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Found 49 results

  1. Jack Gardner

    Review: The Forest

    Armed with nothing more than an axe, a few cans of soda, and a paltry supply of medicine, I step out into a new world filled with beauty and horror in equal measure. The island I've found myself stranded on holds glistening ponds rife with exotic fish, fields in which rabbits and squirrels frolic together alongside giant lizards. Crocodiles swim in the lakes and deer cavort in the thickets of the woods. In many ways, this island seems a paradise; that is, until the sun sets and human horrors emerge from the earth. In The Forest, Endnight Games has carefully crafted a vibrant ecosystem in which players become disruptive interlopers and slowly descend, both figuratively and literally, into madness. Players take on the role of Eric Leblanc as he flies on a plane with his son, Timmy, to an unnamed destination. The airplane seems to hit turbulence in the opening scene before crashing violently onto a remote island. As Eric struggles to maintain consciousness, a strange human painted red wades into the wreckage and takes Timmy away. When Eric finally awakens, all he has are the supplies he can scavenge from the plane and its deceased occupants and his will to survive and find Timmy. The Forest becomes a game about survival and discovery after those initial opening minutes. Finding good places to set up camp, creating defensible positions, and developing sustainable ways of harvesting food and water are the absolute priority. To do all of that, players will need to master the crafting system to create structures, upgrades to their gear, and even entirely new pieces of equipment. It might also require some trial and error, as those opening days can be quite risky for a novice player. The biggest danger in The Forest comes at night. You see, for as idyllic and peaceful as the island can seem during the day, it's actually home to several groups of cannibals. They aren't automatically hostile at first, but with time their attitude will shift. This shift happens sooner if the player begins attacking them, building large structures, obstructing their patrol paths, or journeying into their underground catacombs. Once the cannibals become hostile, The Forest slowly ramps up the frequency and strength of their attacks. Players will need to turn to devious traps and fort layouts to keep themselves safe - but always remember that safety is relative in The Forest. As attacks become more potent, players will begin encountering a wider variety of cannibals, like ones that throw Molotov cocktails that can leave a base in flames or bombs that are capable of blowing a hole through your defensive walls. However, cannibals are not the worst thing that can crawl up into the surface world. Nightmarish conglomerations of limbs and heads occasionally roam the wild and catching their attention can prove to be incredibly deadly for the unprepared player. These behemoths can plow through defenses and traps with ease, leaving your carefully constructed bases in tatters. Even worse, they represent the primary threats once players have explored enough of the overworld and begin spelunking into the dark caverns that delve deep into the earth for treasure and resources. The possible treasures that await in the depths of The Forest's caves are certainly worth the risk. Improved axes, components to build explosives, hints at the history of the island and the origins of its twisted population, and gear that enables further exploration of caves can only be found by exploring the various nooks and crannies the cannibals have filled with their trophies and victims. The Forest does something interesting with its pacing and story. It initially hits hard with the horror of cannibalism on full display. Cannibals feast on their downed comrades, their caves and settlements hang bisected bodies and limbs everywhere, and they'll even build horrific displays in the night to mark their territory. However, over time, The Forest pulls a fantastically creepy and insidious slight-of-hand trick: These scenes gradually become mundane, normal - and there's always the option to fall into similar practices. Players can also turn to cannibalism and create effigies to mark their territory, blurring the line between the player and the monsters. Arming players with the ability to participate in cannibalism poses interesting moral questions: How far are you willing to go to survive? Have you really survived if you have abandoned the things that make you human? These questions tie in nicely with The Forest's climax which asks the player how far they have fallen from where they were when the game began. What sacrifice are you willing to make for something you see as yours? The Forest can be tackled solo or in a group with up to eight people playing simultaneously. The solo or duo experience seems more suited to players who value the survival horror experience and are looking for a more focused game. Playing with more than one other person lowers the tension while diving into caves or getting into scraps with groups of cannibals. However, it also makes building large settlements a more attainable goal. I'd encourage everyone to try both modes of play to see what suits their personal tastes best. After four years in Steam's Early Access program, The Forest finally looks great in an optimized state. The lighting effects as the day slowly cycles to night are especially great. Lighting in extreme darkness becomes a major hurdle since, oddly, being in the dark makes it difficult to see. There's no way around this by being crafty with the lighting settings; players simply have to make do with whatever light sources they can find. The all too real danger posed by darkness serves to make plunging into foreboding caves that much more frightening. It also highlights Endnight's impressive use of sound to convey the feel of locations, whether that's the creaking of trees in the woods, the drip of water in damp caves, or the maddened shriek of a blood-crazed creature in the woods calling for reinforcements. Conclusion: Going into The Forest blind and discovering the scope of its world, crafting system, and secrets was a really enjoyable ride through a new entry in the survival horror genre. It manages to toe the line between enjoyable building sim and the horror of monsters lurking in the dark. The story on its own isn't terribly interesting save for an impressive twist leading up to the end that might have been better served with more integration to the wider game. However, the mechanics and presentation of the game tell a story all their own that makes the core narrative stronger by association. At a mere $20, The Forest is a huge steal. I spent over 60 hours in it until I reached the end of the story, but I plan on diving back in with some friends to see what kinds of crazy contraptions and bases we can build in the dangerous wilds. The Forest is currently available for PC and is rumored to have a PlayStation 4 port on the way).
  2. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: The Forest

    Armed with nothing more than an axe, a few cans of soda, and a paltry supply of medicine, I step out into a new world filled with beauty and horror in equal measure. The island I've found myself stranded on holds glistening ponds rife with exotic fish, fields in which rabbits and squirrels frolic together alongside giant lizards. Crocodiles swim in the lakes and deer cavort in the thickets of the woods. In many ways, this island seems a paradise; that is, until the sun sets and human horrors emerge from the earth. In The Forest, Endnight Games has carefully crafted a vibrant ecosystem in which players become disruptive interlopers and slowly descend, both figuratively and literally, into madness. Players take on the role of Eric Leblanc as he flies on a plane with his son, Timmy, to an unnamed destination. The airplane seems to hit turbulence in the opening scene before crashing violently onto a remote island. As Eric struggles to maintain consciousness, a strange human painted red wades into the wreckage and takes Timmy away. When Eric finally awakens, all he has are the supplies he can scavenge from the plane and its deceased occupants and his will to survive and find Timmy. The Forest becomes a game about survival and discovery after those initial opening minutes. Finding good places to set up camp, creating defensible positions, and developing sustainable ways of harvesting food and water are the absolute priority. To do all of that, players will need to master the crafting system to create structures, upgrades to their gear, and even entirely new pieces of equipment. It might also require some trial and error, as those opening days can be quite risky for a novice player. The biggest danger in The Forest comes at night. You see, for as idyllic and peaceful as the island can seem during the day, it's actually home to several groups of cannibals. They aren't automatically hostile at first, but with time their attitude will shift. This shift happens sooner if the player begins attacking them, building large structures, obstructing their patrol paths, or journeying into their underground catacombs. Once the cannibals become hostile, The Forest slowly ramps up the frequency and strength of their attacks. Players will need to turn to devious traps and fort layouts to keep themselves safe - but always remember that safety is relative in The Forest. As attacks become more potent, players will begin encountering a wider variety of cannibals, like ones that throw Molotov cocktails that can leave a base in flames or bombs that are capable of blowing a hole through your defensive walls. However, cannibals are not the worst thing that can crawl up into the surface world. Nightmarish conglomerations of limbs and heads occasionally roam the wild and catching their attention can prove to be incredibly deadly for the unprepared player. These behemoths can plow through defenses and traps with ease, leaving your carefully constructed bases in tatters. Even worse, they represent the primary threats once players have explored enough of the overworld and begin spelunking into the dark caverns that delve deep into the earth for treasure and resources. The possible treasures that await in the depths of The Forest's caves are certainly worth the risk. Improved axes, components to build explosives, hints at the history of the island and the origins of its twisted population, and gear that enables further exploration of caves can only be found by exploring the various nooks and crannies the cannibals have filled with their trophies and victims. The Forest does something interesting with its pacing and story. It initially hits hard with the horror of cannibalism on full display. Cannibals feast on their downed comrades, their caves and settlements hang bisected bodies and limbs everywhere, and they'll even build horrific displays in the night to mark their territory. However, over time, The Forest pulls a fantastically creepy and insidious slight-of-hand trick: These scenes gradually become mundane, normal - and there's always the option to fall into similar practices. Players can also turn to cannibalism and create effigies to mark their territory, blurring the line between the player and the monsters. Arming players with the ability to participate in cannibalism poses interesting moral questions: How far are you willing to go to survive? Have you really survived if you have abandoned the things that make you human? These questions tie in nicely with The Forest's climax which asks the player how far they have fallen from where they were when the game began. What sacrifice are you willing to make for something you see as yours? The Forest can be tackled solo or in a group with up to eight people playing simultaneously. The solo or duo experience seems more suited to players who value the survival horror experience and are looking for a more focused game. Playing with more than one other person lowers the tension while diving into caves or getting into scraps with groups of cannibals. However, it also makes building large settlements a more attainable goal. I'd encourage everyone to try both modes of play to see what suits their personal tastes best. After four years in Steam's Early Access program, The Forest finally looks great in an optimized state. The lighting effects as the day slowly cycles to night are especially great. Lighting in extreme darkness becomes a major hurdle since, oddly, being in the dark makes it difficult to see. There's no way around this by being crafty with the lighting settings; players simply have to make do with whatever light sources they can find. The all too real danger posed by darkness serves to make plunging into foreboding caves that much more frightening. It also highlights Endnight's impressive use of sound to convey the feel of locations, whether that's the creaking of trees in the woods, the drip of water in damp caves, or the maddened shriek of a blood-crazed creature in the woods calling for reinforcements. Conclusion: Going into The Forest blind and discovering the scope of its world, crafting system, and secrets was a really enjoyable ride through a new entry in the survival horror genre. It manages to toe the line between enjoyable building sim and the horror of monsters lurking in the dark. The story on its own isn't terribly interesting save for an impressive twist leading up to the end that might have been better served with more integration to the wider game. However, the mechanics and presentation of the game tell a story all their own that makes the core narrative stronger by association. At a mere $20, The Forest is a huge steal. I spent over 60 hours in it until I reached the end of the story, but I plan on diving back in with some friends to see what kinds of crazy contraptions and bases we can build in the dangerous wilds. The Forest is currently available for PC and is rumored to have a PlayStation 4 port on the way). View full article
  3. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC. View full article
  4. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC.
