Game Preview: Alone in the Dark – Revamped

Alone in the Dark is the new installment in the horror franchise of the same name that came out on the PS2, Xbox 360 and PC and was almost universally panned as a game that had great and innovative ideas, but had horrendous, counterintuitive, and unfinished execution and a uninteresting and clichéd story. Developer Eden decided not to go the Lair route and complain that no one understands their artistic vision, but instead took the massive number of criticisms leveled against the game and went to work addressing each one for the PS3 version of the games, which hadn’t come out due to longer production time.

First of all they fixed the camera controls, by giving it all to the player via the right analogue stick. Of course I thought this was basic game design now a days. On the other analogue stick, control of Carnby has left the near tank like controls to the more smooth character controls that we expect from our games. Combat remains on the analogue stick and now utilizes one of the trigger buttons to lock on to an enemy. This solves two problems in one go.

 

Inventory has not been revamped. It is no longer real time, which sounded like a good idea, but in tight spots it was nothing but a hindrance. The inventory is also more accurate when making your choices. Additionally a slot has been freed up, as now your flashlight will never need new batteries. It was an integral game mechanic, making it temporary is not a good idea. Oh and mixing items doesn’t care what order you put them in anymore.

 


As for the game overall, the sections with the devil roots no longer clog the game at the end of a chapter to become monotonous work. Now its integrated into the main mission keep things with a consistent variety. That last phrase makes sense if you think about it. Also the vehicles now have weight to them so the physics engine doesn’t send them spiraling out of control when you hit a pebble. Oh and there’s a new action oriented section taking place in a subway station.

Sadly there is nothing that could be done with the story, but you can’t have everything, especially if it’s as bad as all the critics say it is. Despite that I am still excited about Alone in the Dark.



I was hoping against all hope that they PS3 version would be better and fix all the problems. And lo and behold they did. I’m actually glad that Eden decided to swallow their pride and actually make a game good. I can name a number of other games I wished this happened to.

I don’t think any other developer has ever done this and if they did certainly not in this short a time. I am excited about the atmosphere and to try out the new innovative mechanics in their proper form.

Alone in the Dark will be released on the PS3 November 18th.

Published by

Avatar

Eric Swain

A graduate of Boston University, majoring in English and Creative Writing and has spent significant time studying story structure and theory in the mediums of books, film and video games. His articles offer unique perspective on deep game development and design through his eclectic prose. you can find his critical analysis on www.thegamecritique.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *