I never read video game reviews before playing a game. Since I look at every game I play as a potential title to be reviewed, I attempt to go in as cleanly as possible. No previews, no reviews, no interviews. This leads to an awful lot of surprises, split fifty/fifty nasty and pleasant. Much as I try to be impartial, my opinions can be swayed just as easily as anyone else's by expectation, so I try to avoid information about upcoming games as much as possible. My friends don't follow this same embargo, and I happened to be talking to one of them on the day Alone in the Dark was released. I've been a fan of the series ever since that Armadillo turned 3D and the frog jumped out of the way of Edward Carnby's approaching roadster, and my friend knew I was looking forward to playing the new game. "Dan," he warned me, "it got like a fifty-something on Metacritic. Everybody seems to hate it." He was nice enough to not elaborate on the reviews, but the impression was already made—in a review climate where anything under 80 means "bad," a 50 average means that a game resides well in the "dire" territory.
It's safe to say that my experience with the game was significantly different than everyone else's. While this isn't exactly a new feeling for me, I will admit that finding a game considerably better than everyone else did is a refreshing change. Still, knowing just how widely despised the game was kept shoehorning itself in at the edge of my consciousness, as I played I wondered what other people had seen that I hadn't. After spending the first half hour getting used to the slightly odd controls, I found a game with a masterful sense of design, one that understood just how important setpieces are to creating a thrilling experience, and offered some of the best combat I've ever seen in a survival horror title. As I moved through the game, I kept expecting it to get bad, kept wondering when I was going to hit the part that soured everyone on the experience. Then, finally, it never happened. I reached endgame every bit as impressed with Alone in the Dark as I had been when I first started playing, and seriously considering naming it my game of the year.
Wondering if I had played an entirely different game than every other critic out there, I chose the review that had the absolute worst things to say about the game, Ryan Geddes' 3.5/10 review for IGN.com, and I was shocked. This is IGN, pioneers of the 6-9.999 scoring system. 3.5 means they hated the game. And they did. But not in a sane way. When the review wasn't nitpicky beyond anything I've experienced, it was unbelievably petty. When the reviewer wasn't being unfairly disinterested, he was flat-out wrong. So I decided to take the reader, point-by-point, through why its author was not just wrong, but unprofessional. How unprofessional? I suspect he played very little of the actual game.
Right at the top of the review he announces that it's "Only nominally connected to its genre-spanning predecessors". Given that the first three games were set in the '20s, this would seem to be a logical assumption, if a fairly lengthy cutscene in the middle hadn't referred to specific characters and events from the first two games, and reveal that the main character, Edward Carnby is, despite his appearance, over a hundred years old. This is followed up by the choice announcement that the story is a tired retread because it features "yet another amnesiac fighting demons and carrying around a spooky stone." Geddes, could you name three other games with that premise? If not, don't single it out as especially unoriginal.
Will Alone in the Dark's story be winning any awards? Dear Lord, no. It is, however, perfectly workmanlike. The idea that Central Park is built on top of a giant prison designed to contain an impossibly great evil is kind of an interesting one, more than worth constructing a story around. Is it as deep and multi-tiered as a Silent Hill story? No, but on the other hand, it has the advantage of being coherent in a single playthrough, which is something Silent Hill has yet to manage. It's also far more interesting and ambitious than anything a main-series Resident Evil title has ever attempted.
Geddes goes on to compliment the game's fire effects, and I have to agree with him on that one. The game's central mechanic is all about flammability. The player will constantly be faced with burning items in the environment, and invited to use that fire to battle enemies, clear pathways, or solve environmental puzzles. Fire is the game's greatest technical triumph, as the developers have managed to simulate the physics of spreading flame to a great degree of realism. It does not, however, reach the point where they "behave so realistically that you forget they're an illusion." Perhaps it's just the monitor I'm using, but I never actually thought it was on fire. Maybe Geddes was just using the kind of overblown hyperbole that either reveals the writer to be a moron, or assumes that the reader is.
