HANDS ON: ALONE IN THE DARK ILLUMINATION BETA

Alone In The Dark is known to be the Father of survival horror games, with the first instalment dating all the way back to 1992 where you play as a detective investigating a haunted mansion. The most interesting aspect about the game is that Alone on the Dark was awarded the title of ‘First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game‘ in the Guinness Book of World Records. This game actually set the tone for future survival horror games including Resident Evil and Silent Hill which is a pretty big deal in my eyes.

Alone in the Dark Illumination continues on the series and the story goes that a Darkness has befallen the mining town of Lorwich, and you are tasked with investigating what this darkness is. There are 4 playable characters available to choose from; The Hunter, The Witch, The Priest and The Engineer, all of which have specific skills that can be used to fight the darkness and all are required to harness the power of illumination. One of the really interesting things I want to discuss before I move on into the gameplay is the writing of the game. I am really intrigued to see how the writing is going to play out as the Alone in the Dark story is heavily influenced by H.P Lovecraft, and that alone should make anybody weak at the knees with anticipation. I am excited to see more of the story and how they introduce the characters into the universe

AITD 1

At the start of the beta, I chose to play as the Hunter as I was unable to pick any other class, which I thought was good in forcing me to unlock the other classes as a reward for progression and I hope they keep this feature in. I first decided to leave the train which I entered Lorwich in and move off to investigate the Train station.

The door was locked and so I looked for another way in. This is where I discovered one of the most interesting things about this game: the dynamic map. I entered Lorwich through an open gate which lead me to a warehouse with some abandoned trains and there I encountered the first enemies of the game. This is where I would usually comment on the combat but long story short, they slaughtered me very quickly!

I feel that the dynamic map in Alone in the Dark is a very interesting idea. Once I died I went back to the Train which I started from and I tried the train station again, but this time the door was open. I then went to have a look at the gate I had previously used and it was closed. After a few more deaths I noticed that the way into the level had changed every time I started.

AITD 3

The more astute people among you will know this as procedurally generated and it is becoming more common in today’s games, which I think is great. This makes the game a challenge every time and also means that you have to change your play style and switch up tactics depending on which area you came into the game. The objectives of the game were something along the line of “Go here, pick this up. Go here, put this down” and so on, but the fact that I didn’t know how I was getting “here”, having to change the way I went “Here”, made the game a lot more enjoyable.

The enemies in the beta were relentless! On my first encounter I didn’t know how to harness the power of illumination and so as I previously stated they absolutely slaughtered me. Now I hear you asking me “What is the power or illumination?” and the answer for me was quite simple: Light. What I didn’t realise is that you can turn lights on in the game, start fires to light up areas and this is the only time where you can actually hurt enemies, they are slowed and will glow yellow and when this happens let rip with the AK47 and annihilate them.

AITD 2

The enemies themselves are pretty indescribable. If you just think of evil and darkness you’re probably on the right lines but one of the most frustrating things about the game when I played it was the fact that there was never an end to the enemies. This was incredibly annoying when playing solo but I can totally see the advantage to never ending enemies when you have 2-4 people playing at one time because then the action is constant and you must use some better tactics to be successful in the game. So the combat in the game ranges from Ranged combat with firearms to magic spells, I only experienced the firearms and melee attack of the Hunter and the power to turn lights on at the switch. This was a great starter experience to the combat in the game.

As a beta, I really enjoyed the game. It made me very excited to see the final product and I eagerly anticipate doing a full review on the game when it is released. The story for me is the most exciting aspect of the game and I cannot wait to see what the premier survival horror game series has to offer. At the moment you can Pre-Purchase Alone in the Dark on Steam for £22.99 or $29.99. The game is due to be released in Early 2015 and I must say is one the I am greatly looking forward to and will be a welcome addition to my Steam library.

+ Great gameplay

+ Good use of procedural generation

+ Challenging enemies

– Very difficult playing solo

– Camera angle can sometimes be a hinderance

 

CHRIS WALLACE 

 

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