Developer: Eden Studios
Release Date: 6/23/2008
Also Available On
The Good: Amazing visuals, story, neat gameplay ideas, very creepy
The Bad: Bad physics, stiff sluggish controls, bad combat, driving shouldn’t be annoying, some puzzles are badly set up
I was so excited for Alone in the Dark for such a long time that I never thought it would be an (almost) bad game. I don’t want to rag on this game since the developers did try really hard, so as a courtesy I’m going to start with the positives. The first thing you’ll notice are the visuals; they are amazing. The graphics have high res textures, amazing lighting effects, creepy fog, and it’s all very dark and surreal. You’ll be playing as John Carnby who is trying to find out the secrets of Central Park while trying to stop Lucifer from taking over the world through “The Path of Light”.
In the beginning of the game, everything is very cinematic and pretty fun. The game walks you through the “mixing system” where you look in your jacket and mix tons of things together at your will. If you want a Molotov cocktail stick a handkerchief in a glass or plastic bottle, light it with a lighter and BOOM! Hey, you want it to stick to solve a puzzle? Add some sticky tape and you’re good to go. Need to light your way through a dark tunnel but need it landed in one precise area without it bouncing? Add some tape to that, or you just take an explosive bottle and shoot it in mid-air…don’t worry John keeps track of the bottle in slow motion it’s just your job to time the shot.
There are also environmental weapons such as setting 4x4s on fire and lighting enemies up with them, use them to light your path, take fire extinguishers to put out the fire, or you can use them as battering rams to take down doors. While the combination system is really fun it does have its limits, but we’ll get to the down sides later. The next thing you’ll come across will be the combat and there are more downs than ups to this. The one good part is you can use anything at your disposal. While you can only kill the demons (they are pretty damn creepy) with fire there are multiple ways to do this. Have a health spray, or any type or aerosol? Use your lighter for a mini flamethrower.
Another great aspect of the game is everything is seen visually. There are no meters or bars anywhere, so your health is indicated by wounds on John’s body. Bleed too much and you get a timer to find some bandages fast. There are also car scenes, and Central Park is kind of a much Grand Theft Auto type map where you can get in and out of random cars to kill “evil roots” which are a huge pain in you know what to find, but more on that later. What’s really cool is that if there are no keys you can hotwire the car to start it by matching colored wires, so this gives the game a more of an “I gotta hurry and get the hell out of here” type feeling. While these are the main elements of the game there are just way too many down sides.
The physics in the game are busted so everything is either really floaty, really heavy, or just plain wonky looking. Nothing really moves around right in the game and this really sucks since a lot of the game is built around physics. When it comes to combat the game just wants to hate you. While there are very little supplies in the game, to begin with, it’s so hard to kill 8 demons when you only have one spray can. While you can only kill with fire is really dumb since you have a gun, but it won’t kill them unless you pour gasoline on the bullets. I found this really stupid and when you try to kill the evil roots near the end of the game you will go mad trying to use the little supplies you have for the root, yet trying to fend off the demons.
The controls are just really wonky and don’t really work. In the third person, you can only move with the left stick and you swing things around with the right, but the movement is just really limited. This really sucks when an enemy is behind you and you have to fiddle with the left stick to get John to turn around. The driving is also another pain since the physics really suck. You’ll be stuck on the slightest slope or little rock and your car will go flying. Demons can come rip you or of your car…or rip the car off you and it’s really hard to shake them off. Thanks to the crappy physics you just slightly bump something they go flying off yet they can jump 400 feet.
The controls just feel stiff and sluggish and they aren’t very responsive sometimes, so this makes everything overall harder than it should be. At least the last positive is the voice acting is good, the story is great, and the DVD type skips feature really helps. I can’t recommend this game unless you feel like struggling through this annoying game. It’s worth playing for the visuals, story, and great gameplay ideas, but you’ll struggle more than smile.