Alone in the Dark 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.5
Graphics 8.8
Sound 8.7
Value 7.6
Distributor: Atari Australia
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
July 2008
Reviewer:
Josh Nelson

7.6


Alone in the Dark

donít play it alone!

The game that started the survival horror gaming genre and ignited the Resident Evil phenomena has returned to the 21st century with Alone in the Dark returning to the world of gaming.

With releases on both the PC and PS3, this will review will focus on the XBox 360 version and has the gamer playing as Edward Carnby who is caught between the "real" world and that of the world of the "supernatural" which will lead him on a journey that will not only uncover the "dark" secret of Central Park but change the world as he knows it.

To compound the situation, Carnby does not know who he is when he awakes and when he his armed captor is killed by a mysterious force, it's up to the gamer to ensure that our forgetful hero makes it to the end. That is where the game begins in this almost TV/DVD video game experience.

Features:

  • Central Park: one of the worldís most iconic and best loved urban landmarks, Central Park has been accurately reproduced using satellite data and thousands of photographs;

  • Captivating story: The story reveals the conspiracy behind Central Park and challenges beliefs on the afterlife, based on ideas and theories drawn from real-world spiritual philosophies;

  • Narrative Intensity: taking cues from blockbuster TV dramas, the story is told in a TV season-style narrative structure to deliver the maximum intensity throughout, keeping the player hooked;

  • Real world rules: revolutionary technology brings a new level of environmental interaction to the gameplay where anything you could do in real life, you can do in the game;

  • Immersion: the player is plunged into the heart of the action in real-time with full movement control, in-game inventory system, on-body damage and healing system, and physiological effects;

  • Photographic Rendering: Edenís proprietary Twilight technology and rendering engine create a lavishly detailed game world with highly realistic and advanced cinematographic effects including depth of field, camera focus, numerous light sources, moisture, reflections and High Dynamic Range effects.

The gameplay is also based on real-world conspiracies and spiritual philosophies that truly draws the viewer into this amazing universe of life versus death. In its essence, Alone if the Dark is survival horror adventure game that has the player embarking on a variety of missions and sub quests while fighting a hoard of strange enemies, both natural and supernatural.

The control system is well mapped on the XBox 360 controller, however is a little glitchy at times, especially when the action starts heating up and is at times unreliable, especially the inventory system. On a positive, the control system is innovative enough for the novice gamer who can start playing it immediately, however they will need to be patient. Although you can play the game in either a third person mode or a first person mode, it is easier to control Carnby in third person.

Generally, the player will be exploring vast and sometimes complex gaming environments in Alone in the Dark, which is quite enjoyable as you attempt to solve puzzles and the like. The game also contains a rather interesting inventory system that also allows you to combine items together and makes for some interesting and varied gameplay which will make you think.

Unlike the Resident Evil series where you cannot proceed through a locked door without a key, the developers make use of real-world scenarios that means if you have the "means" of opening the door with either a gun or sledgehammer, you can just do that.

There has been some criticisms with the game that if a level is too hard, you can actually skip that chapter, however this is due to the developers trying to make this game an almost "TV" like experience that has been brought to DVD. Mixed thoughts but actually quite innovative.

Another interesting aspect to the genre is that our hero can also drive various vehicles in the game and works quite well with both the game engine and the storyline. The title does seem reminiscent of I am Legend in some aspects as you battle a variety of foes, some possessed and some otherworldly. The combat system is quite straightforward and whether you're using a baseball bat or gun, both have their pros and cons.

Graphically, the title is pure eye candy on the XBox 360 with realistic gaming environments thanks to Edenís proprietary Twilight Technology that borders closely on the real-world and the gaming world. The characters are well animated and move with a human like grace and sometimes otherworldly grace as they interact with not only the environment but also with other characters.

At certain points in the game, the cinematography is quite outstanding and at other times it is like watching a TV series. With that said, there are some parts of the graphics engine which is a little buggy such as popups and slowdowns plus a sometimes truly annoying camera engine which does hamper the gameplay at times.

In conclusion, some of the harsh reviews of Alone in the Dark are a little unjustified as the developers have tried to think outside the box and they have succeeded in certain aspects. It would have been nice if some more quality testing was performed on the game as it does feel a little rush in terms of control, however persistence does pay off in Alone in the Dark and if you can bypass this, the game is quite enjoyable.






 
 



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