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== ALONE IN THE DARK ==
Alone In The Dark is a game series in which has always intrigued me and upon hearing of a fifth game in the series coming for numerous systems such as PS2, PS3, PC, Wii, Xbox 360 and a few others I was actually really looking forward to it. The game was released back in 2008 for just about everything and I got mine with my third Xbox 360 console. The game was developed by Eden Games and it was also published by Atari. Alone In The Dark is a third person survival horror video game. The story to the game is really good. Its an intense story that unfolds in thrilling episodes with action, plot twists and cliff-hangers. The game is also a bit like a TV show because every time you turn on the game and go on continue, the game does the 'previously on Alone In The Dark' and shows a video of what happened when you last played it. This works fantastically well and helps keep you up to date with the story.
=== STORY ===
You take the role as Edward Carnby who is an investigator but not any kind of investigator because hes a paranormal investigator. At the start of the game Edward is being taken to the roof to be killed by a member of the mysterious group that had kidnapped him. Suddenly the guard that is escorting Edward is killed by a mysterious supernatural force in which Edward escapes. Edward has amnesia and cannot remember why hes there or why this group was about to kill him. As Edward looks for a way out he witnesses numerous people being taken over by a demonic force. Edward meets and befriends a girl named Sarah and they both escape via the underground parking garage. Edward and Sarah meet Theodore who claims to know exactly what is happening. He explains that its a mysterious stone in which Edward himself had but it was taken by a man named Crowley who released its power. Edward and Sarah escape the building to find that the whole city has been overrun by this demonic force and now the pair must find the answers they desire and Edward must find a way to stop what is happening and he must also stop Crowley.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
Alone In The Dark is different to all survival horror games because the game offers slightly more but probably cant compete with the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. In Alone In The Dark you do many things that include many ways to kill your demonic enemies, driving vehicles at high speeds to escape monsters or utter destruction that is coming behind you, walk ledges and climb buildings, combine items to cause chaos and there are a few other bits you can do in the game that other survival horror games don't have. The game is shot from a third person perspective camera view and to be fair it works really well because that's how most survival games are done nowadays.
You can only play as Edward which could be seen as a bit disappointing because he looks a little boring. However he can do many things which include driving cars. The second episode is fantastic because it involves you driving around New York City whilst being hunted down by a massive demon which causes buildings to collapse and roads to crack straight in half. One of the best things about the game is when Edward gets injured he actually bleeds and can actually get seriously injured. If this happens then your on a time limit to bandage yourself up and use a first aid spray. A lot of bandages and first aid sprays can be found throughout the game. You don't even need to use bandages just to heal yourself because you can mix them with a bottle and liquid to make a Molotov Cocktail to throw and burn your foes.
Along with mixing items to make Molotov's you can also use a first aid spray with your lighter to make a flammable weapon that is very harmful to your enemies. Most of the enemies in the game have to be burned. You can use guns, axes or other weapons to hurt them and knock them down but you have to burn their bodies after. You can drag them over a burning fire which instantly destroys them. There are a lot of different combinations you can do to make different weapons and some of them are fantastic but also common sense. You can even make bombs and flame rounds for your gun. The demons in the game are normal people but with seriously disfigured faces and extremely deep voices.
The action is really good to the game and sometimes you have to run from your enemies because of numerous reasons. One being the fact there just isn't enough items in the game to literally kill everything and if your surrounded its always best to run because you can end up dead in seconds. I really like the way the injuries work on the game and to be fair not many games do things like that and have injuries that need attention. The game also has a few puzzles that need solving but to be honest they're not even a challenge. The most challenging part is the enemies and it does get annoying with the fact you have to kill them by burning them. You go to many places in the game which also includes Central Park and it looks really good except it looks like its been slightly destroyed. You also go to many other places around New York. Overall Alone In The Dark is a fairly decent survival horror game in terms of gameplay.
=== GRAPHICS ===
Alone In The Dark is really well detailed. Its set in New York City and most of the places from the game look how they do in real life until destruction happens. Most of the characters look good but I have to say I am slightly disappointed with Edward the main character because he looks rushed and very boring but his facial expressions are actually not too shabby. The first two episodes in the game are fantastically designed. One of the best first 2 levels I have ever seen. The first is Edward climbing up a tall building whilst it falls to pieces and it just looks phenomenal. The second episode involves Edward driving down the streets of New York being chased by utter destruction and you've basically got to drive fast with no hesitation. Both these episodes give better graphical effects than other levels and they certainly stand out the most. Overall the graphics are fairly impressive.