  5. Happy Halloween everyone! It's that wonderful time of the year when we grab a bowl of candy, kick back, and try to scare the pants off of ourselves. In the spirit of the holiday, we've put together a list of some effective horror games that will chill, thrill, and fill you with dread. Most of you are probably familiar with the Alien: Isolations, the Amnesias, the Outlasts, and more of the horror giants that dominate the genre, so this list will be made up of some of the lesser-known titles that still manage to hold some surprises. Without further ado, here's your definitive list of interesting indie horror games presented in no particular order! Duskers If there is one lesson that the movie Alien taught us it is that few things are as scary as average joes just trying to survive in space. Duskers takes that premise and runs with it in a gripping, survival horror roguelike. As a lone salvage operator using technology that would be right at home in a 70s sci-fi film, players must attempt to eek out a living by investigating wrecked ships. However, those ships can only be explored and salvaged using remote controlled drones. Players need to juggle the control of the drones with hacking into the wreck's systems and also avoiding the unknown terrors that lurk in the bowels of these seemingly abandoned vessels. As it progresses a mystery slowly unfolds in the form of corrupted ship logs and strange environments. Meanwhile, dangers threaten to kill off the drones, the only tools available to sustain the player. Drones must be controlled by typing and hopping between them can be an absorbing task. The tension and learning curve created by the purposefully clunky retro interface lends itself to the horror - it really does feel like you're watching as your drones are taken out one by one with hope fading as each one goes offline. Duskers is available on PC. The Last Door Are you a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos? Do you have a soft sport for the works of Edgar Allen Poe? The Last Door draws upon both of those giants in the realm of literature to create its own rich contribution to the horror genre. The Game Kitchen, the devs behind The Last Door, have actually created two seasons of this niche horror title, each consisting of four episodes. The first season follows the investigation of Jeremiah Devitt after he receives a letter from an old school friend and journeys to visit - only to find that an insidious force is at work and seems to be targeting his old associates. The second season serves as a direct sequel to the first, but to explain more would be to provide spoilers. While The Last Door certainly possesses some shortcomings commonly associated with retro adventure games, the journey and surprising effectiveness of its growing sense of dread are well worth the effort to overcome the game design obstacles that occasionally rear their heads. The Last Door Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Andorid, iOS, and PC, both as standalone collections and in-browser. Lone Survivor Lone Survivor released back in 2012 as a side-scrolling survival horror title. It attempts to walk the line between stealth and combat while painting a gruesome, engrossing world that constantly invites the player to question the sanity of the protagonist and the veracity of the world. The story centers on a nameless man in a surgical mask who must survive in a monster-filled apartment complex with no apparent logic to its construction. Players explore the world, encountering baffling characters and disturbing scenes. The game isn't so much a tour de force journey as it is a lengthy soak in madness. Its atmosphere has a darkly hypnotic effect that beckons players into Lone Survivor's twisted depths. It can take a little while to feel the title's hooks, but give it a chance in good faith and Lone Survivor will reward persistence. Lone Survivor is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Wii U. OverBlood We've talked about OverBlood before. To be honest, it probably doesn't belong on this list because it simply isn't that scary by today's standards. What it lacks in spine-tingling thrills, OverBlood more than makes up for in sheer entertainment value as a so-bad-its-good game. Admittedly, people who enjoy playing games that are so bad they transcend badness and come back around to being worth playing represent a very, very niche group. But, if that's the kind of thing that you're looking for - the Troll 2 of video games - OverBlood definitely possesses the hapless charm necessary for a great night of failed scares and amazing character moments. OverBlood tells the story of Raz Karcy, a man jettisoned from cryo containment only to find that he was never supposed to wake up. Mysteries unfold and friendships form as he begins to explore a seemingly abandoned research facility. OverBlood is available on the PlayStation One and PSN. The Forest While The Forest has been available for several years now, it is unique on this list in that it remains in Early Access on Steam. While many might be put off by the mere association of Early Access-ness, The Forest has both come a long way since its initial release and offers a unique horror experience. Players take on the role of a man who survives a plane crash on a remote island only to find that his son has been kidnapped by the cannibals that inhabit the island's underground caves and come out to hunt at night. A pretty straightforward set up, right? Things get complicated by the fact that The Forest is an open world crafting/survival game at heart. Players will need to survive in the wilderness, construct a base of operations, and learn to survive the hair-raising night attacks by the island's blood thirsty humans. The result plays like a fusion between Outlast and Minecraft. In fact, it's entirely possible to succumb to the island's ways and become a cannibal yourself and abandon the central rescue mission. I don't hear The Forest talked about much, but if you are put off by the fact that it remains in Early Access, keep an eye out for it to officially release sometime in the near future. The Forest is currently available in Early Access on PC and will be coming to PlayStation 4. View full article
  6. Happy Halloween everyone! It's that wonderful time of the year when we grab a bowl of candy, kick back, and try to scare the pants off of ourselves. In the spirit of the holiday, we've put together a list of some effective horror games that will chill, thrill, and fill you with dread. Most of you are probably familiar with the Alien: Isolations, the Amnesias, the Outlasts, and more of the horror giants that dominate the genre, so this list will be made up of some of the lesser-known titles that still manage to hold some surprises. Without further ado, here's your definitive list of interesting indie horror games presented in no particular order! Duskers If there is one lesson that the movie Alien taught us it is that few things are as scary as average joes just trying to survive in space. Duskers takes that premise and runs with it in a gripping, survival horror roguelike. As a lone salvage operator using technology that would be right at home in a 70s sci-fi film, players must attempt to eek out a living by investigating wrecked ships. However, those ships can only be explored and salvaged using remote controlled drones. Players need to juggle the control of the drones with hacking into the wreck's systems and also avoiding the unknown terrors that lurk in the bowels of these seemingly abandoned vessels. As it progresses a mystery slowly unfolds in the form of corrupted ship logs and strange environments. Meanwhile, dangers threaten to kill off the drones, the only tools available to sustain the player. Drones must be controlled by typing and hopping between them can be an absorbing task. The tension and learning curve created by the purposefully clunky retro interface lends itself to the horror - it really does feel like you're watching as your drones are taken out one by one with hope fading as each one goes offline. Duskers is available on PC. The Last Door Are you a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos? Do you have a soft sport for the works of Edgar Allen Poe? The Last Door draws upon both of those giants in the realm of literature to create its own rich contribution to the horror genre. The Game Kitchen, the devs behind The Last Door, have actually created two seasons of this niche horror title, each consisting of four episodes. The first season follows the investigation of Jeremiah Devitt after he receives a letter from an old school friend and journeys to visit - only to find that an insidious force is at work and seems to be targeting his old associates. The second season serves as a direct sequel to the first, but to explain more would be to provide spoilers. While The Last Door certainly possesses some shortcomings commonly associated with retro adventure games, the journey and surprising effectiveness of its growing sense of dread are well worth the effort to overcome the game design obstacles that occasionally rear their heads. The Last Door Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Andorid, iOS, and PC, both as standalone collections and in-browser. Lone Survivor Lone Survivor released back in 2012 as a side-scrolling survival horror title. It attempts to walk the line between stealth and combat while painting a gruesome, engrossing world that constantly invites the player to question the sanity of the protagonist and the veracity of the world. The story centers on a nameless man in a surgical mask who must survive in a monster-filled apartment complex with no apparent logic to its construction. Players explore the world, encountering baffling characters and disturbing scenes. The game isn't so much a tour de force journey as it is a lengthy soak in madness. Its atmosphere has a darkly hypnotic effect that beckons players into Lone Survivor's twisted depths. It can take a little while to feel the title's hooks, but give it a chance in good faith and Lone Survivor will reward persistence. Lone Survivor is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Wii U. OverBlood We've talked about OverBlood before. To be honest, it probably doesn't belong on this list because it simply isn't that scary by today's standards. What it lacks in spine-tingling thrills, OverBlood more than makes up for in sheer entertainment value as a so-bad-its-good game. Admittedly, people who enjoy playing games that are so bad they transcend badness and come back around to being worth playing represent a very, very niche group. But, if that's the kind of thing that you're looking for - the Troll 2 of video games - OverBlood definitely possesses the hapless charm necessary for a great night of failed scares and amazing character moments. OverBlood tells the story of Raz Karcy, a man jettisoned from cryo containment only to find that he was never supposed to wake up. Mysteries unfold and friendships form as he begins to explore a seemingly abandoned research facility. OverBlood is available on the PlayStation One and PSN. The Forest While The Forest has been available for several years now, it is unique on this list in that it remains in Early Access on Steam. While many might be put off by the mere association of Early Access-ness, The Forest has both come a long way since its initial release and offers a unique horror experience. Players take on the role of a man who survives a plane crash on a remote island only to find that his son has been kidnapped by the cannibals that inhabit the island's underground caves and come out to hunt at night. A pretty straightforward set up, right? Things get complicated by the fact that The Forest is an open world crafting/survival game at heart. Players will need to survive in the wilderness, construct a base of operations, and learn to survive the hair-raising night attacks by the island's blood thirsty humans. The result plays like a fusion between Outlast and Minecraft. In fact, it's entirely possible to succumb to the island's ways and become a cannibal yourself and abandon the central rescue mission. I don't hear The Forest talked about much, but if you are put off by the fact that it remains in Early Access, keep an eye out for it to officially release sometime in the near future. The Forest is currently available in Early Access on PC and will be coming to PlayStation 4.
