While it lacks polish on the graphical and gameplay fronts, the story will still deliver for any true fan of the series.
framauro13 wrote this review on .
Whenever an Alone in the Dark title comes along (yes, even the movie), I always buy it out of respect. The original three were great games. The New Nightmare, while disconnected from original trilogy, was a good game in its own right. We won't talk about the movie, but hey, every good series has it's bad apple right? Let's not forget Rocky V.
When I heard about this game, and that it was actually connected to the original, I became very excited. Edward Carnby is one of my favorite video game protagonists, and to get to see another adventure was going to be great. This series pioneered the survival-horror genre. Resident Evil might be top-dog now, but it's safe to say it owes a lot to Alone in the Dark.
After installing the game, it fired up, no hitches. The DVD / TV series delivery style is unique and compelling, and definitely keeps you up to speed on the story line. If you put the game down for a few days, you don't have to worry about remembering what's going on in the game; it'll bring you right up to speed before you jump back in.
However, all is not well. The game sports two point of views: first and third person. The first person view is what you would come to expect from a first person shooter, and responds fairly well. Third person, on the other hand, behaves in a more classic sense, with movement controlls mapping to the character's point of view. Unfortunately, the game often switches between the two without any fair warning, going from a responsive first person to a sluggish third. This can cause extreme frustration in combat and the more fast-paced scenes and lead to countless deaths.
I should have known when reading the manual that any game that lists XBox360 controller controls along with PC/Keyboard controls is going to have its issues (Also, any game where PRNT SCRN serves a purpose other than screen capture is, well, not quite right). The controls are definitely the biggest problem with this game. They are not intuitive and are extremely sluggish. Quick 'favorites' keys are mapped to the keyboard in an extremely odd way, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a couple minutes of custom key mappings.
Driving sequences, while done fairly well, can also be frustrating due to the lack of save points along the way. The car controls are a bit touchy, so it's very easy to loose control. This along with the lack of save or check points means you'll be playing a lot of the driving scenes over and over again until you have it down to a science.
The last thing that a lot of people have seem to be complaining about is the way that enemies are dispatched. Many enemies in the game can only be destroyed by fire. This can be an issue early on in the game as you'll spend most of your time swinging and tossing flaming chairs at enemies instead of actually fighting them (I have to say I am impressed by Carnby's pain tolerance. his ability to hold on top flaming objects with no gloves or protection is pretty amazing). As the game progresses and you have more access to items that you can combine to make fiery weapons, this becomes less of an issue. Some of the concern and complaints of this feature, I personally think, are overrated.
The control problems, coupled with the sluggish and random-switching POV's, can create a very, very, frustrating experience early on in the game. While the game definitely lacks polish on both the game play and graphical fronts, it still has its moments that make it a worthwhile experience. The storyline is a little slow to start in the beginning, but once it gets going it'll keep you drawn in.
I wouldn't recommend this game to anyone new to the franchise, but it's definitely one that any true fan of the series will want to play.