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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Alone in the Dark (2008)


You wake up after having been drugged, with no memory of who you are.  Soon afterwards, people start dying, and you are in a race against a dark organization to control the release of demons of Hell.  Who are you- and what is your connection to the evil that is razing New York?

This is going to be a very short review for "Alone in the Dark".  Why?  Because, to be honest, I wound up violating one of my rules for reviewing.  I became so frustrated with the game that I stopped playing.

It didn't take me all that long either, actually.

In fact, I didn't even get out of the building I woke up in at the beginning of the game.

Why?

It wasn't the story.  The premise was great: solve the mystery of who you are, and stop Hell from coming to Earth.  I'm down with that.

It wasn't the graphics.  They are phenomenal- especially the fire.  The way it looks, and the physics of how it interacts with the environment, etc was really good.  The details in side the halls, elevator shaft, and rooms that I did see where really good too.  While the NPC's could've been a bit more detailed, they were decent enough.

It wasn't even the music or sound effects.  I liked them.  The crackling of the fire, the footsteps, and the music really helped to set a good mood, setting, and tone to the game.

No, I didn't stop playing because of any of those things.

I stopped because the game mechanics were a bloody mess.  The manual dedicates FOUR pages to the controls. You had your Basic Controls (Hands-Free), Basic Controls (First Person View), Inventory, Focus on Item, Using a Rope, Gun Use, Vehicle, Bottle/Throwable Object in Hand, Handling Objects, and Gas Bottle/Extinguisher.  Seriously, does a game REALLY need that sets of controls?  Trying to remember what control set I needed led to me dying several times (15 times to be exact) in one spot.

Also, the game has a First Person option- but kept kicking me out of it into Third Person... which is harder to move around in.  This tendency led the game to kill me about ten MORE times in another spot... each death occurring pretty much right after I spawned.  I'd hit First Person, get kicked into Third Person, die.

If the developers had kept the game mechanics simple, and allowed me to stay in First Person when I selected that option, I probably would've enjoyed myself more.  As it is, I will never put this game into my X-Box again.  It's getting a big "Ugly" from me.

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