=== SOUND EFFECTS ===
Alone In The Dark also features some quality sound effects at times and do make the game slightly more enjoyable. The music to the game definitely livens up the game with the way it changes and comes into play. All the characters are voiced and sound reasonably well. The sound of New York being total destroyed with buildings falling down and roads collapsing isn't too bad but could be slightly improved. The best thing are the demons because they sound and make the game better. Overall the sound effects aren't too bad but they just lack that cutting edge overall.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
The games difficulty varies depending on what difficulty you pick at the start of the game. The hardest part of the game are the demons and the lack of healing items and bullets. For some reason every time I play the game there just isn't enough items. Also the bosses can be quite tricky because it usually involves doing certain things to defeat them. The controls to the game are also a little tricky because after not playing the game for a while and finally going back to it I had actually forgotten half of them where as most games its actually easy to remember them. Overall I would say the difficulty to the game is average at most.
The length of the game is an interesting one because I would say to go from start to finish your looking at about only 8 hours which seems very short. However the game must be replayed for secret bits and achievements on a different difficulty setting. Each episode is roughly the same in length and each one lasts a decent amount of time. The games length isn't the best but its far from the worst. Overall its a bit of a mix for both of these aspects.
=== ACHIEVEMENTS ===
There are a total of 49 achievements in the game which come to a total of 1000g and to be honest that is actually really good and the achievements are fairly mixed in variety. There are your usual standard achievements that you get for finishing episodes. Other achievements include killing so many different foes and also some include creating new weapons. The achievements are pretty good in my opinion and definitely add a mix overall.
=== PROS ===
*The story is fantastic and a very intense one.
*A lot of variety in the gameplay to the game.
*Some beautiful graphics are on display in the game.
*Realistic injuries happen and must be dealt with before its to late.
*The driving gameplay is actually really good.
=== CONS ===
*The game can get really boring at times.
*Lack of items scattered throughout the game.
*No multiplayer mode or any other mode to be honest.
*The controls to the game are disappointing.
*Its not Resident Evil or Silent Hill.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
Alone In The Dark is an okay game but the fact its a survival horror game would never help its cause because of the 2 famous survival horror games in Resident Evil and Silent Hill. It does have different bits but it was never going to be in their league. However Alone In The Dark is really cheap but its not an entirely bad game and could be an option if you cant afford games such as Resident Evil or Silent Hill.
I would probably just recommend the game because of the added material and the brilliant idea of proper injuries. I do think this works well and definitely inspires the game a little. If your a fan of the Resident Evil and Silent Hill games and play them regularly then this is probably a bad option because its not as good. However if you like survival horror games and do fancy something different then I would recommend Alone In The Dark for its intense story.
One of the best things about the game right now is the fantastic price its going for. I obviously got mine with the Xbox but I have seen the game selling in multiple shops for as little as £2.99 which in my experience any game is worth that amount especially in years to come when the value rises. The game has an age rating of 15+ because it contains strong violence, blood and bad language throughout. The game manual is okay but nothing special but it does list enough information and help.
Overall Alone In The Dark is an okay game but will never compete with the top games. I would give the game a 6/10!
Review also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
You take controll of a drunk aggresive man named Edward Carnby as he awkes in room that is home a small cult. At first Edwards quest is to make it out of the apartments he woke up in alive. But afterwards the story takes you out in to the world of New York City's and Central Park
Its an interesting story and along with the voice acting its very B movie esque. But thats not exactly a bad thing if anything it makes the story seem more interesting then it deserves to be and unintentionaly funny at the same time.
The transition from level to level has a very nice touch of explaining what happened in the previous level before you are thrown in to resume your game. So Id say to enjoy the story just play one level a day and absorb the game like you would a TV program
A bit hit and miss here. Eden Studios does a great job of creating a suspenseful and atmosperic areas which gets help from the brilliant fire and shadow effects . But it is ruined by the occasional clipping issue and a little slowdown
A wonderful if sparsely used soundtrack. But the voice acting.... I dont know whether its good or bad. Good in a way that that its acting talents are equal to a typical horror film or bad that the voice acting is uneven and erratic and doesnt even hold a candle or flashlight in this case to games like Mass Effect 2 and Halo ODST
As pretty as the game can be an extremely clumsy camera, dodgy combat controls and unengaging and sometimes glitched driving sections really detract from the game and the experience. When you are really getting in to the game. BAM a wall of frustration
A 9 hour storyline and the option to repeat on harder dificulty its a fair amount of game for pound. I got limited edition version for £3 in Gamestation so there are a couple of bonus goodies a statue of the main protagonist, A making of DVD and the artbook to alone in the dark
A disapointment the positives in this game are negated with the negatives. A few more months in development and this would of easily gotten a mid 7 to low 8 but unfortunately it doesnt.
Alone in the Dark on the Xbox360 was one of those games I had seen in the shops and considering picking up but decided to leave it so when I spotted it the other day for £3.99 on Play.com it was simply one of those chances I had to take.
The game arrived so I chucked it in the console not really knowing what to expect so when the game loaded up I was fairly impressed as the graphics were of a fairly good standard.
