7.5

Even though I didn't find this title that scary it is still a really enjoyable survival horror, FPS, puzzle hybrid.

I love scary games I don't know why but I do. Yet the problem is not many games scare me (with the exception of the silent hill franchise) yet when I heard about this oddly named game "penumbra" the most common phrase was "scary." So I caved in bought all 3 penumbra titles and I have to say this game isn't that bad at all.

Story:

The story is basically you play as a man named Philip. He never knew his father, yet the day after his father's death he received a letter from his father. In the letter his father instructs him to go to his bank deposit box and find maps, directions, and all that fun stuff and burn it. Well Philip decides to not do that and follow the map and see what his father was up to. He ends up somewhere in Europe out in the wilderness in the middle of a snow storm. He is slowly freezing to death until he finds a hatch he opens the hatch climbs down the broken ladder and falls. He then wakes up in a abandoned mine that has weird happenings and creatures and has to figure out how to get out alive.

Gameplay:

In terms of gameplay this game is very unique and at the same time very frustrating. The game is a combination of three genres. One is survival horror, another is FPS, and the last one is puzzle solving. Now I know the "S" in FPS means shooting, but alas you get no firearms. Yet I can't think of any other genre to define it as. I mean you can kill things so you know what I am keeping the FPS as a classification for the game.

The game has a very cool physic system in place that does immerse yourself in the game's world. What I mean by that is the game's objects act like everyday objects. So for example you need to open a door? You can't just click on it you need to click, hold the mouse button, and pull it towards you or push it away from you like you were opening a real door. Or another example there is a desk with 3 drawers. You need to click on the drawer hold the mouse button and pull it towards you. Now I know this sounds complicated or tedious, but trust me you will get used to it and it will suck you into the game's world.

The puzzles in the game range from easy, clever, hard, and "what is this I don't even..." Sadly like some point and click games this game follows its own arbitrary rules that just don't apply to the real world. For example I couldn't get something unlocked while I had a hammer, pickax, and a saw. Instead I needed to find something at point B and bring it to C then go back to B and ughh!!. Sadly yes I will admit it I did view some walk through videos because I was totally lost on some things.

The game does have a very nice dark and light mechanic. Meaning yes you will be in the dark a lot and you have 2 options. One is a green glow stick that lights up a small part of a area, yet it has infinite power. Or you can have a flashlight that has a bigger radius, longer range, and so on and so forth, yet you guessed it it runs on batteries with are finite in this game.


The game also has a flight or fight mechanic and I think its both a pro and con. So most of the levels you need to sneak by creatures if they see you they will kill you with only 3-4 hits. Don't worry though you do have pain killers and regenerative health so its not too unfair. So when a enemy spots you what do you do? You can run like hell and lock yourself in a room and barricade the door (seriously you can barricade the doors thanks to the physic system) yet the door won't hold out forever. Or do you get your pickax out or hammer and beat the day lights out of said creature? So the game has both combat and stealth. I would recommend running away though since the creatures out number you and won't follow you through metal doors.

A lot of people said this game is scary well I don't know I am torn on the matter. I am not going to pretend that I didn't jump at certain parts or had my virtual character run and hide from the nearest sign of danger. Yet at the same time midway through the creatures you fight never change and you soon understand the game's fright gimmicks. You get to the point (more towards the end) of just ignoring the creatures and just let you finish the puzzles. The game does make a very nice atmosphere of being alone and trapped in a cramped, dark, dusty, dirty, filled with things wanting to eat you place. Yet it just doesn't deliver like other horror games like the silent hill franchise or even Resident Evil.

Yet the game isn't perfect and there were some things that annoyed the hell out of me. The first and foremost is the combat ohh the combat. You need to swing your mouse like the item. So lets say you have a hammer you need to click hold down the button and swing the mouse back and forth. It is probably the most tedious thing ever and its very clunky. Another problem like I said before is some puzzles or things they want you to do is at times very obscure or not explained well. One puzzle expects you to learn morse code...they give you a guide filled with dots and dashes, yet when you hear the code you have no idea which is which. Another and one of the most annoying is there is a steam vent sequence where there is literally no hint on what to do. There is a floor filled with vents and every second steam comes out and its a insta-kill. I can't tell you how many times I tried until I gave up went to a walk through and did it from there.

Graphics:

I have to say I really like them. They aren't the best I seen yet they get the job done. It has a very nice light and dark effect and even produces shadows properly. I really liked them and I really didn't mind them, except the enemies they don't look as good.

Audio:

Really stellar they really portray a abandoned mine. Also the voice acting is startlingly very good. The only exception once again are the main enemies.

Pro's

Cheap, a really good hybrid, it definitely can scare or in the very least startle you at some moments, thanks to the physic system can really immerse yourself in this world, can barricade doors, fight or flight mechanic, very nice atmosphere.

Con's

Some puzzles literally have the most obscure answers, sometimes vague on certain puzzles, that damn vent sequence, the enemies seem more like a afterthought since I had more problems with them both graphically, audio, and A.I. wise, the stealth portion gets old especially towards the end, the ending leaves off in a cliffhanger.

Overall:

Overall I have to say I really enjoyed this game. Yeah it has its problems, but with this game the good definitely out weigh the bad and makes this game worth getting or in the very least a look at.

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