I want to preface this entry saying, my least favorite Movie/TV genre is horror. I do not like anything horror related because for me it falls into 2 categories. Either it’s not scary and its just a poorly made action movie or it disturbs me on a psychological level and then I’m not able to sleep at night. This game was the latter for me.
This game made me more afraid than I have ever been in my entire life. It put me on edge almost immediately and I was on edge for a vast majority of this game. Its the perfect mixture of jump scares, psychological torment and low points that make are just long enough to make it so you start to feel safe. Once you start feeling just a little comfortable, bam! The game throws a curve ball.
The game starts out with a perfect and classic horror trope. Its just enough to get you hooked and make you want to see a little bit more of the game. The game starts out with your wife (Mia) sending you a video message saying, how she loves you and she can’t wait to come home from her babysitting trip. Then the game cuts to another video that has her apologizing for lying and then her telling you to stay away. Then the game cuts again to a car and it’s you (the main character) driving and you’re on the phone with some other man. The Ethan (the main character) is talking about how Mia (your wife) just reached out and wants you to come get her. So now you’re on your way to someplace in Louisiana that is in the middle of nowhere. So within the first 2-3 minutes of the game, you’re wife wants to see you, doesn’t to see you and then wants to see you. Right off the bat, what is happening?
You end up finding your wife fairly quickly but she’s not overly happy to see you which just adds to the confusion. This is when the game really starts to take the first step to being creepy and disturbing. Your wife is possessed and every other moment she switches from wanting to kill you to loving you. So right after that you’re hit over the head, knocked out and then you wake up at a dinner table with the Baker family. Who are the main antagonists in the game?
I’m not going to go into any more specific detail than that. That’s all within probably the first half hour of the game so I don’t feel like I’m spoiling too much. The rest of the game, you have the simple goal of getting Mia and yourself out of that house. You do this by solving puzzles, avoiding the Baker family as best you can and going through these pointless boss battles. The boss battles are probably my biggest complaint about the game, you can’t kill the Baker family so they’re kind of pointless. Outside of the boss battles and just in the game itself, it’s very effective because you always feel weak against them.
What made this game so scary for me is there is always the thought that something could pop out at any point. They set the tone of this game early on very well because of the tone of the music. At all times it made me feel uneasy and I never felt safe. Unless I was in a specific room which was a “safe” room where you could save your game file, it was peaceful music and no one in the baker family could enter that room. That room was my decompression room, anytime I started to panic and get nervous I would make a “B-Line” straight to one of those rooms which are scattered all across the map.
The game itself is really split into 7 areas. There is a shack where the initially starts, the main house (where you wake up), an area called the “old house,” a “game area,” a boathouse, a wrecked ship and then a swampy salt mine. Probably 2/3rd’s of the game are in the old house and main house which is the scariest part of the game. The back third is really more of an action/third person shooter that’s a little creepy. What I also liked about the back third was the wrecked ship was the part of the game where almost everything gets answered. So the narrative part of the game had a been building up and presenting all of these questions that are revealed during that part.
The game ends with a final boss that isn’t too difficult. If you like horror films and TV shows then this is a must play. There is something about a video game where you’re in control that really ramps up the horror. The fact that the game is in first person rather than third also makes it that much more stressful. This may sound odd but I am very proud of myself for finishing this game. It was very hard for me because it is so scary and so well done. I don’t think I will ever play another horror game but I’m happy I experienced this and powered through.