The game starts up fairly quickly with load times that are impressive for a next generation console and it is a game that thankfully shows you as you go what the control system is by asking you to do something and thankfully then bringing up an image of the controller and showing you exactly what you need to do. This for me was something I had worried about as I had read some reviews saying the control system is complexed but for me the simple and easy to follow instructions make it a lot easier than many games out there.
The basic story is that something is on the loose causing buidlings to be torn apart, people going missing and you need to try to save yourself and find out what is going on in order to stop the madness from spreading. A simple storyline but thanks to it being well executed you have a game which is entertaining and also draws you in somewhat to make it an immersive experience.
- Good graphics
- Well thought out and delivered storyline
- Control system is simple and well explained throughout
- Entertaining gameplay
- Good quality of sound effects
- Quick load times
This is a game worth a try for those who are looking for a game where you will be running around a lot but actually need to think through how to overcome obstacles too.
To being, I would just like to say that this is my own work that I have previously posted on the Love Film website and am now choosing to reproduce here for the benefit of this community. To anyone who wishes to read this, I hope you find it beneficial :)
Alone in the Dark. Quality game. Only good for one playthrough really, once you've done it all and experienced the story, there really isn't any drive to do it again, but that one play through is qualty. Controls are nowhere near as bad as made out, I found them very easy to manage. A couple of irritating parts, but they're quickly over with. Overall, a great game imo. 8/10
A quick list of the good and the bad imo.
Visually its excellent, sure, not the level of detail thats gone into the character models of Marcus Fenix in Gears of War, but they aren't poor by any standard either. If GoW was 10/10 for visuals, I'd give Alone in the Dark a solid 8/10. And thats not taking into consideration one of the best aspects of the game. Fire.
The fire is the best I've seen done in any game. Its an integral part of the game (monsters can only be killed permanently by using fire), and as such the physics behind it are second to none. The weay it looks, the way it acts and reacts, all of it is of the highest quality.
The game is suitably creepy. Its not so spine tingly creepy as the SIlent HIll games, nor as 'jumpy;' as the Resident Evil series, but its has a constant undertone of creepy, you find often that you are quite tense whilst playing this game. There's not really any risk of something jumping out at you, although on occasion when you are playing in first person perspective you can turn around and be suddenly face to face witha monster, that can be quite disconcerting. However it is the design of the game and how the story plays out that keeps you on your toes.
The story is stellar, a truly excellent story and the episodic nature of the game (the game is presented like you are watching a tv show, it plays like a proper video game, but the story and cut scenes are presented like a tv show) is such that you can never be sure whats coming next and what each progression of the 'episode' will bring. Every cutscene brings you both more story and new objectives or directions for you to follow, and every time that happens, what you are doing changes. You can never be sure if a cutscene is going to lead you to fighting a big demon baddie, or lead you through some dark tunnels infested with little creepy enemies. ITs a very clever method actually. In most games you play, you get a cut scene, and then carry on doing the exact same thing. In this you can never be really sure whats coming next and that leads to a constant measure of nerves whilst playing the game.
Something else of note is the inventory system. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. Essentially its not that new, you carry what you can, combine certain items to make new or improved items, its fairly common place. but its presentation here is very clever and fits so well with the story. Its not like in other games with inventory systems where you pause, bring up a menu then look through your items, you see your items in real time secreted on your belt and in your coat pockets and can swiftly pick them and use them as you need allowing you to do what you have to and keep on going. The way it is designed is such that it doesn't break the natual flow of the game, but is not so clunky as to make things awkward for you and put you at a disadvantage.
The healing system works along similar lines. You can get different levels of damage requiring different types of healing, whether a simple medical spray or a bandage. Its a simple little change from standarad healing packs heal all, but it adds a level of strategic thinking 'Do I sacrific this healing can and take this extra bottle of flammable liquid, or play it safe with the hextra health and hope this liquid is enough for what I have to do?', 'Do I take these bandages, or leave them and take extra ammo and hope I don't get too badly injured?'.
Fortunately the game never leaves you without a fair chance. If you DID leave behind that bandage and take the ammo, but you need the bandage, there is always a first aid box somewhere near by that will have one, o r you can find an overturned ambulance that has bandages near by.
The achievements in this game are very well thought out in my opinion. I've always been an advocate for achievements putting the game in the players hands, and focussing on things a player can do either in single or multiplayer, never one or the other. This game has no multiplayer to speak of, however the achievements are such that, after allowing for the story based ones, the rest are made up of achievements that would fit nicely in a multiplayer deathmatch mode f there was one, but also adds a nice extra dimension to the game. I like achievements that give you leave to do more than what a story requires of you, but is not a chore nor overly taxing or boring. The achievements here are exactly that. They can all be done (except 1) ioin one single play through (that 1 can be done by picking the very last scene of the last episode and making an alternative choice), but they add more play time to the game without ever seeming like they are asking too much of you.