  7. It's almost Halloween! In honor of the scariest of holidays, we tackle Frictional Games' landmark horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Developed by a small team that had previously created the Penumbra series, Amnesia: The Dark Descent released in 2010 arguably creating the biggest waves in the waning horror genre since the release of the original Resident Evil. It featured Daniel, an amnesiac who awakens in a gloomy castle with a note from his past self urging him to make his way to the heart of the castle complex while avoiding a malevolent entity bent on his destruction. It possessed no combat mechanics, instead purposefully disempowering players, encouraging them to run and hide from the various dangers throughout Castle Brennenburg. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Splatterhouse 3 'Call of the Mask' by Beckett007 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01772) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  8. It's almost Halloween! In honor of the scariest of holidays, we tackle Frictional Games' landmark horror title Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Developed by a small team that had previously created the Penumbra series, Amnesia: The Dark Descent released in 2010 arguably creating the biggest waves in the waning horror genre since the release of the original Resident Evil. It featured Daniel, an amnesiac who awakens in a gloomy castle with a note from his past self urging him to make his way to the heart of the castle complex while avoiding a malevolent entity bent on his destruction. It possessed no combat mechanics, instead purposefully disempowering players, encouraging them to run and hide from the various dangers throughout Castle Brennenburg. Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Splatterhouse 3 'Call of the Mask' by Beckett007 (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01772) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  9. Jack Gardner

    Review: Outlast 2

    Horror films hold onto the golden rule: Never show the monster early. You can see it flit about in the shadows; the camera can linger for a while on a pair of glowing eyes as something stalks the protagonist; but never display the monster if you are trying to build the tension and subtle horror that lies beyond jump scares. Outlast 2 revels in shoving players face-first into the most awful things it can think of as if to say, "Isn't that gross and weird? ARE YOU SCARED NOW?" Its lack of nuance represents a step backward for Red Barrels. Red Barrels greeted the world with Outlast back in 2013. The horror title received acclaim for its tense structure and story line that slowly descended into madness. Players were pulled into the world of a seemingly abandoned asylum as seen through the eyes of an intrepid journalist. Combat was nonexistent, meaning players could only run and hide from the various antagonists they encountered. The fact that the asylum housed all manner of inmates led to a very interesting, deliberate grey area when it came to horror. Some inmates would become hostile, others would not. This resulted in tense moments, fueled by a fear of the unknown. Those moments of uncertainty, when constrained within the linear story and structure of Outlast, represented some of its best attempts at horror. Outlast 2 tells the story of Blake Langermann, a journalist and camera man, who works with his journalist partner and wife, Lynn. Together, they decide to pursue a story about the mysterious murder of a pregnant woman in a desolate region of Arizona. As they fly above the region in a helicopter, a mechanical failure causes the chopper to go down, stranding the both of them in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the two of them have fallen into the middle of a conflict between two opposing cults who believe Lynn holds the keys to the end of the world. Blake sets off to rescue Lynn and escape the manic cult members. Outlast 2 moved away from the more interesting, murky elements of horror. Instead, it commits to subjecting the player to gruesome scenes and scenarios – shock horror. These certainly make for an uncomfortable experience, but they lack the subtlety and pacing of its predecessor or the gold standard of modern, defenseless horror, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Several things contribute to making Outlast 2 a grueling slog to play through: world structure, how players progress through the setting, and what makes for good horror. A large portion of Outlast 2 takes place in the outdoors. You would think that this would make for an interesting dynamic; many horror games thrive on a tightly controlled, linear structure, but taking place without physical barriers seems to fly right in the face of that. The situation seems like a great opportunity to reinvent the horror genre with a more open world approach to design. Despite having access to the open air, Outlast 2 keeps to a more traditional structure, a perfectly sound, reasonable decision. Unfortunately, the implementation of this structure hurts more than helps. It ends up creating confusion in Outlast 2’s perpetual darkness. Outlast 2 wants players to run in specific directions to specific areas in the dead of night with only a grainy camcorder to reveal the way. Ideally, the design of the world would usher players in those desired directions, toward those important areas. Too often, Outlast 2 drops the ball and becomes a confusing, frustrating exercise in trial and error in the woods and fields. In pushing stealth and hiding as the main mechanic, Outlast 2’s design leads to players avoid the obvious routes and stick to the outskirts of any given area – until they are forced into those pathways, which triggers enemy aggression. If this is the approach the game wants to take, why bother having open, outdoor segments at all? Players are often given no time to learn an area, no time to strategize – unless they die repeatedly to scout out the proper route. This has the effect of reducing the horror as players become more familiar with any given area, something that should be the exact opposite of what the developers want players to experience. Outlast 2 seems to be strangely aware of this deficiency, however. To counter these more open, frustrating segments, the game puts players through cutscenes and areas of minimal interactivity that deal with highly uncomfortable and twisted scenarios, like living through a crucifixion. Doubtlessly this approach will appeal to some in the horror community, but I personally found it desensitizing after a while. That desensitization, that cheapening of the horror inherent in Outlast 2’s violence might just be the title’s biggest problem. Instead of leaving the player to feel a growing dread or an uncertainty about their surroundings, Outlast 2 opts to try going bigger and more horrible the farther that players progress. This immediately becomes a problem because Outlast 2’s starting point begins at what might in other games be part of the horror highlight reel. Within the first hour players encounter a pit of dead children, tortured people in cages, ritualistic killings, sexual assault, and more. Where else can the game go from there? It turns out that it can go quite a few places, but the staged scenes intended to shock the player become less scary and more of a grueling chore than anything else. And that’s a shame, because the story of Outlast 2 might be one of the best things it has going for it. Repressed memories, working through trauma, how people live and survive after experiencing tragedy, all of those themes present some interesting questions throughout Outlast 2. Unfortunately, experiencing that story might be really difficult for people who are either turned off by the violence – not just because of the graphic content, but also that it eventually becomes so routine and, frankly, boring. Conclusion: Instead of feeling scared or tense, I fell into a rut with Outlast 2 of just trying to make progress, and the intended scares wound up feeling flat. In other words, Outlast 2 reveals its hand too early; it breaks the golden rule and puts its hideous monster on full display in the opening minutes and never lets up until the very end. Some might find that exhilarating in a horror game – others, like myself, might find it dull compared with other titles in the genre. Outlast 2 was reviewed on PC and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC
  10. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: Outlast 2

