Alone in the Dark is an action horror game with memorable cinematic moments but it could use some improvement

User Rating: 7.5 | Alone in the Dark PS3
Alone in the Dark: Inferno is an action horror game that attempts to create an open world and an all purpose physics engine. It also comes with a series of high adrenaline boss fights and cinematic sequences where the player has to escape from cars that are about to fall into chasms, perform driving stunts, jump on moving trains and several other cinematic stunts worthy of a Jackie Chan flick. Those are interesting ideas and there are some really cool moments in the new Alone in the Dark but the game was not improved enough to create a good and solid package.

The game puts you in control of the famous Edward Carnby, who happens to be the only one that can stop a dark cult from opening a portal to hell and summoning the devil himself. To make matters worse, the coming of the beast is announced by massive earthquakes that leveled buildings to the ground and shattered streets, allowed minor demons to come to our world and possessed everyone but a handful of key individuals whose stories are linked to Carnby's.

The game play is pretty diversified and have a cinematic vibe.

Climbing : Carnby will have to climb up or down buildings, swing from ropes, hang from vehicles about to plunge into chasms and jump from collapsing rooms while avoiding deadly falling debris and furniture from the upper floors. All of this scenes will have last moment escapes and appropriate music. It's not Prince of Persia or Mirror's Edge but those moments are pretty intense as there's always something about to fall on your head and the risk of death is imminent.

Driving : Aside from being the main form of transport, there will be two or three moments where Carnby will have to drive from point A to B in a given time to avoid being dragged into the abyss by an earthquake. Even though the PS3 version has been improved, driving is still unresponsive and it's not unusual for the car not to move even though you're pressing the button multiple times or for it to run in the opposite direction you've intended.

Scrounging : After the initial hours, Carnby will be allowed to free roam through Central Park to search for the evil roots (vortexes of evil that have to be destroyed) or simply to run around, looking for possessed humans to run over, shoot or light up in fire. Exploring pays off because you can find the materials needed to build makeshift bombs, Molotov cocktails and even use insecticides to spray fire on your enemies.

There will be plenty of explosive liquids, pieces of cloth, lighters, first aid sprays and other items that Carnby can conveniently mix up to create explosive material, which comes handy because almost all enemies have to be burned down in order to be destroyed. The game also allows one to take gas from parked cars into empty bottles or create trails of incendiary material to blow up cars and gas tanks.

Combat : Aside from a few friendly faces, all of Carnby encounters will be violent. Though he doesn't have a large choice of traditional firearms, mixing up items is all that's needed. You can ignite a Molotov cocktail and throw in a bunch of humanz (possessed human beings) or you can throw an unlit one and shoot it with incendiary ammunition, created by mixing ordinary bullets and incendiary liquids. Even the standard spray and lighter combo will do the trick.

You can also effectively use melee weapons such as an axe or a sword or improvise with chairs and wooden logs. The latter can be ignited with fire to provide not only light but a deadly melee weapon versus humanz.

Puzzles are well integrated into the game mechanics. You'll be required to light a wooden structure or use a burning chair as a torch, jump, climb or combine items with your lantern to create specific light patterns. They're not easy but also not hard enough to make you pull your hair out.

Even though there are good game play ideas and memorable boss fights, the engine was not tuned to perfection for all its uses. It's better for fighting than it's for acrobatics and driving around town and running over humanz is fun but driving on the clock can be frustrating. Mixing items and burning enemies is awesome but scrounging can be a pain if you've used all your explosives and find yourself facing an evil root or mini boss.

It's also worthy to note that in spite of some bugs, the game looks decent and the voice acting doesn't hurt the experience. The story is enough to keep one interested but the very ending (both of them) kinda let me down as it failed to provide closure.

It's an interesting game that managed to add a cinematic feel to its most intense moments and created an interesting mechanic to build up explosives and exploring Central Park but it lacks the consistency and polish of a masterpiece.