Ultimately this game is fairly short, 8 episodes, each around 1hr long making for around a 10 hour game. If you aim for all teh achievements, that can add a couple of extra hours play time so about 12 hours, 15 at the outside depending on the pace you play at (which you can choose, the game never rushes you, its always up to you how you want to pace your progression through the game and story), but that is fairly standard for this generation of games, andit is in the quality of teh experience rather than teh quantity that lies the heart of this game. It may be reasonably short, about a weekends worth of playing, but it is an excellent and very entertaining experience.
Saving and loading is also very well done. The game has regular triggered checkpoints (never pops up saying checkpoint, but the game retains the information for your save) so when you save, it remember everything you've done up to that point, but it moves you to one of those checkpoints to restart. It sounds like a hinderance, but it really isn't. The game never leaves you without necessary items to be able to progress, so very time you load in you always have some health spray, some ammo and a bottle of flammable liquid, and when you load in, whilst you may be at times acertain distance from when you last were, everything you did up until the point you saved is still done, so there is no need to repeat things you've already done, puzzles completed or enemies killed.
On the negative side, the story is such that it really intrigues you from the start, and as you play you pay great attention to what is going on, however this means that once you have finished the game you have no need to replay it, meaning it is only really good for one play through. Although, as I said earlier, that one play through is truly excellent.
And yes there are some parts that may well irritate you. It is well documented that some people find the cotrols to be very fiddly (I don't, I find that give a few minutes to familiarize myself with what everything does and the control scheme is quite intuitive). Some find the driving sections to handle badly and be awful to play (again, I don't, sure this is no Forza or PGR, but then neither Forza nor PGR requires you driving at high speed through a city being torn apart from the ground up with buildings collapsing around you, I'm a fairly average player of racing games at best, but I found the driving sections of this to be fun, tense and exciting, and at no point did I find the controls poor, far from it).
However, for me, there are 2 things that did very much irritate me. Firstly the combat. The combat is such in this game that every enemy you face ultimately needs burning to kill. Now you have options, create fire bullets and get very precise shots at specifc locations on your enemy to cause them to burn, or knock them out witha melee weapon then set them alight with fire (or use the fire bullets again). This sounds interesting, and at first it is, but quickly you get to find that the enemies are stupidly quick meaning getting your precise shot with a fire bullet is as much about luck as it is skill, plus the melee is very clunky (the one thing I find really did handle badly) and is incredibly difficult to do when faced with more than one enemy, especially considering most enemies take a few hits to knock down and generally speaking, by the time you have one a 2nd enemy down, the first is getting back up again, plus some enemies can knock your melee weapon out of your hand from distance, not even allowing you to get close enough to swing, on top of that some enemies won't die, even when you clearly hit the repeatedly in the specific locations with fire bullets. It all adds up to being very frustrating and irritating. Personally I only fought when it was absolutely necessary, the rest of the time I ran or drove past enemies and ignored them.
The other irritating thing is the black slime. I won't go into too much drtail, but you come to certain sections when you need to get past black slime, you need lto use light. But such is the nature that every step you take during these sections is very tense and on tiny mistake will kill you. Fortunately when you die you are never sent too far back from when you last were, so its not a huge issue, but it becomes quickly irritating to repeatedly try the same thing over and over again. Fortunately these sections, thought hey can be repetitive, are not at all long, and once you are through, you are through in a matter of moments and that section is dealt with.
Ultimately, with all that said, Il refer you back to my opening brief summary, quality game, a couple of irritating parts which are over quickly. Overall a little gem.
Alone in the Dark is admittedly a creepy game. Your character wakes up, face-throbbing with no clue who he is or why he is being used as a punching bag. Next his captors are killed in what appears to be an excruciating manmer, seeing as we can only hear their screams, and well, the whole city is under attack from ... something? The unknown is what compels the player to continue with the game, mysterious clues from other characters hint at the protagonists destiny but he unfortunately has no clue.
The game much like a good horror movie has its moments where it will make you jump. You can search an area, find no enemies and then as you hop into your car a maggot-festering body drops down on your windscreen. The locations throughout the game are, well to be accurate, dark. The city is in ruins, burning cars everwhere, gruesome zombies running around and combined with games orchestra it can build up alot of tension, especially in the more chlostrophobic areas.
The zombies themselves are fairly frightening, not on par with the unnerving stares of the villagers from Resident Evil 4 but they still have their charm.
Alone in the dark has many original concepts, however these are not always so useful. I was delighted at the healing system, which allows you to take a look at the parts of your body that are injured and simply spray or bandage yourself up. However healing takes place in real time and so in battle with a couple of zombies you need to create a fair bit of distance before you have the opportunity to heal yourself. Like resident evil, you have the chance to combine simple items, even your own first aid spray with a bit of ducktape can become a highly flammable projectile weapon.
The game is certainly recommended to people who like games that require them to think as there are plenty of tricky puzzles which actually require us to use our brains rather then just hack and slash our way through levels.
Speaking of hack and slash thats probably the one thing Alone in the Dark lacks and it counts for a lot! The fighting system isnt particularly great. Using just your analog stick you can swing around a shovel in a few different directions, but rather annoyingly everything has to be on fire before you can kill your enemy and trying to set items on fire can be frustrating at times. Of course you have your explosive aresenal of projectile weapons but there is a need to conserve these and even their use requires a little too much precision for the average gamer. As a gamer it feels as though your character is pretty useless even bullets to the head don't put these zombies to rest and it leaves you wondeing how the hell are you supposed to save the city. At times one just wants to skip past the zombies so they can get on with the story!
Visually the game is good, cut-scene graphics are enjoyable to watch and the in-game graphics are pretty clear. Despite the darkness of levels its not stupidly impossible to see anything, one of the flaws of the game Dark Sector.
Alone in the Dark is a survival horror game which is the 5th in the series. It is a dark game, in which the main character struggles to survive in a torn apart New York City, try to regain his memories and find the cause of the supernatural happenings on his way. The game is most like the Resident Evil series.
The gameplay heavily features customisation of your inventory, as players are encouraged to combine various items in order to create better weapons, tools of survival and ways to solve puzzles. This kind of gameplay has rarely been seen in other games, and is a great concept. The only draw back of this system is that the menu can sometimes be fiddly, especially under the pressure of approaching "Humanz" or other evil creatures. The achievement of the game are highly varied, and provide a fun challenge for players.
The graphics are fantastic, and the music and sound effects are equally as good. The music creeps up on you in the scariest moments, whilst sound effects are dropped in to cause frights and suspense. This game is certainly one of the darkest on the Xbox 360 to date.
As briefly mentioned, the controls can sometimes be over-complicated, and you sustain damage as a result, but the controls are easily mastered after a few hours of gameplay.
Alone in the Dark is a great purchase for any fan of survival horror games, or just a player in look of a new experience.
Alone in the Dark is the 5th installment on the series for the Xbox 360. Originally it was set to be released along the 2005 film but was delayed because to be reworked from the ground up. Thank god because the movie really sucked and that would have given the game a bad reputation. Alone in the Dark may not be what it seems, but it sure as hell keeps you entertained until the end.
You are Edward Carnby (who looks alot like Tommy from the Video Game Prey) looking for answers to strange supernatural and bizzare occurrences while fighting his way through New York city against demons and the city falling apart. Too bad there isn't a Radioshack in the game otherwise he could have stopped by and gotten his questions answered. As the game progresses Edward finds out who he is and what happened to him in the past.
The game is set up as a TV show where you play through episodes. When you start the game where you left off you go through a sequence of clips that explain what has happened so far and drops you off where you left off. Each sequence changes as you find out more about Edward throughout the game. There are a total of 8 Episodes in the game and it is set up that you can go back at any time during the game to any part of the episode you wish to replay or skip an episode if you find that a certain part of the game is too hard for you. Skipping it however will not get you the achievement points that are given at the end of every episode until you go back a beat the segment that you skipped.
Alone in the dark has a camera style similar to that of Resident Evil which changes depending on what part of the level you are on. You can also switch to first person with the press of a button. While in FPS mode it gives the player a better view on where they are shooting, however when attacked by multiple enemies it is very hard to know where they are attacking you from. The game is open environment which means anything can come at anytime from anywhere. While playing you must plan out what and how you will defeat your enemies. Most demoms that attack you will require that you use fire to kill them otherwise they will be coming back to life time after time again. One sure way to kill them is mixing bullets with gasoline and making fire bullets.
Weapon combination can be the difference between life and death. There are many weapons combinations all of which must require that you use at least more than once. You can combine weapons to create a Molotov cocktail, a sticky bomb, fire bullets, etc. You can also pick up weapons from the ground like a Fire Extinguisher (which you will have to use alot during the game) Gas Tank, 2X4, metal pipes, etc. Blowing up your enemies is a lot of fun and sometimes because you are losing the battle you will not think twice about what you should do. Throwing something highly flammable like a first aid spray or a bottle or rum can kill many enemies and level bosses however when they are so close to you and you are cornered you have to use them at close range which will blow you apart and kill you if you are low on health or wounded. Healing yourself is very easy of course it requires a first aid spray. However when you have an open wound you need to find medical tape which if you don't have with you at the time you will need to find it within 7 Mins or die of blood loss. Your inventory is limited to what you can carry. Most of the time you will need to sacrifice something in order to carry another thing. One item that is a must is the first aid spray. It will heal you and you can also use it as a flamethrower and a grenade assuming that you shoot it before it hits the ground.