    Horror films hold onto the golden rule: Never show the monster early. You can see it flit about in the shadows; the camera can linger for a while on a pair of glowing eyes as something stalks the protagonist; but never display the monster if you are trying to build the tension and subtle horror that lies beyond jump scares. Outlast 2 revels in shoving players face-first into the most awful things it can think of as if to say, "Isn't that gross and weird? ARE YOU SCARED NOW?" Its lack of nuance represents a step backward for Red Barrels. Red Barrels greeted the world with Outlast back in 2013. The horror title received acclaim for its tense structure and story line that slowly descended into madness. Players were pulled into the world of a seemingly abandoned asylum as seen through the eyes of an intrepid journalist. Combat was nonexistent, meaning players could only run and hide from the various antagonists they encountered. The fact that the asylum housed all manner of inmates led to a very interesting, deliberate grey area when it came to horror. Some inmates would become hostile, others would not. This resulted in tense moments, fueled by a fear of the unknown. Those moments of uncertainty, when constrained within the linear story and structure of Outlast, represented some of its best attempts at horror. Outlast 2 tells the story of Blake Langermann, a journalist and camera man, who works with his journalist partner and wife, Lynn. Together, they decide to pursue a story about the mysterious murder of a pregnant woman in a desolate region of Arizona. As they fly above the region in a helicopter, a mechanical failure causes the chopper to go down, stranding the both of them in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the two of them have fallen into the middle of a conflict between two opposing cults who believe Lynn holds the keys to the end of the world. Blake sets off to rescue Lynn and escape the manic cult members. Outlast 2 moved away from the more interesting, murky elements of horror. Instead, it commits to subjecting the player to gruesome scenes and scenarios – shock horror. These certainly make for an uncomfortable experience, but they lack the subtlety and pacing of its predecessor or the gold standard of modern, defenseless horror, Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Several things contribute to making Outlast 2 a grueling slog to play through: world structure, how players progress through the setting, and what makes for good horror. A large portion of Outlast 2 takes place in the outdoors. You would think that this would make for an interesting dynamic; many horror games thrive on a tightly controlled, linear structure, but taking place without physical barriers seems to fly right in the face of that. The situation seems like a great opportunity to reinvent the horror genre with a more open world approach to design. Despite having access to the open air, Outlast 2 keeps to a more traditional structure, a perfectly sound, reasonable decision. Unfortunately, the implementation of this structure hurts more than helps. It ends up creating confusion in Outlast 2’s perpetual darkness. Outlast 2 wants players to run in specific directions to specific areas in the dead of night with only a grainy camcorder to reveal the way. Ideally, the design of the world would usher players in those desired directions, toward those important areas. Too often, Outlast 2 drops the ball and becomes a confusing, frustrating exercise in trial and error in the woods and fields. In pushing stealth and hiding as the main mechanic, Outlast 2’s design leads to players avoid the obvious routes and stick to the outskirts of any given area – until they are forced into those pathways, which triggers enemy aggression. If this is the approach the game wants to take, why bother having open, outdoor segments at all? Players are often given no time to learn an area, no time to strategize – unless they die repeatedly to scout out the proper route. This has the effect of reducing the horror as players become more familiar with any given area, something that should be the exact opposite of what the developers want players to experience. Outlast 2 seems to be strangely aware of this deficiency, however. To counter these more open, frustrating segments, the game puts players through cutscenes and areas of minimal interactivity that deal with highly uncomfortable and twisted scenarios, like living through a crucifixion. Doubtlessly this approach will appeal to some in the horror community, but I personally found it desensitizing after a while. That desensitization, that cheapening of the horror inherent in Outlast 2’s violence might just be the title’s biggest problem. Instead of leaving the player to feel a growing dread or an uncertainty about their surroundings, Outlast 2 opts to try going bigger and more horrible the farther that players progress. This immediately becomes a problem because Outlast 2’s starting point begins at what might in other games be part of the horror highlight reel. Within the first hour players encounter a pit of dead children, tortured people in cages, ritualistic killings, sexual assault, and more. Where else can the game go from there? It turns out that it can go quite a few places, but the staged scenes intended to shock the player become less scary and more of a grueling chore than anything else. And that’s a shame, because the story of Outlast 2 might be one of the best things it has going for it. Repressed memories, working through trauma, how people live and survive after experiencing tragedy, all of those themes present some interesting questions throughout Outlast 2. Unfortunately, experiencing that story might be really difficult for people who are either turned off by the violence – not just because of the graphic content, but also that it eventually becomes so routine and, frankly, boring. Conclusion: Instead of feeling scared or tense, I fell into a rut with Outlast 2 of just trying to make progress, and the intended scares wound up feeling flat. In other words, Outlast 2 reveals its hand too early; it breaks the golden rule and puts its hideous monster on full display in the opening minutes and never lets up until the very end. Some might find that exhilarating in a horror game – others, like myself, might find it dull compared with other titles in the genre. Outlast 2 was reviewed on PC and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC View full article
  11. Marcus Stewart

    Feature: Review: Perception

    Perception forces players to confront two of humanity’s greatest fears: the fear of the dark, and the fear of the unknown: As Cassie, you’re blind. Perpetual blackness shrouds the world. Striking objects with her trusty cane paints an echolocation-produced blueprint of her surroundings to explore an eerie haunted mansion. Unfortunately, a malevolent spirit inhabits the house, honing in on Cassie if she makes too much of a racket. A clever and devious horror premise for sure, but Perception only takes full advantage of it a handful of times. Perception sits firmly within the subgenre of “run and hide” horror titles popularized by Amnesia: The Dark Descent. However, Cassie’s lack of sight ratchets up the tension. A doll’s laughter or the strained creak of an door opening becomes exponentially more frightening when you can’t see where it's coming from or its source. I highly recommend playing with a good pair of headphones since the finely-tuned sound design not only helps pinpoint a sound’s location, but it routinely sent shivers up my spine. Perception falters when it relies too much on rote jump scares; it shines brightest when the uneasy atmosphere and subtle frights do the heavy lifting. Cassie explores the mansion in an attempt to piece together disparate elements from her dreams. Along the way, she relives the tragic stories of the house’s former inhabitants over its centuries of existence. My favorite, and perhaps the saddest, tale involved a paranoid wife desperately seeking a means to reunite with her husband, a soldier stationed overseas during one of the world wars. One way or another, the house drove its owners to madness, which effectively sold my surroundings as an omnipresent threat I wanted no part of. Additionally, the house completely morphs its appearance every chapter to reflect the time period of the story being told. Though some of the general layout remains unchanged, you aren’t backtracking through the exact same areas–a neat touch that kept exploration interesting. Interacting with objects unlocks much of Perception’s narrative beats. Seeking these items out, and exploring the house in general, can be both a rewarding and tedious process. Everything is pitch black unless you make noise, so expect to be banging things fairly often. The limited “sight” only lasts a fleeting couple of seconds before the world fades away again. While that does its job of selling the sensation of being blind (or, at least, how it feels to be Marvel’s Daredevil), this occasionally makes it easy to get lost in the large house. One mission tasked me with finding matches located upstairs. However, I routinely passed the inconspicuous staircase entrance because I kept missing sight of it before my sounds faded, not to mention the limited vibration range. Such situations may frustrate less patient players. Having to remember previously visited rooms and mentally mapping out corridors and entryways routinely jumps back and forth between feeling novel and tedious. I repeatedly hit the same areas just to confirm that a kitchen was indeed a kitchen. Perception isn’t a game for everyone as it requires a special kind of patience on top of possessing bravery. Though I generally felt proud of myself for competently navigating an area, other times doing so felt like a pain in the butt. If nothing else, I walked away from Perception with a greater appreciation for my vision, and that’s likely part of the point. Disappointingly, the game doesn’t present enough inventive scenarios that highlight the main premise. Most of the game revolves around the same basic formula: walk around, make noise, listen to memories, fetch an item to solve a light puzzle. Perception had two stand-out sequences. The first was a heart-pounding romp through a bubble-wrapped nursery where Cassie must hide while inevitably making noise. The second was a chapter centered around robotic, evil dolls that roamed the house, some of which even toted guns (I’m terrified of creepy dolls, so I tensed up the whole way through). While moment-to-moment gameplay is solid, nothing else came close to feeling as creative or memorable as those two moments. Considering the concept’s potential, I’m bummed to see the idea be somewhat squandered. Even though the game presented regular warnings to keep as quiet as reasonably possible, I felt I could make quite a bit of commotion before triggering an appearance by the ghost. It only spawned once (outside of scripted sequences) throughout my entire playthrough, despite not being particularly frugal with my noise-making. Though that made exploration less of a pain, it also eliminated some of the desired anxiety when I realized I could get away with more than I maybe should have. It felt like a tricky balancing act that the developer had trouble nailing. Players need to be able to make enough sound to get around somewhat smoothly, but there also needs to be a constant fear of doing so. Conclusion If you’re looking for a novel spin on the helpless horror sub-genre, Perception is worth a look. The game purposely intends to make players feel impaired, so your mileage on fun varies depending on how much you’re willing to put up with bumping around in the (mostly) darkness. But if you’re up to the challenge, Perception can be a genuinely hair-raising experience. Overall, Cassie’s frightening romp through darkness stands as a respectable horror outing that should make for a unique offering for fans of the genre. Perception was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is also available now for Xbox One and PC. It releases on Nintendo Switch later this year. View full article
  12. Marcus Stewart

    Review: Perception

    Perception forces players to confront two of humanity’s greatest fears: the fear of the dark, and the fear of the unknown: As Cassie, you’re blind. Perpetual blackness shrouds the world. Striking objects with her trusty cane paints an echolocation-produced blueprint of her surroundings to explore an eerie haunted mansion. Unfortunately, a malevolent spirit inhabits the house, honing in on Cassie if she makes too much of a racket. A clever and devious horror premise for sure, but Perception only takes full advantage of it a handful of times. Perception sits firmly within the subgenre of “run and hide” horror titles popularized by Amnesia: The Dark Descent. However, Cassie’s lack of sight ratchets up the tension. A doll’s laughter or the strained creak of an door opening becomes exponentially more frightening when you can’t see where it's coming from or its source. I highly recommend playing with a good pair of headphones since the finely-tuned sound design not only helps pinpoint a sound’s location, but it routinely sent shivers up my spine. Perception falters when it relies too much on rote jump scares; it shines brightest when the uneasy atmosphere and subtle frights do the heavy lifting. Cassie explores the mansion in an attempt to piece together disparate elements from her dreams. Along the way, she relives the tragic stories of the house’s former inhabitants over its centuries of existence. My favorite, and perhaps the saddest, tale involved a paranoid wife desperately seeking a means to reunite with her husband, a soldier stationed overseas during one of the world wars. One way or another, the house drove its owners to madness, which effectively sold my surroundings as an omnipresent threat I wanted no part of. Additionally, the house completely morphs its appearance every chapter to reflect the time period of the story being told. Though some of the general layout remains unchanged, you aren’t backtracking through the exact same areas–a neat touch that kept exploration interesting. Interacting with objects unlocks much of Perception’s narrative beats. Seeking these items out, and exploring the house in general, can be both a rewarding and tedious process. Everything is pitch black unless you make noise, so expect to be banging things fairly often. The limited “sight” only lasts a fleeting couple of seconds before the world fades away again. While that does its job of selling the sensation of being blind (or, at least, how it feels to be Marvel’s Daredevil), this occasionally makes it easy to get lost in the large house. One mission tasked me with finding matches located upstairs. However, I routinely passed the inconspicuous staircase entrance because I kept missing sight of it before my sounds faded, not to mention the limited vibration range. Such situations may frustrate less patient players. Having to remember previously visited rooms and mentally mapping out corridors and entryways routinely jumps back and forth between feeling novel and tedious. I repeatedly hit the same areas just to confirm that a kitchen was indeed a kitchen. Perception isn’t a game for everyone as it requires a special kind of patience on top of possessing bravery. Though I generally felt proud of myself for competently navigating an area, other times doing so felt like a pain in the butt. If nothing else, I walked away from Perception with a greater appreciation for my vision, and that’s likely part of the point. Disappointingly, the game doesn’t present enough inventive scenarios that highlight the main premise. Most of the game revolves around the same basic formula: walk around, make noise, listen to memories, fetch an item to solve a light puzzle. Perception had two stand-out sequences. The first was a heart-pounding romp through a bubble-wrapped nursery where Cassie must hide while inevitably making noise. The second was a chapter centered around robotic, evil dolls that roamed the house, some of which even toted guns (I’m terrified of creepy dolls, so I tensed up the whole way through). While moment-to-moment gameplay is solid, nothing else came close to feeling as creative or memorable as those two moments. Considering the concept’s potential, I’m bummed to see the idea be somewhat squandered. Even though the game presented regular warnings to keep as quiet as reasonably possible, I felt I could make quite a bit of commotion before triggering an appearance by the ghost. It only spawned once (outside of scripted sequences) throughout my entire playthrough, despite not being particularly frugal with my noise-making. Though that made exploration less of a pain, it also eliminated some of the desired anxiety when I realized I could get away with more than I maybe should have. It felt like a tricky balancing act that the developer had trouble nailing. Players need to be able to make enough sound to get around somewhat smoothly, but there also needs to be a constant fear of doing so. Conclusion If you’re looking for a novel spin on the helpless horror sub-genre, Perception is worth a look. The game purposely intends to make players feel impaired, so your mileage on fun varies depending on how much you’re willing to put up with bumping around in the (mostly) darkness. But if you’re up to the challenge, Perception can be a genuinely hair-raising experience. Overall, Cassie’s frightening romp through darkness stands as a respectable horror outing that should make for a unique offering for fans of the genre. Perception was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is also available now for Xbox One and PC. It releases on Nintendo Switch later this year.
  13. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year. View full article
  14. For as long as there’s been a Cthulhu mythos, there have been authors, filmmakers and game developers attempting to harness that shadowy void for their own twisted tales. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-play game allowed players to create their own Lovecraftian fantasies in the vein of Dungeons & Dragons and became the defacto “official” Cthulhu game adaptation. Of course, that didn’t stop video game developers from attempting the same, like Headfirst Productions’ Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, or Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened. Now, though, fans of the tabletop incarnation may have their chance to transition their love to the television with Cyanide Studios’ Call of Cthulhu, an adaptation of Chaosium’s work. Publisher Focus Home Interactive (makers of Vampyr, The Surge and the Styx series) and developer Cyanide Studios gave a hands-off demo of Call of Cthulhu to media at E3 this year. The first difference most players will notice between Chaosium’s game and Cyanide’s is that it’s not a pure RPG. Call of Cthulhu is a first-person narrative adventure game, similar to Amnesia: Dark Descent, SOMA or Layers of Fear, but with plenty of RPG elements to keep those kinds of players busy with growing their character. Players walk in the shoes of Edward Pierce, a private investigator and former war veteran in 1920s Boston. Pierce is tasked with determining the truth behind the tragic death of Sarah Hawkins, a famous artist who had recently moved with her husband and family to the mysterious Darkwater Island. The demo starts off with Pierce arriving on Darkwater Island and investigating along the way to the Hawkins’ mansion perched atop a large hill. The developers stressed that a keen eye for clues will dramatically impact how well you fare, both in conversations with other characters and while exploring. Pierce spies a series of gravestones for the Hawkins family, noting that all but one have flowers lying at their base. Once Pierce makes it up to the fire-damaged mansion, he’s confronted by the family groundskeeper, still tending to the property and scaring off visitors. It’s here that players are given the chance to use a dialogue wheel to advance the conversation and their investigation. You’ll have a traditional slew of options, including hostility, lies or cooperation, but as the developer puts it, “knowledge is a weapon,” and in more ways than one. Our previous research at the gravestones lets us convince the groundskeeper that we’re on his side and have the family’s best interests at heart, allowing us to continue exploring the grounds in peace. Later on, we’re able to explore the mansion’s interior. Each room has been scarred by the blaze, leaving tattered furniture strewn about and soot hanging in the air. Pierce is able to find clues, like the outline of a victim’s body or a clock, and corroborate them against the evidence already compiled by the police. Again, knowledge proves vital, as Pierce is able to put together that the clock doesn’t match the time that the fire supposedly began. After our investigation, the demo jumped ahead a few chapters to experience what the more visceral side of Lovecraftian horror felt like. Pierce found himself browsing through a room housing antiques and some storage containers, like drawers and closets. At the far end of the room sat a full-length mirror. When Pierce approaches, an otherworldly creature with unnaturally long limbs and a razor-filled mouth emerges from the glass, sniffing him out. Much like Alien: Isolation or Amnesia, Pierce is woefully outclassed by the sheer might of this predator. True to Lovecraftian lore, if you stare too long at the creature, you’ll do irreparable damage to your psyche. However, Cyanide Studios has put an additional twist on traditional horror gameplay with the addition of phobias. Make use of the nearby closets to hide one too many times and Pierce will develop a fear of tight spaces, forcing players to think on their toes. It’s unclear how many of these phobias will be in the final game, but it makes sense to think of them as gameplay modifiers for commonly occurring elements, like closets, darkness or perhaps water. A sanity gauge (think Eternal Darkness) keeps track of your overall mental stability, and considering the horrors that lie in wait, it might be too tempting to stare into that dark void. Call of Cthulhu certainly looks enticing, but it remains to be seen if the experience will translate to meaningful role-playing and survival horror loop. While the mystery solving seems comprehensive enough, running away from Lovecraft’s finest over and over again might get old, especially if the mechanics never push beyond your typical “run and hide” strategies. Here’s hoping we get to see some different creatures than rent-a-Slenderman, and that the writing holds up throughout. Call of Cthulhu is scheduled for release on PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.
