect in that respect. I love the attention to detail. There are slight changes made to your surroundings the further along you get. What was once beautiful suddenly becomes ugly and...well...disgusting.
Of course, there is the caveat that it's just really a short story that's interactive. It doesn't do much else. Some people have mentioned their irritation with the narrator. Considering the short length of the game, I'd suggest if you can't stomach him, you'd just have to turn off your volume. Personally I found him fine. Maybe a little dull and uninspired at some moments, but nothing awful enough that I'd have to turn him off. Sure, he talks a lot because you have to click on everything (no exaggeration) to progress the story, but I really didn't get that irritated. In fact I kept clicking on the bookshelf because I wanted more Lovecraft references read to me.
This isn't a game for everyone. There's no action. None. Zero. This is your best example of "a free game to kill an hour or less". It's also something I'd probably suggest to people who are trying their hand at horror writing just to see an example of how to do slow reveals. This is a great learning piece of material as opposed to something that's perfect gaming-wise.
I loved this more as a reader than I did as a gamer. It's simple and it's just plain nice. Though admittedly, if someone is getting into horror games, this is probably the best thing you could offer them to get their feet wet before introducing them to more combat oriented games.
Serena is like an ex I compare other games to. Shamelessly I admit this.