After finally getting something right, Geddes goes off the rails immediately by complaining that fire is the only way to kill enemies, dismissing the gun (of which he incorrectly states there is only one type) and bludgeoning tools entirely. This isn't an entirely accurate description of the situation. The zombies that plague Carnby for the majority of the game can easily be killed with bullets, explosions, or simple clubbing with a sledgehammer. The drawback is that they will come back from the dead unless incinerated. If this mechanic seems at all familiar, it's because it was first featured in the GameCube Resident Evil remake. While it proved a tedious chore in that game, here I found it incredibly fun, because my burning options were always so varied. Corpses can be dragged to fires and thrown in, torched with a spray can flamethrower, or, my personal favorite, doused with gasoline and lit on fire. I've had few more satisfying visceral experiences in recent gaming memory then beating three zombies down with a sledgehammer, unscrewing the cap from a bottle of vodka, pouring a trail linking the three of them, then using a lighter to ignite it. Watching the fire race from body-to-body causing them to flash and explode is the most video game fun I've had in a long while.
Geddes goes on to complain that the whole incineration thing is massively overcomplicated because: "Most of the time, you'll find the access to explosive items severely limited, which means the most effective and consistent way to kill monsters in Alone in the Dark is to touch them with burning chairs. Yawn." Once again I'm going to have to posit the theory that Geddes didn't actually play the game. At first I had no idea what he was talking about—there's barely a single flat horizontal surface in the entire game that doesn't have a couple of bottles of gasoline lying on it. Then I did a little experimenting, and figured out that he almost had a legitimate grievance. This one is actually kind of the developers' fault. It seems that, in a bid to make the game more accessible, the developers decided to break the game into chapters like a DVD, and allow the player to skip forward or backwards at their leisure. Find an area too difficult? Just jump ahead and a television-style "previously on..." clip package will fill in the gaps in the plot. The one drawback is that when a player jumps ahead, their inventories will be reset to just a gun, flashlight, lighter, and some extra ammo. For most players this won't be a problem, since very little of the game is hard enough to warrant skipping, but for a derelict reviewer I see where the difficulty might lie, since in a few of the areas the player is asked to walk up to fifty virtual feet before they start finding explosive bottles and cans.
Then it's on to the inventory system, which Geddes believes is too cumbersome and unintuitive, since molotov cocktails have to be assembled by selecting various items from the inside of Carnby's jacket in a specific order, all "in real-time" while monsters are attacking. Like most of Geddes' complaints, this one is based in his own lack of interest in actually playing the game. Yes, items have to be assembled in a specific order. Restrictive? Sure, but it follows a simple rule that's easy to learn: The first item you select is the thing you want to use, the second is the item you want to use it on. All of the game's constructions are based on imagining this simple principle extended to real-world items. Think about this logically—when one makes a molotov cocktail, is the rag being used on the bottle, or is the bottle being used on the rag?
All of these inventory complaints are being made in the context of how awkward it is to go into Edward's jacket and build makeshift weapons in the heat of combat. And it is. Luckily the game never once asks the player to do that. In yet another key element that Geddes seems to have missed, every conceivable combination of items in the game needs to be built only a single time. The first time the player builds a molotov cocktail all they have to do is assign it to one of their four quick-use slots. Thereafter, for the rest of the game, any time the player presses that quick-use button, Edward pulls the desired item out of his jacket, instantly assembled. It's even a fairly intelligent system, and will prefer the components originally used in the construction, but make substitutions seamlessly if they're not available. If the recipe calls for a plastic bottle, but only glass ones are available, it won't prevent the player from having a molotov in their hand, they'll just find themselves carrying one that explodes on impact, rather than exploding after the wick burns down. It's an elegant system that's utterly simple to use, with a single drawback: the player needed to either read the manual or play through the game in linear order, where one of the tutorials explained how to use it.
In my experience, the game's inventory system has a single drawback: Not enough carrying space. Carnby's jacket has room for four large items (sprays and bottles) and five utility items (tape, fuses, ammo). The large item storage is completely sufficient—the player will likely never need more than four explosives to get through a combat encounter, and if they do, there are always more lying around. The problem is with the utility slots. At the beginning it seems like five spaces will be plenty, but over the course of the game Carnby starts to be weighed down with undroppables like a lighter or plot related key item. Add a knife, which proves useful in a number of situations, and suddenly the player is in a position of, at the game's halfway point, having only two utility spaces, which just isn't sufficient. There's no reason the lighter and plot item couldn't be in a separate, dedicated part of the inventory, the way his gun and lighter are. For a game that prides itself on realistic inventory management, the idea that Carnby can't slide his lighter into his jeans is a bit of a stretch.