  15. For as long as I’ve known her, my mother has been deathly afraid of rats. Even the faintest squeak of the floor is enough to send her into hysterics, a trait my sibling and I have exploited to no end of our own sadistic joy. As a pediatric nurse, my mother regularly witnesses some of the scariest moments of thousands of people’s lives, but these tiny creatures still instill the darkest possible fear in her. A Plague Tale: Innocence is going to melt her gosh darn brain. The developers at Asobo Studio gave a hands-off demo exclusive to members of the media featuring the same locations from their E3 teaser trailer, showcasing Plague Tale’s dark Inquisition era and roving hordes of rodents. You play as a young, redheaded woman named Amicia, searching through the mucky streets of a 14th century French village for your younger brother Hugo and mother. It’s the middle of the night and the streets are deathly quiet. Amicia happened upon a group of Inquisition soldiers attempting to bust into a residence suspected of harboring criminals or the diseased; I’m not quite sure. What is sure is that these soldiers are definitely bad dudes (they also believe Amicia and her family are a clan of witches), as Amicia eventually comes upon a guarded carriage housing her captive brother. Two soldiers with lanterns are patrolling nearby as a few clusters of rats slink through the grass. Considering Amicia isn’t some hulking swordsman, she has to use her ingenuity and intellect to defeat obstacles. To that end, she’s able to use a sling to whip rocks at both guards, forcing them to drop their lanterns, which smash on impact. In the world of Plague Tale, strong light is able to ward off the rat hordes, as they’re infused with some magical, almost vampiric power that forces them to stick to the shadows; unfortunate for the guards now shrouded in darkness, as nearby rats immediately swarm them, leaping all over their bodies to tear their flesh apart. There’s little time to consider the wails of death, as Amicia grabs her brother and flees into a nearby cathedral. Plague Tale isn’t all rats and rock slinging, though. Amicia is able to order Hugo to slip into small spaces she’s too tall for, allowing him to retrieve light sources or other resources from unreachable locations and other basic puzzles. Amicia determines that they need to reach the back of the cathedral to find their missing mother, but it’s blocked by another large horde of rats guarding an oddly fleshy crack in the wall. After Hugo retrieves a lantern from behind a nearby gate, Amicia is able to disperse the rats by shooting a rock at a large fire pot hanging from the ceiling and knocking it to the ground. To the horror of Amicia and her brother, the resounding crash of metal on stone attracts more rats than she could account for. From every crack, hole and open wound in the stonework comes hundreds and hundreds of pissed off rodents. This is where Plague Tale’s technology shines through. After the demo, I asked how many rats the developers could fit on screen at once. Their answer: Roughly 3,000. The true beauty of these horrifying hordes isn’t just how many of them can be on screen, it’s how they flow like water, ebbing and gliding over architecture in a deliberate, yet chaotic nature. It’s eerily reminiscent of the zombies in World War Z, as they careened down a market street, flooding every inch from top to bottom with their collective rage. And while each rat beefs up the larger group, each one feels like a relatively independent creature when your light source is able to kill off a few stragglers. From there, Amicia proceeded to clutch Hugo close to her as they pushed forward through the avalanche of rats, directing the light towards any clusters that threatened to get too close. The tension continues to mount higher and higher until the pair make it to a gash in the wall, leading to a disturbingly dark and fleshy tunnel. Hugo, hearing the call of their mother, goes running off into the shadows as Amicia warns him that it can’t be her. A Plague Tale: Innocence definitely fits into publisher Focus Home Interactive’s mostly gothic repertoire and the hook of navigating a grim world beset by rodents is welcome. According to the developer, the entire game will take about 10 hours to complete, which begs the question of just how much this game will depend on rats, stealthing past soldiers, or basic puzzle solving with your brother. Plague Tale’s scope might end up getting a little too wide, but as long as the horrors of the rat horde stay fresh, I’ll be more than willing to bite. A Plague Tale: Innocence doesn't have a release date yet, but it is planned to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
  16. For as long as I’ve known her, my mother has been deathly afraid of rats. Even the faintest squeak of the floor is enough to send her into hysterics, a trait my sibling and I have exploited to no end of our own sadistic joy. As a pediatric nurse, my mother regularly witnesses some of the scariest moments of thousands of people’s lives, but these tiny creatures still instill the darkest possible fear in her. A Plague Tale: Innocence is going to melt her gosh darn brain. The developers at Asobo Studio gave a hands-off demo exclusive to members of the media featuring the same locations from their E3 teaser trailer, showcasing Plague Tale’s dark Inquisition era and roving hordes of rodents. You play as a young, redheaded woman named Amicia, searching through the mucky streets of a 14th century French village for your younger brother Hugo and mother. It’s the middle of the night and the streets are deathly quiet. Amicia happened upon a group of Inquisition soldiers attempting to bust into a residence suspected of harboring criminals or the diseased; I’m not quite sure. What is sure is that these soldiers are definitely bad dudes (they also believe Amicia and her family are a clan of witches), as Amicia eventually comes upon a guarded carriage housing her captive brother. Two soldiers with lanterns are patrolling nearby as a few clusters of rats slink through the grass. Considering Amicia isn’t some hulking swordsman, she has to use her ingenuity and intellect to defeat obstacles. To that end, she’s able to use a sling to whip rocks at both guards, forcing them to drop their lanterns, which smash on impact. In the world of Plague Tale, strong light is able to ward off the rat hordes, as they’re infused with some magical, almost vampiric power that forces them to stick to the shadows; unfortunate for the guards now shrouded in darkness, as nearby rats immediately swarm them, leaping all over their bodies to tear their flesh apart. There’s little time to consider the wails of death, as Amicia grabs her brother and flees into a nearby cathedral. Plague Tale isn’t all rats and rock slinging, though. Amicia is able to order Hugo to slip into small spaces she’s too tall for, allowing him to retrieve light sources or other resources from unreachable locations and other basic puzzles. Amicia determines that they need to reach the back of the cathedral to find their missing mother, but it’s blocked by another large horde of rats guarding an oddly fleshy crack in the wall. After Hugo retrieves a lantern from behind a nearby gate, Amicia is able to disperse the rats by shooting a rock at a large fire pot hanging from the ceiling and knocking it to the ground. To the horror of Amicia and her brother, the resounding crash of metal on stone attracts more rats than she could account for. From every crack, hole and open wound in the stonework comes hundreds and hundreds of pissed off rodents. This is where Plague Tale’s technology shines through. After the demo, I asked how many rats the developers could fit on screen at once. Their answer: Roughly 3,000. The true beauty of these horrifying hordes isn’t just how many of them can be on screen, it’s how they flow like water, ebbing and gliding over architecture in a deliberate, yet chaotic nature. It’s eerily reminiscent of the zombies in World War Z, as they careened down a market street, flooding every inch from top to bottom with their collective rage. And while each rat beefs up the larger group, each one feels like a relatively independent creature when your light source is able to kill off a few stragglers. From there, Amicia proceeded to clutch Hugo close to her as they pushed forward through the avalanche of rats, directing the light towards any clusters that threatened to get too close. The tension continues to mount higher and higher until the pair make it to a gash in the wall, leading to a disturbingly dark and fleshy tunnel. Hugo, hearing the call of their mother, goes running off into the shadows as Amicia warns him that it can’t be her. A Plague Tale: Innocence definitely fits into publisher Focus Home Interactive’s mostly gothic repertoire and the hook of navigating a grim world beset by rodents is welcome. According to the developer, the entire game will take about 10 hours to complete, which begs the question of just how much this game will depend on rats, stealthing past soldiers, or basic puzzle solving with your brother. Plague Tale’s scope might end up getting a little too wide, but as long as the horrors of the rat horde stay fresh, I’ll be more than willing to bite. A Plague Tale: Innocence doesn't have a release date yet, but it is planned to hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. View full article
