Published on June 23rd, 2021 | by Scott De Lacy
Green Hell Xbox One Review
Creepy Jar have created an intense psychological thriller, Green Hell is an open world survival simulation of the Amazon rainforest.
If you are thinking “Wholly crap, that looks incredible”, you would be correct.
This game has three modes of play; Survival, challenges and Story mode.
Survival mode – where you can try your hand at survival in an inhospitable rain-forest where the water, bugs, animals, and natives are all a threat. In this mode you really have to think strategically and use the environment to serve your survival.
Challenge mode – The challenge mode is an objective driven criteria based form of survival mode that requires the player to achieve the objectives before the clock runs out. Of course the game wont necessarily make all of these objectives easy. This play mode will help to hone the survival skills of the player, whether it be building structures, crafting tools and weapons, or surviving.
Story Mode – You play Dr Jake Higgins, a scientist and hapless victim of circumstance, thrust upon the dangers of the rain-forest, alone, scared, without anything but an empty backpack and a radio; He is totally unprepared, confused and cannot remember how he got into the circumstance he finds himself in. One thing is certain, he has to find his wife, Mia Higgins.
Each mode of play can be played with varying degrees of difficulty, one without enemy combatants and wild apex predators, and of course, you can test your metal against everything Green Hell can throw at you, very aptly this difficulty is called Green Hell.
Green Hell incorporates a high degree of realism, with animals and plants that exist in real life being present in the game. Techniques of survival are present including fire, cooking, safe and unsafe water, building shelters and making tools. Manage 3-5 days without water and you will be dead. Get bitten by insects, cut by a Piranha or poisoned by a snake, and you wont survive long without applying some jungle medicine.
The rain-forest gives and the rain-forest takes. Every hour rolls by quickly, nighttime navigation is near impossible until after midnight, where the moon is high in the sky and the light of the moon reflects off the water and parts of trees, of course you wont make out any fine detail or colour of any flower or plant that you are desperately searching for.
Water is everywhere, but rarely if ever safe to drink, but it wouldn’t be called a rain-forest without lots and lots and lots of rain, which you can drink if you can capture it.
Fire is essential to cook the meat of the hunt, but of course fires cant withstand the rain, they also attract unwanted attention in more difficult levels.
After a day of thirst, the likelihood of finding a coconut increases, likewise after a day or two of needing protein, the chance of finding a rock that can be used to fashion a blade may also increase.
The survival skills are not merely present, Higgins must learn and develop his proficiency in hunting, crafting, fishing, cooking and medicine. At low levels, an crafted axe may only last long enough to cut down two trees, whilst a day or two passes simply trying to find a rock. As the abilities increase, frustratingly rocks can then be found almost everywhere.
Eat something you shouldn’t have? Parasites! Sleep on the ground or fail to wash yourself after a day or two? And you will be dirty, eat with dirty hands, and you will have parasites.
You also need to maintain your sanity, fear can be a potent force and having to dig out a worm in your flesh with the bones of your last hunt, is enough to make most people twitch, just a little bit.
The rain-forest gives, and the rain-forest takes. But ultimately, the rain-forest will take care of you if you know how to listen to it.
The Amazonian rain-forest comes alive in Green Hell. Creepy Jar have mastered the perfect ratio of dense foliage, tree canopy and vegetation, with open areas, vivid textures and masterful waterways.
The rain-forest twists and turns and winds back on itself, more so at night where navigation is nearly impossible even with a torch.
The use of light, shadows and darkness is emotive and transforms the rain-forest, and transforms the gamers perception of reality, often suddenly and unexpectedly.
Creepy Jar’s attention to detail has paid off, and this is evident in an almost faultless sense of immersion within the game. Got leeches? You may see them wiggle on your arm as you swing an axe. See something move out of the corner of your eye? You may just notice a small nut fall from a tree.
Cinematically the story unfolds by transporting the gamer into a haunting other-worldly yet artistic and captivating world, that both belongs to the rain-forest and to the narrative of the story with perfect symmetry. Each cut scene contains vivid trance-state sequences that utilise still silhouette characters that still manage to call out, beckoning to the gamer to look at them, investigate and take in all of their rigid detail.
There are a few moments where the lighting can suddenly change, incorrectly affecting textures depending on the point of view, but this ‘bug’ actually aided some night work in the game so let’s pretend that this didn’t exist!
The XBOX One S seems to struggle with Green Hell, although everything renders perfectly, there are times where walking through the rain-forest, distant objects suddenly render ahead of the field of view, simply because of the level of detail the XBOX must produce. It isn’t a big deal, but it is an indicator that Green Hell would almost certainty look and perform better on an XBOX One X or PC.
As night falls, the rain-forest becomes quiet, you could hear a pin drop, or in most case the sound of a rain drop hitting the banana leaf next to you, suddenly increasing in quantity and pace, then eventually back to the sound of silence again.
Hearing the breath of Higgins followed by a comment, “so tired, I need to rest”, you then hear a squawk from an unknown animal and some leaves rustle, breaking the deafening silence only a few meters away.
The crackling of the flames of the fire, every crack of the coconuts shell, trees, or thrown object is expertly captured and reproduced by Creepy Jar. Every sound that is in the game is perfectly immersive and natural.
The soundtrack is also perfectly suited, especially where moments in the game offer a big reveal or a bit of a hunting sequence. Emotionally uplifting or intensifying the situation at the time, the soundtrack compliments the gameplay entirely.
Green Hell ticks every box, offering an incredibly captivating and addictive gameplay style in both story mode and survival and challenge modes.
As a story, the game beckons you to keep playing, to learn what happened to Mia, as Jake Higgins desperation translates to the player in even proportions.
The ability to play with friends in multiplayer and attune your survival skills with varying degrees of difficulty with the inclusion active enemies, extend the playability of this game beyond a first pass play-through.
With a positive, neutral and negative ending to the story, several play-throughs is possible with fresh perspectives each time.
This is one of those rare games that presents a truly amazing story in such a fresh context. Green Hell is an outstanding game and worth of a score of 7 out of 5!
Check out Green Hell’s website for more information about this psychological thriller.
Summary: Green Hell is off the charts; possibly the best survival simulator ever made, with the best marriage of an incredible story and game play style.