Then Geddes goes for a really weird complaint, about Carnby's perceived inadequacies in the door-knocking-down department. He's confused about why Carnby can knock some downs down, but others, he can't. Again, extremely simple rules are established for this: Wooden doors can be knocked down, metal doors have to be blown up. Actually, now that I write it down, it looks so obvious that it doesn't even seem like something the game had to spell out. Geddes claims that even that system is inconsistent, and he offers an anecdote about how a bottle he stuck to a door wouldn't blow it open, but one that he threw and shot would. I know the exact door he's talking about, since there's only a single door in the entire sewer area. I'd never encountered this problem because, in the room directly before the door, there's a great big propane tank that serves no other purpose than to be placed in front of the door and blown up dramatically. I decided to see if Geddes had a point, so I went back to the sewer and tried his two methods of taking down the door. Both worked without a hitch. I'm not calling Geddes a liar—he may very well have found a glitch, but believe me when I say glitches aren't a big problem. In my two trips through the game, I encountered only one, and it involved a car crash.
Then Geddes' on to complaints about the game's combat system, a paragraph which, structurally, really feel like it belonged back on the first page, when he was complaining about the fact that all the combat had to be fire-related (an assertion which, if you've been reading carefully, you will remember was wrong). He's annoyed about the fact that the third-person controls move around "like a tank"(because instead of camera-relative movement, the main character has the camera locked behind them, and they have to push forward to move forward, and left or right to turn), and that he has to switch to first-person mode to shoot. Again, if that sounds familiar to any readers, it's because it's the control scheme that was featured in a Resident Evil game. Only this time, it's the Resident Evil game that everyone loved, Resident Evil 4.
Pop quiz: What's the only difference between this game's control scheme and Resident Evil 4's? In this game, the player can actually move while aiming, which makes it quantifiably better than Resident Evil 4's system. The only real hitch in the system is that whenever the player gets to a place where they'll have to move quickly or perform some light platforming, the camera locks down and movement becomes camera-relative. This is a little confusing the first time it happens, but since the player will never be asked to do any fighting in these situations, it's a minor problem at best.
Then he moves on to the melee combat system, which involves the player using the right stick to swing weapons around "as if he has two broken arms". Again, if I can't agree with his simile, I at least understand that he found the controls awkward at first. The combat does take a little getting used to, since almost nothing like it has ever appeared in a game before. For example, I asked a friend (an infrequent gamer) who had never seen the game before to try the hand-to-hand combat, and it took him a good five minutes before he could comfortably beat up groups of enemies with a fire axe. After that, he found the combat just as enjoyable as I did, shifting the thumbstick to one side to prepare an attack, then moving into position and letting the enemy have it with a smack across the face.
The whole thing is made all the more user-friendly by the fact that it features enemy lock-on. Once a zombie is within range, if Edward is holding a melee weapon he'll snap to his opponent, allowing him to circle around them and dodge easily. It's even simple to switch from target to target when fighting up to three enemies at the same time. Just having a workable melee combat engine puts Alone in the Dark above most other entries in the genre, that it's fun to use places it in the neighborhood of a minor triumph.
For the record, here are some of the survival horror games out there with worse melee combat than Alone in the Dark: Every other Alone in the Dark, Nocturne (and the Blair Witch sequels); Every Resident Evil game; Every Clock Tower game (including Haunting Grounds); Dino Crisis 1-3; Obscure 1-2; The Suffering 1-2; Every Silent Hill game; Dead Rising.
Survival horror games with better melee combat include: The Onimusha series, although it's debatable whether Onimusha qualifies as survival horror.
Which brings me to the driving portion of the game, and some of Geddes' most extravagant nit-picking yet. He starts with this sentence, which brings out Geddes-levels of hypercriticism in me: "Moving Carnby around Central Park is a frustrating experience, but putting him behind the wheel is equally bad." Crazy, huh? Here's a tip, Geddes, if you want to use the word "but" to join two related thoughts, the second one had better be in some way a contrast to the first. Such as "but putting him behind the wheel is even worse!," or "but putting him behind the wheel is surprisingly pleasant!." See how that works? If you want to express that it's exactly the same experience, then you should have gone with something like "Sadly, driving Carnby around Central Park is every bit as awkward as navigating by foot." It wouldn't have been true, but it least it would have made logical sense.