  17. A new season of Telltale's The Walking Dead begins later this month, which has led to a lot of people wondering what exactly it will be about. Last week, Telltale gave just a bit more information via a sequence taken from the first episode of the upcoming series. In it, we get to know one of our main protagonists, Javier, as he and his family go through the initial outbreak of the zombie virus. At the end of the trailer, we see the heart of Telltale's The Walking Dead: Clementine. The scene with Javier's family takes place years before the events of the game itself, with a more grown up and weathered Clementine. She looks like she's seen some more human depravity and now comes wielding a shotgun. It's both heartbreaking and gratifying to see that the world hasn't taken her down yet. Javier and Clementine will be dealing with pockets of civilization that have formed and adapted to the zombie apocalypse. There have been some obvious improvements to the Telltale Engine, the software Telltales uses to run their games. Animations seem smoother, environments present more objects and details, and the lighting effects have improved (though the eye shine seems a bit distracting). The Walking Dead: A New Frontier premiers on December 20 with two episodes titled titled 'Ties That Bind Part 1' and 'Ties That Bind Part 2.' The episodic adventure series is slated to come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile devices on the 20th, but Telltale says that it will also come to other platforms at an unspecified time in the future, so Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners might still see versions come their way. View full article
  18. A new season of Telltale's The Walking Dead begins later this month, which has led to a lot of people wondering what exactly it will be about. Last week, Telltale gave just a bit more information via a sequence taken from the first episode of the upcoming series. In it, we get to know one of our main protagonists, Javier, as he and his family go through the initial outbreak of the zombie virus. At the end of the trailer, we see the heart of Telltale's The Walking Dead: Clementine. The scene with Javier's family takes place years before the events of the game itself, with a more grown up and weathered Clementine. She looks like she's seen some more human depravity and now comes wielding a shotgun. It's both heartbreaking and gratifying to see that the world hasn't taken her down yet. Javier and Clementine will be dealing with pockets of civilization that have formed and adapted to the zombie apocalypse. There have been some obvious improvements to the Telltale Engine, the software Telltales uses to run their games. Animations seem smoother, environments present more objects and details, and the lighting effects have improved (though the eye shine seems a bit distracting). The Walking Dead: A New Frontier premiers on December 20 with two episodes titled titled 'Ties That Bind Part 1' and 'Ties That Bind Part 2.' The episodic adventure series is slated to come to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile devices on the 20th, but Telltale says that it will also come to other platforms at an unspecified time in the future, so Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners might still see versions come their way.
  19. Jack Gardner

    Review: Event[0]

    The dark of space was made for keeping secrets. Murder, conspiracy, sabotage, all manner of things perhaps better left unseen and unknown can be hidden in the vacuum between worlds. But what happens when unlikely events begin to bring those mysteries to light? Event[0] takes place in a fictional version of 2012 where humanity has begun mastering space travel and establishing colonies. On one fateful mission to Europa, an incident occurs that leaves a ship in ruins. Alone in an escape pod with minimal chance of rescue, the mysterious ship Nautilus offers the player a respite from impending death. Unfortunately, the Nautilus seems to have been damaged in various ways and the bridge placed into lockdown. Interacting with the Nautilus’ decades old AI, Kaizen-85, becomes the only way to proceed through the ship, reveal its secrets, and perhaps return to Earth. In many ways, Event[0] fits into the gaming genre of “walking simulator.” I know just mentioning that phrase will unfortunately turn off many people, but many of the in-game objectives boil down to “walk around for a bit until you find a clue” or getting from Point A to Point B, much like genre classics Gone Home or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. However, while those basic goals probably don’t excite the imagination, the core gameplay sets Event[0] apart from anything else available in the indie or even AAA gaming space. Interactions with Kaizen-85 present the only way the player can progress through the Nautilus. The 80s-era AI controls the ship via various terminals, and the player can only talk with Kaizen-85 via typing. Want to open a door? You have to ask Kaizen. Want to use an elevator? You have to ask Kaizen. Want to seal an airlock so you can breathe? You have to ask Kaizen. The entire game maintains a mounting sense of panic as it becomes clear that Kaizen doesn’t process information rationally. It lies. It refuses requests. It might even attempt to kill. Some players might be understandably suspicious of how well the AI can respond to user-generated sentences and phrases. The team at Ocelot Society created over 2,000,000 unique responses for Kaizen and it can respond to a vast array of random inputs. While I certainly encountered a number of repeated phrases when I talked with Kaizen-85, it felt in-character for a malfunctioning artificial intelligence. To Ocelot Society’s credit, I felt like I was able to develop a rudimentary relationship with Kaizen. In that respect, Event[0] feels like a more fully realized version of the 2006 indie title, Façade, which allowed players to interact with a human couple in a room and attempted to account for all possible player inputs. Games have obviously come farther in the decade since Façade. It makes me wonder about the possibility of using a similar approach to modeling human interactions in future games (obviously with the caveat that typing as a replacement for speaking would only work in select instances). Putting all of those details and comparisons aside, the defining mechanic of Event[0] works very well. Event[0] contains a number of qualities that lend themselves toward horror, but the game stops just short of becoming a fully-fledged horror title. It settles for being unsettling and laid back at the same time. The soundtrack does a fantastic job at capturing that feel with a score that highlights the mystery of the Nautilus, thick with anticipation of what might happen next, and tempers that anxiety with a gorgeous, jazzy number performed by Julie Robert and Camille Giraudeau called 'Hey Judy.' All of this is underscored by sound design that both captures the isolation of space and manages to ratchet up the tension when taking risks in a spacesuit. These sounds might be ones with which you're familiar, but they're executed flawlessly. People won't be drawn into Event[0] by its visuals. While certainly serviceable, there just isn't much to see, which relates to the length of the game, too. Almost the entirety of Event[0] takes place aboard the Nautilus, a relatively small ship. The objects are very nicely detailed and each room feels lovingly crafted. However, you can see almost everything in under three hours. For some people, that might be another deal breaker as Event[0] currently sells for around $20 and there are certainly games that offer longer gameplay experiences for a similar price. The story of Event[0] itself feels a bit less exciting than its core mechanic. The struggle to survive armed with only your wit and words against a crazy AI seems like it should be enough on its own, but the situation becomes complicated with an often unnecessary backstory. The ending left me with a feeling a little confused and like I had missed some key piece of exposition. Event[0] rushes to a conclusion that might have been better served with some earlier set up. There are multiple endings to Event[0] that depend on how the player treats Kaizen throughout the game, which is another testament to the power of the core mechanic - the game can determine the player's tone. Conclusion: Play Event[0] if you want something different. It might be short. It might have some narrative problems. It might sometimes have gameplay issues. However, you cannot get a similar experience from anything else released in the last few years. For all of Event[0]'s flaws, trying to communicate with Kaizen-85 and unravel its lies and secrets was a refreshing adventure that I feel grateful exists. Event[0] is available now for PC and Mac
  20. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: Event[0]

