Alone In The Dark

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Alone In The Dark (Xbox Series X) – Review

Derceto Manor is back with a full reimagination of the 90’s cult classic horror game ‘Alone in the Dark’, set in the 1920’s of Southern America. Pieces Interactive have brought this classic back for a new generation as a survival horror experience and for a small development team they have done a fantastic job.

Young Emily Hartwood, who is played by Jodie Comer, has hired the likes of Private Detective Edward Carnby, played by actor David Harbour, to go with her to ‘Derceto Manor’ to help find her uncle, Jeremy Hartwood. Sent a disturbing letter by him, she drops everything to find out what is going on at Derceto Manor, located off the grid in the depths of the Bayou. Once you have arrived at the manor you will get to decide if you want to embark on the mystery playing as Emily or Edward. The stories are more or less the same but there are some changes to a few areas and the residents of the manor will speak differently to Emily and Edward so I would recommend two playthroughs to get the full experience of this narrative.

The more you adventure into decrepit Derceto Manor the more you learn about its history and the ongoing events there. The horrifyingly menacing manor as soon as you start adventuring acts like a classic haunted house where there is always more than meets the eye. You’d check a room from top to bottom and then do a couple of other things and come back and there would be things moved or rooms looking super different. I love the exploration aspect, needing to check every little nook and cranny or the challenging puzzles you needed to figure out which took me back to my inventory more times than I would like to admit to re-read things that I might have glanced over.

There are two main things you pick up on your exploration and that is health and ammo for your weapons to take out those enemies. I was surprised at how well the combat system in this title worked. You have the option of three weapons; a revolver, a shotgun and a Tommy Gun. As you would expect firearms shoot and do mass damage but there were moments when I enjoyed picking up a shovel or broken piece of timber start swinging to the hills at the hordes of enemies which sometimes felt a little more rewarding.

The developers have added another cool little mini-game that can unlock some cool in-game features like different endings to the game. The special items are called ‘Lagniappes’ which translates to small gifts. They’re non-essential but once you find three of them you complete a set that can be looked at anytime in the pause menu. Some of the sets can only be unlocked by playing as both Carnby and Emily so it would require you to play a second or third time to unlock all of the Lagniappes.

There were a couple of times the controls glitched out and would not allow me to do anything which resulted in me needing to load back to the most recent save point but apart from that the controls were super basic and easy to master which is great. These are known issues though and will be patched out eventually, I would imagine. The controls were super easy to get used to and like 99% of games like this there is not much difference with your standard movement controls. You use the D-Pad lots with switching weapons to get your health up. The controls were super responsive which was great for those little sections where you needed to get out of there and fast.

I would have loved to have seen a little more attention to detail put into a couple of the textures, which sometimes felt flat and lifeless compared to other areas of the environments. A couple of the cutscenes felt like they had been rushed a little too and pushed into awkward moments in the narrative. The shading and lighting though looked polished and added another level of thrill to the game when you were exploring. There were times when the dark was a little overwhelming, but light elements were available to contrast this.

The audio in horror games plays a huge part from the dialogue coming from characters down to the noises you hear. You need to make sure you are listening closely because that is when something is bound to creep up on you from the roams at the end of hallways. The soundtrack makes no exception with retro-style music you hear in the manor, radio static cutting in and out to the thumping of your heart as you are sneaking past enemies. The entire time it keeps you on your toes. The voice acting is also top-tier quality and you could hear the emotion in the actor’s voices which seemed to emotionally drive the story along. As I mentioned before, this is a title where you must listen closely to everything.

The developers did a fantastic job with this reimagination of ‘Alone in the Dark’. It was the perfect mixture of puzzles, mystery and a great storyline to keep you enthralled in the title for hours. If you love a great eerie story where you need to think outside of the box then this is a perfect skin-crawling experience for you.

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The Good

  • Amazing storyline
  • Great puzzles
  • Need to watch your every move
  • Skill to master controls
  • Atmospheric
  • Great voice acting

The Bad

  • Slight controls bugging out
  • Wanted more chapters
9
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10

Written by: Hayden Nelson

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