Geddes' complaints are simple enough: There aren't enough cars, and they all have floaty handling and physics. Personally, I didn't mind the physics at all: they're no worse than the physics in the first couple of 3D Grand Theft Auto games—definitely skewed more towards fun and simplicity than realism. His biggest problem is the fact that, over the course of the game, there are three timed driving challenges. I'm just going to present his comments here in full, so we can all bask in the dickishness together:
"All are cheap trial-and-error affairs full of scripted events which force you to reload the challenge over and over and over again until you've memorized the software routine. Even if the cars handled like a dream, these levels would be a drag."
This is where the power of the reviewer becomes, if not dangerous, than at least highly annoying. To the average person reading the review, this might suggest that there was something wrong with the game's driving challenges, some kind of design flaw or failure. This statement is so harsh that, even taken out of context of rest of the review, it alone could convince someone not to bother trying the game. The tragedy is that the fictional person he just dissuaded from playing the game would be doing so under entirely false pretenses. That's right, Geddes is wrong here. Exceptionally, heroically, wrong. If he had fallen down drunk on his keyboard and turned in the letter f repeated 4000 times as his review, he could not have been more wrong about the driving challenges in this game.
Reading that passage, it's almost as if Geddes doesn't have the slightest idea what an action driving sequence is. Sure, it's not the most popular subgenre in the racing game world, but they're out there. The basic idea is that the driver, is asked to outrun some sort of cataclysm by speeding down a set path, while amazing things happen in front of the car which the driver must react quickly to avoid being crushed by. There were a couple of them in Half-Life 2. Halo games tend to end with one. A bunch of them appeared in Raw Danger, which, by the way, as games go, was undeniably awesome. The game Stuntman: Ignition was devoted entirely to offering them to players.
I'm confused about how Geddes thinks it would be possible to have an action driving sequence without scripted events. Would you just be racing against a timer? Would the road even have turns? Would you rather just be watching a cutscene?
Sure, things fall into the middle of the road unexpectedly during these sequences, but that's the entire point! The player is being judged on their ability to react quickly to dangerous things happening with a minimal amount of warning. In an interesting note, that's also the premise of 99 percent of every arcade game ever, and maybe 50 percent of all console games.
Yes, crashing into things or going off a cliff can lead to forced restarts. Which would be quite a hassle if the driving challenges were exceptionally long. They're not, though. I timed them. The longest clocked in at 2 minutes and 42 seconds, with the shortest a meager 2:12. Considerably shorter than the average race in any arcade-y racing game, yet it's doubtful you'd ever hear a reviewer complaining about having to restart a whole three-minute race just because they made one mistake.
In his review, Geddes was diligent to avoid spoilers. It can be taken as a polite move by a reviewer not wanting to ruin the experience for anyone who actually wants to try the game. Of course, given how much time and effort he's dedicated to convincing as many people as possible to never play the game, I'm theorizing a more sinister motive. Whatever Geddes' problem with the game is, he was so set on convincing potential gamers that it was terrible that in his review he purposefully avoided mentioned any of the spectacular things that appear in it.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about setpieces. Beautiful, over the top, film-caliber setpieces. Little sections of gameplay that put the player inside the body of a hardcore action hero for a few minutes at a time. There are moments of this game that are so audacious in their construction and execution that my jaw simply dropped. Whether it's the pull-back of a camera showing off the detailed destruction that an earthquake has torn into the streets of New York, or the breathtaking sequence where Carnby is left dangling from a rope out the side of a crashed helicopter, and the player has to climb up a sheer cliff face while the burning chopper teeters at the edge, Alone in the Dark is literally packed with showstopping extravagances, amazing sights unparalleled in other games.
Chief among these setpieces is the first driving sequence that Geddes found so tedious. What's the challenge? To drive down Central Park West as earthquakes are tearing it apart. You may be wondering how something that sounds so awesome could have been botched so badly that it was used as an example of something wrong with the game. You may be surprised to learn that it wasn't botched at all, and that I count my experiences hitting the accelerator to make the jump across a near-bottomless pit, then swerving to dodge a flaming car before finally weaving back to speed through a building that had just landed on its side as one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life. This level offers better action driving than anything in Stuntman: Ignition which, again, was a game entirely devoted to action driving. Better than almost any game I've ever seen, Alone in the Dark understands how to create a memorable action sequence. Are they scripted as all Hell? Yes. Did I ever feel like I wasn't in control of the character's actions? Not for a second. That's great design.
Geddes then moves on to actually complimenting the game, although it's more of a backhanded compliment than anything else. He singles out the game's DVD-style fast-forward option as a move towards pleasing customers, but only because gamers will "want to skip large portions of the game". In his now-trademark style of making vague unfounded complaints that he assures us are valid, Geddes all but admits to entirely skipping a "a particularly cheap turn of events near the end of the game" that will have you "be lobbing your controller in exasperation."
I remember the game pretty well, and I have no idea what he's talking about, since there's nothing in the game so difficult that it should hang people up for more than a minute or two. He's probably referring to the series of "trap rooms" that appear in the second-to-last chapter, although that seems more than a little strange, since I found the trap rooms to be a welcome return to classic adventure game design. I'm not going to go to lengths to explaining the existence of the trap rooms, except to say that they fit perfectly within the game's logic and world. Each room tests the player's ability to use the fire mechanics and item control they've been practicing over the length of the game, and I can't explain how happy I was to see the idea of a room full of mechanical deathtraps that have to be avoided or outwitted making a return in something other than a point and click adventure or a flash browser game.
I can understand Geddes' frustration though, because he's apparently just not great with puzzles. After announcing that some of them were "buggy" (once again, not in my experience) he talks about a specific forklift-related puzzle that "had several IGN editors...scratching their heads". Here's a little test. I'm going to lay out the elements of the puzzle, and you can see if you can figure out how to solve it.
The Goal: Carnby has to drive a forklift up a ramp.
The Problem: The ramp has collapsed and fallen to the ground.
The Tools: A forklift, and a switch that makes a support bar come out of the wall directly above the shattered ramp.
The Solution: Use the forklift to lift the ramp, then pull the switch so the bar comes out and acts a support, so you can drive the forklift away without the ramp falling back down to the ground.
If you figured it out without any help, congratulations, you're smarter than many of the editors at IGN.
Attempting once more to kill any possible interest in the game, Geddes refers to anyone who could possibly want to finish it as a "glutton for punishment", because the game, right near the end, adds a free-roaming section that he dismisses as a "game-lengthening gimmick". He's referring to the fact that, before Carnby can enter the areas beneath Central Park, he must find and destroy the giant roots that the game's force of evil uses to gain its power. Personally, I couldn't get enough of this sequence, since many of the roots are in isolated locations that require decent puzzle-solving skills to reach, and traveling around the city to find them ensured I'd get into a few more of the fights I loved so well. Of course, if you'd skipped past the majority of the game, and never bothered to learn how to fight or use items properly, I could see how this might seem like a chore, but even then, the player is only asked to destroy half of the power sources to complete the game, and half of them can easily be found just a little off the beaten path, guarded by a couple of zombies.
Geddes also announces that, although he won't give the game's ending away (as if that's something reviewers normally do), it is both a slap in the face to anyone who actually played the game, and one of the most ridiculous endings he's seen in a while. Again, I'm going to plead ignorance as to what he's talking about, since the game's ending is the logical conclusion to the story. Early in the game, the stakes are made clear: Either Carnby must complete an occult ritual that began before the game started, or all of Manhattan will be destroyed. Finishing the ritual is a bad idea, but losing Manhattan is a worse one. This explanation doesn't appear in any of the recaps, though, so I can see why Geddes might be confused if he was skipping levels or not paying attention to the cutscenes, but that's not going to the experience of anyone who actually plays the game all the way through. The worst thing about the game's ending is how obviously it sets up for a planned sequel, but not at the cost of robbing the game of an actual resolution.
Then Geddes closes out his review by recapping just how much he hated the game, going out of his way to end with a simile so labored that I'll quote it here for your entertainment: "There's a certain amount of old-school adventure charm in Alone in the Dark, but it shines only as the dimmest of lights, hemmed in by the darkness of its many failures." See how clever that was? The word "Dark;" is in the game's title, and he just ran with it!
Seriously, though, here's a few wonderful things that Geddes didn't take into account when writing his review, and some theories about why he didn't mention them.
