by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
Turn On The Lights
I'd always maintained hope that perhaps the Alone In The Dark series would return to its former horror glory. I didn't think anything worse could happen to the franchise than Uwe Boll making a movie. Well, something worse did happen and I had the misfortune of having the little bit of hope I had left for the franchise torn apart and strewn across bland environments, with the only horror to speak of being the fact that this game actually exists.
Lorwich: Population 1-4
One of the things I've always loved about Alone in the Dark is the strong narrative, the gripping stories that played out. Whether I was in a moment of fear or not, every other Alone in the Dark title has had a strong narrative to push the player forward. Well, that doesn't happen here in the slightest. You start the game, you pick one of four generic classes which play almost exactly the same as each other, with the exception of the Witch who at least felt somewhat unique with her overpowered lightning ability.
With no real introduction to any of these characters, who might as well be nameless, each level begins with a poorly written introduction and then... that's about it. At least, that's about all you'll ever see. Anything that actually has a narrative in the level, simply scrolls as text in the bottom left of the screen so obscurely you're likely to never notice. Considering how poor it is, you probably wouldn't care anyway. I certainly didn't. I know what you're thinking. Perhaps what it lacks in class creativity and writing it makes up for in terms of a fun co-op experience, maybe even some scares?
I did say in the opening that I went in expecting scares. I also made it very blatant that there were none to be had. So now, instead of telling you about how great it is to have a new Alone In The Dark title, I get to explain why it's such a horrible game. We'll start with the obvious; the setting. A deserted mining town, while somewhat clichÚ, is a perfect breeding ground for anything related to haunts, ghouls, and the occult. With desolate buildings that creak at even a small burst of wind, and a feeling of isolation that makes you feel like you're being watched from elsewhere, how could it not? For all intents and purposes, it should be IMPOSSIBLE to mess up the atmosphere of that setting. The developers found a way.
I can't find a single positive thing to say about any of the levels. The layouts do not inspire fear, only frustration. Endless uneventful hallways under the disguise of an actual level, with no attempts to really hide what they are beyond that. This game is the worst offender of the hallway trudge that many games have become in recent years. At least with some variety in furnishings, it'd at least look like they wanted to make each turn unique but they simply didn't. What little furnishing there is, is the same few items over and over.
The enemies you'll be facing are laughable at best. While they might offer a slight challenge, it's mostly superficial in that they can't be damaged without being in a light source (but your flashlights don't count for some reason). So after you've gone down a long boring hallway, you get to run back to a light source and weaken them. The light and fire mechanic is not something new to the series, but this time I found it poorly executed. The enemy designs this time around though, are an all time low for the franchise. Demons from the realm of Bland, that must be their true origin. As low effort models hobble their way ranging in speeds of slow to an out of shape person running, there's not even a remote bit of fear to be had from them. An annoyance at most, dragging out the time in each level, it's just another bit of boredom offered up. They weren't enjoyable to fight, and they weren't enjoyable to look at, with the least amount of imagination possible put into them, all I could do was shake my head.
So, the burning question. How about co-op? Well, it went about as well as expected. Hardly anyone is playing this game (and I can see why) and the few matches I did get into was just the same experience but with a few aquaintances. That's the long and short of explaining the co-op experience. All these problems, and that's without going into detail about how this game looks like it belongs back in the early 2000's or how the audio is dull enough to put one to sleep. Seriously guys, what happened here?
Far Passed Done
By the time I was finished forcing myself to play enough of this, I was distraught. Alone in the Dark is dead, and now fans share the task of burying it away and trying to retain the good memories. Alone In The Dark: Illumination comes across as trying to be a Left 4 Dead 2 and Resident Evil 6 hybrid while doing absolutely nothing right, and favoring to do everything wrong. This game was so bad, that I find myself unlikely to give any future Alone in the Dark title the time of day.
Everything else about the game