Completed the game

This game is grotesque. I mean that in a good way. The esthetics portrays a world that is mentally twisted and wrong, and it does this in a visually appealing and appalling way. It's great.

You are Six. A child that wakes up at the bottom of a large ship and your task is to get up to the top. It is about 4 hours of avoiding dangers and puzzle solving. Despite the title the game doesn't try to scare you but you will feel discomfort as the world and the characters in it reveals itself.

The environmental storytelling is masterfully done in this game. As you pass through the levels each room has a specific purpose and you can read the story from things laying around, and it is gruesome. It is all building up until the end "boss" where you meet the main architect of it all and the ending is all satisfying even if I had wished for a stronger antagonist.

It is with great comfort I start up this game as I immediately recognize the concept of running left to right. It is an ancient practice in video games but most recently experienced in the game INSIDE and also Deadlight. As I turn Six to run right she runs straight into a wall and it turns out this is not a 2D side scroller. It is 3D and I have to run out of the screen to avoid the obstacle. "Oh no!" I think to myself as I immediately envision all the problems this brings.

The game play is a lot about sneaking and avoiding danger. This means hiding under tables, in boxes and such. This works fine and the 3D environment work in the game's favor, but once you are discovered you need to run and here your options become too many. You run one way and are cornered. You run another and see an escape route, but instead of sliding through that whole in the walk you run straight into it as you misjudged how far into the picture you were.

There are problems with the camera as well. It is a very active camera that points the way it wants you to focus but because it is 3D things get in the way and you can't see your character. You can pan around, but this gets me looking for things I've missed, and suspecting I've missed things rather than helping me around.

The game's difficulty is fair. The puzzles are not too hard and the enemies not too challenging to avoid. However the game fails to point out the critical path at times making me frustrated that I have no idea where to go. Trying out different paths isn't very fun as you'll get instakilled if you're caught.

Worst of this game are the controls as the game favors using bumpers R2/L2 over the more conventional buttons. Usually you use these bumbers when you want to give the player control to do something “a little” like accelerating a car. Here they are used to jump and crouch which makes no sense and takes time to learn. Six is also very hard to control and I struggle to get her to climb ladders, pull and drag things or just hold on to ledgest and climb. If it takes three takes to get Six to start climbing you’re usually dead and there is nothing to do about it. It is just very frustrating.

The game play also has instadeath scenarios where there was no indication that you were walking into a trap. A whole in the wall where an arm suddenly comes out and breaks your neck, where there is no indication this whole is any different than the one next to it. There are several of these instadeath moments that turns the game play into trial and error which is never much fun.

The game is generous with its save points as there is pretty much a save point in each room, but you are not allowed to turn off the game. If you do that you will be restored to the beginning of the level. I have no idea why and it was really irritating the first time it happened to me. I had to replay a good portion of the level which is a complete waste and disrespectful of my time.

Despite the shortcomings in game play I really think this game is worth playing. It is only 4 hours long and you will be able to trudge through the painful parts in order to experience the immersive story and really cool scenes by the end of this game.

My rating: 3