Solving puzzles are interesting yet very easy at the same time. However that doesn't mean you can beat the game with your eyes closed. What is really challenging is the enemies on the game and Eden game must have known that players were constantly going to keep dying so they implemented a checkpoint system every few minutes. While solving the puzzles may be somewhat easy the controls makes it more challenging than it needs to be.
The control layout is probably one of the strangest layouts I have ever seen in a game and will require that you get used to them. While on FPS mode you will constantly need to blink otherwise your vision will get blurry and you will not be able to see even if your life depends on it. This is very distracting however it does add to the real life effect; however gamers don't play games for the real life experience. We play to get away from real life.
When in FPS mode the controls switch to a familiar layout which is easier to control. The game is hard to control however it is not impossible. When you play the game for so long you will get used to the control layout that everything will come natural afterwards.
From time to time you will be required to drive a vehicle through New York City. While the chase scenes are great the car handling could be way better. Your character will die many and I mean many times before you realize that you can skip this part of the game or beat this segment and move on with your achievement points.
Visually the game looks amazing; from Humans and Demons to the environment around you. While the game may not be as scary as anyone hopes it to be it is both entertaining and interesting. Throughout the game I did find a few bugs. The major bug that I found is at the time was at the beginning of the game when you first step outside of the building into New York City and all you see is just a blank screen. Thinking that it was part of the game or maybe a movie was about to begin until everything just started falling into place. Yes falling into place like a tetris game.
The Games soundtrack and sound effects are phenomenal. The developers didn't use a real orchestra for the game's soundtrack; instead they did everything with electronic instruments and added a few voice covers which matches with the games feel. The voice over however could have been better. Sometimes the characters would engage in a conversation and would say cheesy dialog that just wasn't believable. All the actions performed by the characters don't get you into the characters. You get into the action but not the characters. There are a few tender moments in the game that would have you asking yourself; "how did they to that point?" Just like the voice over some sequences in the game are just not believable.
Alone in the dark is an interesting game that is worth checking out. However because there is little replay value it is not a game you may want to hold on for too long. There's nothing to unlock and no online multiplayer. There are rumors going around that there might be some DLC but all those rumors lead to a dead end. It is unknown whether or not Atari will release or is currently working on new episodes for the game however because the ending wasn't what one was expecting it will definitely be interesting to see if any what Atari might offer for the game.
Alone in the Dark is Atari and Infrogrames apparent answer to their money losing issues of late. Despite the fact that I believe that Atari are one of the worst game creators ever (Driv3r, Bullet Witch and Taz Wanted convinced me this) I have had high hopes for this game. There are three things I have a fetish for-survival horror, adventure games and burning stuff and Alone in the Dark contains all three of these things. It was in the works for a good three years now and after several delays, including one from May to June of this year, Atari and Eden Games (creators of Test Driver Unlimited) have finally unleashed this horror beast unto the world. Is it a good game, or should it be left 'Alone in the Dark'?
Edward Carnby, who you'll recognise from previous games in the series, is having a rough day. After being drugged and left with a bad case of amnesia this protagonist is feeling pretty shi***. Things get worse when the building he is in starts to crumble and the city turns into an apocalyptic nightmare. People are being consumed by an evil force, and Edward must find a way to survive this night. He has the help of Sarah, a tarty lady who persists that Edward doesn't take advantage of the situation. It's interesting to see how Eden has created one of the most popular cities and destroyed it. There are plenty of high tension and exciting scenes, sadly let down by B-Movie acting and script. There's also a cool TV show style presentation, with ending credits at the end of each episode, previously on-clips and cliff-hangers at the end of episodes. It keeps you compelled, and unlike real-life TV, commercials are gone.
Where Alone in the Dark really falls apart in its controls-there are so many commands, movements and actions to do that you'll never remember them all. There are so many controls that in the manual, four pages are used up to explain them all. That's the problem when incorporating multiple genres into one game. You have your buttons for jumping, picking up weapons, running, healing yourself, opening your PDA, entering a car, shimmying, using your inventory, shooting, reloading, blinking and so many more that you won't remember them all. It's a clunky set up, with poor camera control in Third-person view and stiff movement. Driving handling is dreadful and so many other control issues hold this title back. The controls are responsive, but too complicated.
Alone in the Dark starts off promisingly, where you are in first-person, lying on a bed unconscious. You can look around as two weird cult people talk about some crazy stuff. You are then told to push down the right analog to blink. That's right-you can blink in Alone in the Dark and it's not just some gimmick added to impress you at the beginning, but I won't spoil what this feature does in the rest of AitD. After that, you are impressed with a cool action sequence as you use a hanging wire to descend down an elevator shaft. There are many impressive action sequences in AitD, including rock climbing a cliff before a helicopter falls down, escaping a burning building and more. It's all like an action film, and unlike most games, you usually have full control over these events which is one of AitD's shining achievements.
The game supports an interesting DVD style system where you can skip sequences in the game. It might sound like cheating, because why would you want to skip a sequence in a videogame, but there are a couple of sequences that frustrate. You can skip all the way to the last episode, where you are then stopped because you need to kill evil roots. This is a risky concept, as allowing people to skip scenes means you could miss out on some stuff, but it works out because you can play it as little as you can and still see the conclusion to the whole thing. I personally found myself skipping two sequences-one that had you backtracking the game map, and one which was so glitchy and stupid that I couldn't do it.
Alone in the Dark also supports impressive use of fire. It looks stunning, but that's not the only reason why it is so cool. As you burn a burnable object in the environment, you won't see some stupid explosion as you burn it. Instead, the fire sweeps the object from where you set it alight, burns the object into charcoal and then falls apart. Fire takes a major role in the game, not just because there are going to be objects to burn, but because your main enemy-Humanz,- can only be killed with fire. You can smack them with a chair or shoot them in the head all you want, but the only way to kill Humanz are to burn them at a special point, which can be a bit tricky at times because it can feel like your shots are missing them.
Another cool thing is the interesting inventory and item system. Rather than going into a bland menu and selecting an item from there, you can press down on the D-Pad and Edward will open up his jacket to show you his items. You can pick up many items, including bottles, empty or filled with explosive liquid, handkerchiefs off the floor, knives and screwdrivers, ammo and batteries for your gun and torch and many more. A cool touch is that you can combine many items together to form a new weapon. For example, you can apply double sided tape, a handkerchief and then set it alight with your light and if you can get a good shot, throw the Molotov at a Humanz and watch as the Molotov explodes to kill the dumb mutant. It's satisfying, though some will find it easier to throw an explosive in the air and shoot it with bullets.
Sadly, despite all these great elements, AitD suffers from poor execution. It tries too much at once and all the elements end up either only slightly decent or downright lame. You're getting an action adventure game featuring driving sections, two different perspectives and melee combat. It is just too much. The combat in AitD is flawed in its own right, because the controls for melee are inaccurate. You can use many items in the game as melee weapons, including chairs, wooden slates, frying pans and more. The game uses the right analog stick, where you move it in one direction and move it back into another to perform a strike. Sadly, you'll mostly find that it's just easier to use guns by pouring flammable liquid over them to make flaming bullets, as melee combat is clunky and suffers from annoying A.I. which runs away as soon as you set fire any objects to kill them with. Using fire limits the weapons you can use, making it repetitive too.
There are two perspectives in Alone in the Dark-third and first person view. Third person view is great when you are simply exploring Central Park or are using a melee weapon to do things like break down doors. First-person is convenient for closing your eyes, using guns and using Spray cans and your lighter to set people alight. Sadly, both views suffer from issues. The third-person perspective suffers from tank-like movement, which is a hassle in sections which require precision. Also, there is little camera movement which means that you may not see enemies about to strike you in the back. The first-person perspective suffers from annoying movement and a lack of aiming, as you can't aim particularly high. You're going to have to constantly switch between both perspectives, which feel jarring and stupid.
Oh, and don't get me started on the absolutely dreadful driving sections in AitD. They are probably the worse driving sections in an adventure game of all time. If you thought the handling in Need for Speed: Carbon was bad, wait until you see this. You car will constantly skid and slide at the smallest jolt of the left analog stick, and pushing it harder could result in an accident. The problem is that the major driving sections usually require you to drive quickly, for example, in the first one you must keep driving otherwise you'll be attacked by a giant demon controlling the ground. But sadly, even the smallest curve will probably cause you to go flying into the air, which is disappointing. Yet, on a couple of occasions when I needed to go airborne over a ditch, usually the car didn't make it. Damage also isn't realistic, as hard crashes can do little damage yet smaller crashes do lots. These are the worst sections in the game.
One of the few gameplay elements that succeed are the puzzles. There are some slight puzzles elements like finding something to burn the enemy with, but those aren't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the hardcore puzzles reminiscent of the previous games on the PC. Thankfully, the key collecting is limited this time around. Well, actually, there is none as now you can simply burn or smash doors down. Some of the puzzles are incredibly inventive, like discovering how to avoid this evil gloop that is afraid of the light, or figuring out how to burn an object blocking a laser to open the door. Sometimes, however, what to do is obvious but how to do it isn't. Then again, most of these puzzles can be figured out by using your head, as a lot of the puzzles are sort of real-life where solving them in real-life is the same.
Sadly, AitD leaves you with a bad impression. The game boosts its length a couple of hours by requiring you to earn 'spectral vision points'. To earn these, you must search Central Park for these 'roots of evil', burn them and then go looking for more. It's incredibly dull and monotonous, and you are required to kill a good 75% of them to fully complete the game, as to get past barriers near the end you need a certain amount of spectral vision. Thank god for the ability to skip those sequences. It's a shame AitD failed to add gameplay time in a much better way, as this is the point where I questioned whether I wanted to keep playing AitD. Were it not for the impressive puzzles and action sequences, I probably would have just given up on backtracking.