    The dark of space was made for keeping secrets. Murder, conspiracy, sabotage, all manner of things perhaps better left unseen and unknown can be hidden in the vacuum between worlds. But what happens when unlikely events begin to bring those mysteries to light? Event[0] takes place in a fictional version of 2012 where humanity has begun mastering space travel and establishing colonies. On one fateful mission to Europa, an incident occurs that leaves a ship in ruins. Alone in an escape pod with minimal chance of rescue, the mysterious ship Nautilus offers the player a respite from impending death. Unfortunately, the Nautilus seems to have been damaged in various ways and the bridge placed into lockdown. Interacting with the Nautilus’ decades old AI, Kaizen-85, becomes the only way to proceed through the ship, reveal its secrets, and perhaps return to Earth. In many ways, Event[0] fits into the gaming genre of “walking simulator.” I know just mentioning that phrase will unfortunately turn off many people, but many of the in-game objectives boil down to “walk around for a bit until you find a clue” or getting from Point A to Point B, much like genre classics Gone Home or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. However, while those basic goals probably don’t excite the imagination, the core gameplay sets Event[0] apart from anything else available in the indie or even AAA gaming space. Interactions with Kaizen-85 present the only way the player can progress through the Nautilus. The 80s-era AI controls the ship via various terminals, and the player can only talk with Kaizen-85 via typing. Want to open a door? You have to ask Kaizen. Want to use an elevator? You have to ask Kaizen. Want to seal an airlock so you can breathe? You have to ask Kaizen. The entire game maintains a mounting sense of panic as it becomes clear that Kaizen doesn’t process information rationally. It lies. It refuses requests. It might even attempt to kill. Some players might be understandably suspicious of how well the AI can respond to user-generated sentences and phrases. The team at Ocelot Society created over 2,000,000 unique responses for Kaizen and it can respond to a vast array of random inputs. While I certainly encountered a number of repeated phrases when I talked with Kaizen-85, it felt in-character for a malfunctioning artificial intelligence. To Ocelot Society’s credit, I felt like I was able to develop a rudimentary relationship with Kaizen. In that respect, Event[0] feels like a more fully realized version of the 2006 indie title, Façade, which allowed players to interact with a human couple in a room and attempted to account for all possible player inputs. Games have obviously come farther in the decade since Façade. It makes me wonder about the possibility of using a similar approach to modeling human interactions in future games (obviously with the caveat that typing as a replacement for speaking would only work in select instances). Putting all of those details and comparisons aside, the defining mechanic of Event[0] works very well. Event[0] contains a number of qualities that lend themselves toward horror, but the game stops just short of becoming a fully-fledged horror title. It settles for being unsettling and laid back at the same time. The soundtrack does a fantastic job at capturing that feel with a score that highlights the mystery of the Nautilus, thick with anticipation of what might happen next, and tempers that anxiety with a gorgeous, jazzy number performed by Julie Robert and Camille Giraudeau called 'Hey Judy.' All of this is underscored by sound design that both captures the isolation of space and manages to ratchet up the tension when taking risks in a spacesuit. These sounds might be ones with which you're familiar, but they're executed flawlessly. People won't be drawn into Event[0] by its visuals. While certainly serviceable, there just isn't much to see, which relates to the length of the game, too. Almost the entirety of Event[0] takes place aboard the Nautilus, a relatively small ship. The objects are very nicely detailed and each room feels lovingly crafted. However, you can see almost everything in under three hours. For some people, that might be another deal breaker as Event[0] currently sells for around $20 and there are certainly games that offer longer gameplay experiences for a similar price. The story of Event[0] itself feels a bit less exciting than its core mechanic. The struggle to survive armed with only your wit and words against a crazy AI seems like it should be enough on its own, but the situation becomes complicated with an often unnecessary backstory. The ending left me with a feeling a little confused and like I had missed some key piece of exposition. Event[0] rushes to a conclusion that might have been better served with some earlier set up. There are multiple endings to Event[0] that depend on how the player treats Kaizen throughout the game, which is another testament to the power of the core mechanic - the game can determine the player's tone. Conclusion: Play Event[0] if you want something different. It might be short. It might have some narrative problems. It might sometimes have gameplay issues. However, you cannot get a similar experience from anything else released in the last few years. For all of Event[0]'s flaws, trying to communicate with Kaizen-85 and unravel its lies and secrets was a refreshing adventure that I feel grateful exists. Event[0] is available now for PC and Mac View full article
  21. In honor of the day of all things spooky-scary we're turning to the game that took up Resident Evil 4's third-person horror mantle and mixed it with Alien and Event Horizon. Dead Space released in 2008 and garnered numerous accolades for its tense sound, tight level design, and its unique focus on dismembering monsters. Some reviewers and fans at the time crowned Dead Space as the scariest game of all time. Though that title might have since been given to other games, Dead Space still holds its share of horror. but is that enough for it to be a best game period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Uninvited 'The Old Mansion by the Road' by Sir_NutS, Stephen Kelly, and WillRock (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03443) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday View full article
  22. In honor of the day of all things spooky-scary we're turning to the game that took up Resident Evil 4's third-person horror mantle and mixed it with Alien and Event Horizon. Dead Space released in 2008 and garnered numerous accolades for its tense sound, tight level design, and its unique focus on dismembering monsters. Some reviewers and fans at the time crowned Dead Space as the scariest game of all time. Though that title might have since been given to other games, Dead Space still holds its share of horror. but is that enough for it to be a best game period? Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Uninvited 'The Old Mansion by the Road' by Sir_NutS, Stephen Kelly, and WillRock (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03443) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
  23. Outlast 2 may have been been delayed until 2017, but players can at least get their hands on a small bit of the game this month. Red Barrels, the developer behind the psychotic horror game Outlast and its upcoming sequel, has released a demo that provides the public with a free slice of gameplay from Outlast 2. The demo is available digitally via Steam (PC), Xbox Live (Xbox One), and PSN (PS4). However, it will only be available for a limited time. Red Barrels will be pulling the demo from digital storefronts on November 1, so download it before then if you want to scare yourself silly. We were pretty impressed with Outlast 2's E3 showing earlier this year, with writer Alissa Gould calling what she saw "terrifyingly fantastic." Though it is a shame the title won't be releasing this year, a horror demo around Halloween might just be the perfect consolation to help us - outlast - the delay.
  24. Outlast 2 may have been been delayed until 2017, but players can at least get their hands on a small bit of the game this month. Red Barrels, the developer behind the psychotic horror game Outlast and its upcoming sequel, has released a demo that provides the public with a free slice of gameplay from Outlast 2. The demo is available digitally via Steam (PC), Xbox Live (Xbox One), and PSN (PS4). However, it will only be available for a limited time. Red Barrels will be pulling the demo from digital storefronts on November 1, so download it before then if you want to scare yourself silly. We were pretty impressed with Outlast 2's E3 showing earlier this year, with writer Alissa Gould calling what she saw "terrifyingly fantastic." Though it is a shame the title won't be releasing this year, a horror demo around Halloween might just be the perfect consolation to help us - outlast - the delay. View full article
  25. Five Nights at Freddy's continues with Scott Cawthon's sixth entry in the series. The horror franchise has managed to remain popular among its PC fanbase by constantly introducing new tweaks to keep the formula fresh and the scares coming. The series is no stranger to risks, however. Five Nights at Freddy's World, though released to a rocky reception, wound up being a fully-fledged RPG set in a fantasy world inhabited by characters from throughout the series' run. Cawthon has teased that Sister Location might be a similar departure, though the trailer is very reminiscent of past Five Nights at Freddy's games. In the lead up to Sister Location's release, Cawthon stated that "it will definitely be different" from previous entries in the franchise. The existence of voice acting has been one of the largest differences revealed so far. The haunted animatronic suits Five Nights at Freddy's is known for will come equipped with speakers that allow them to talk to the player. In the trailer they can be heard whispering, "Don't hold it against us." While Five Nights at Freddy's World was the last entry in the series, it was not canon. Scott Cawthon had previously indicated that Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was the final canonical entry in the series. Much to the surprise of fans, however, Cawthon seems to have reversed his position: Sister Location will be considered part of the official canon. One of the neat features included with Sister Location will be extras that delve into Cawthon's development process with his game series. This added bonus will definitely be a welcome addition both to fans of Five Nights at Freddy's and to those interested in learning more about game development. Why can't this be something included with every game? Sister Location is slated for an October 7 PC release with Cawthon committing to the date. Even if he finishes the game early, he'll be using the extra time to refine the game - not releasing it early like he did with Five Nights at Freddy's World, which was heavily criticized for being unfinished and released too soon. If you're looking for something to scare your pants off on Game Day, Sister Location might be worth keeping an eye on.
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