1 - Just how huge and beautiful its depiction of Central Park is. I've only been to Central Park once, but I was stunned to see several locations that I remembered extremely well from my trip. As I guided Carnby into the amphitheater, I thought back to the time I saw a play there, and how I could look over the stage and see Central Park Castle looming just over the water behind. So I spun around and took a look, and there the castle was. I can't say for sure that the game offers a totally accurate 1-1 scale recreation of a destroyed Central Park, but it's easily the largest playing area ever featured in a survival horror game, and the fact that between the driving challenges and the free-roaming sections the game the entire map as a practical location only adds to the accomplishment. This is some of the finest level design and use of environment I've ever encountered.
Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? Because there's nothing to complain about in the depiction of Central Park, and saying something good about the game might have undercut his point that it was universally horrible.
2 - The lack of loading times. When Alone in the Dark is first started, it has to load. Beyond that, there are absolutely no loading times for the entire length of the game. Carnby moves from a huge apartment building down into a car chase, then through sewers, in and out of buildings, across an expansive world, and down into subterranean catacombs without ever pausing to load. Loading times are cleverly covered by cutscenes and phone calls, so the game gives the impression that the story is never stopping, or even taking a break. The consequence of this decision is that the cutscenes cannot be skipped, but I'll take a cutscene over a loading screen any day. How seamless was the effect? Halfway into my first playthrough I suddenly realized that I'd gotten so caught up in the game that I'd forgotten to take notes for my review. Normally I use the breaks offered by loading times to turn to my computer and jot down thoughts, but I was so caught up in the game's momentum that I'd played for nearly three hours without the slightest break.
Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? Because he really leaned on the fast-forward button. Whenever you skip to another chapter, the game has to pause to load the area where it takes place. Not only did this laziness lead to him never learning how to play the game, but he missed out on one of the game's best features, the impeccable pacing.
3 - The setpieces. I know I've already mentioned them, but they deserve more coverage, since Alone in the Dark redefines action/adventure gameplay. Some moments include: scaling the outside of a crumbing building, running through a slanted room as it slides out of the building under your feet, crawling slowly through a car as it dangles from the edge of a cliff, outrunning an earthquake on the streets of New York. Every few minutes this game features an action sequence of unparalleled ambition and tension that any other game would do well to study.
Why didn't Geddes mention it at all? This one's a puzzler. It's possible that he just missed a lot of them with all his rampant game skipping. It's also possible that he's just incapable of loving things that are awesome, and wants to rob as many people as he can of the joy that Alone in the Dark's action scenes would bring them. Kind of like the Grinch, but he wants to ruin people's video game experiences, rather than their Christmases.
Now, and I want to be perfectly clear about this, I don't fault Geddes for disliking the game, that's his opinion. Part of the fault lies with the developers for giving him the opportunity to skip ahead in the game rather than spend the little time it would have taken to get used to its controls. I can't really blame them, though, since they were just trying to put in a feature that allows new or casual gamers to keep from being stymied by the more difficult sections. How could they possibly expect that a reviewer would abuse the feature so thoroughly, and then dismiss the game because he never gave it the chance it deserved?
Yes, I know that other people hated the game as well, and the metacritic average hasn't cracked 60, but every now and then general consensus is flat out wrong. I haven't read any other reviews, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few other critics out there made a lot of Geddes' mistakes. In a world full of ever-encroaching deadlines, I can understand the urge to cut a few corners, but the ironic thing is Alone in the Dark isn't even a long enough game that it requires using shortcuts! Played straight through, it's a 6-8 hour game, not a single sitting title, but not far from it, either.
This is a special, maybe-once-in a generation kind of game. Is it as polished as other games out there? Perhaps not. Is there another game out there as innovative and accomplished? Not even close. I'm not saying this game is going to change the face of survival horror. No, all signs point to Resident Evil continuing along as a fast-action enterprise, while Siren and Fatal Frame go on terrifying their small, dedicated fan bases. As for Silent Hill, well, the less said about that, the better. Alone in the Dark achieves nearly everything it sets out to do, providing a truly cinematic gameplay experience without abandoning the sandbox-style freedom that it offers to the player for the first time in a horror game.
Purchase this game immediately. At worst, you will have spent a little money supporting innovation in game design. At best, you'll enjoy the finest horror game to come out in recent memory. There's really no downside, and no excuse for anyone who's ever enjoyed a survival horror title to avoid checking it out.