Alone in the Dark is rated 15+ for strong violence and language. This is spot on, as you constantly hear Edward dropping F bombs, and the game can be violent at times. One specific scene near the end sees someone getting shot in the head, and their head actually was cut open as the bullet went through there head. Younger players may struggle with the puzzles, but everything else is easy. Still, due to the content, nobody under the age of 13 should play AitD.
Graphically, AitD would have been stunning if not for the glitches in the game. Let's get that out of the way first. Characters sometimes animate sluggishly or just stand still like lemons, there are plenty of clipping issues as well as texture pop-in and other flaws. So what makes AitD beautiful despite these issues? The fire effects are among the best in the business, seeping through whatever you set alight and causing them to turn into charcoal. The environments are beautifully detailed and feature stunning lighting which adds to atmosphere. Character models, as badly as they animate, do look pretty nice especially the Humanz as they chase after you with giant fissures in their faces-it's a scary sight. Textures look great when they pop-in, and it definitely has a cool stylized look. The frame rate is smooth 80% of the time, where there are some moments of hideous slowdown.
The sound design is great too. Despite the B-movie acting and script, there is a certain charm to it. It's like watching a movie from the 80s, with some witty one-liners and charming moments. Some things are better than others, but it still works. The rest of the sound is great. The beautiful score adds tension, intensity and excitement. The score by Olivier Deriviere is definitely the high point of AitD unless you count the fire in the game. The effects are your standard clunks and smashes, though they do sound pretty realistic. As you shoot through glass, burn stuff and hear the groans of the Humanz you'll definitely get a sense of immersion. That said, there are a couple of glitch sound effects here and there, and some get repetitive too. The one major criticism I have with the game's sound is the constant use of swearing. I'll admit-if I'm stuck in a near destroyed Central Park where there are mutants around me I would swear, but Eden took it too far. Edward constantly swears, and his buddy Sarah isn't much better. They sound more Prepubescent than panicked.
-(The Replay Value)-
Despite how annoying the controls are, where Alone in the Dark can be criticized most is in the games value for money. The game only features the single player, which will only take around 8 hours to finish. Plus, considering you can skip sequences, that could be even less. The game doesn't encourage replay value, and the achievements are dreadful. You can earn them all by simply playing the game without skipping a sequence, though that is easier said than done. And you probably won't be tempted to burn the 'roots of evil' either. Overall, it isn't worth half price, let alone full price.
-(The Ending Comments)-
Alone in the Dark isn't mediocre, but it is one of 2008's most disappointing games. All the hype before the release, the amazing trailers, and the praiseworthy previews-this game made you so excited and keeps you excited at first. It makes a great first impression thanks to how immersive it is on the first sequence of the game. Some exciting sequences through the game can't stop you from being disappointed in Alone in the Dark. The graphics may be impressive, there are many great ideas on show here and the soundtrack is incredible, but thanks to clunky controls, poor execution, mediocre value and a disappointing story, this horror game feels stale. The DVD style presentation is impressive, and you should probably treat this like a DVD rental-just skip to the good bits...
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Atari and developed by Eden Games.
This was released on June 20th, 2008 and is also on PC, PS2 and Wii, PS3 version coming later this year.
This is available from Amazon for £34.98 (standard or special edition)
You play as Edward, a drunken man with an attitude and of course you've lost your memory. You awake in Manhattan, confused and dazed, but when the building you're in begins to crumble and the dead become undead, you're lack of memory is quickly put aside. From there the game is a quest for the truth, not only to discover what evil inhabits the city but for Edwards's identity.
The overall story is intriguing and the dark settings of the city is beautiful to watch, especially once you reach Central park.
Alone in the dark is a creepy game with moments of gore and areas of serious mystery throughout. The haunting story in this game is unlike any other I've played, it mashes the action and adventure genre together seamlessly. The innovative genre blending gameplay works extremely well.
The cut scenes are nicely written and maintain the high tension. The game is split into chapters, just like if you were watching a DVD. So if you get stuck at any point you can just skip to the next chapter, although you may miss a major plot development. Just don't be tempted to skip to the end, you'll miss so much.
The gameplay is certainly ambitious everything that you could want has been thought of. For instance if you don't like the 3rd person feel you can switch to 1st person at any time. The inventory in Alone is perfect; items can be combined to turn harmless objects into weapons.
This game definitely not for kids, the cut scenes are full of horror and the F word is frequently used. Most o the enemies are zombies, but you will have to kill some supernatural creatures.
Walking around in this game is this games only drawback, all movement is done with one analogue stick. After a while the control becomes very frustrating!
But even with impressive visuals and scripted mayhem, the soundtrack is by far the best thing in this game. It's magnificent and adds so much to the environment. If you're not sure about buying this game I would definitely recommend renting it and just skipping to the best bits.