A Sleeper Hit with Clunky Controls

User Rating: 7 | Alone in the Dark X360
I've completed this game and have achieved 100% of the achievements. I bought this game on a whim, seeing it for $8 in the used section and thought, why not? I wasn't disappointed. For my money, I certainly got the value I expected and more.

The basic premise of the game, as with most horror games, it is the end of the world, and guess what, you started it! You take control of a character who doesn't know his own name and is struggling to get out of the deadly situation he is in. As the story continues, and without ruining the ending, you come to discover a dark truth and no matter the ending, it won't entirely be what you expect. In effect, this is the quintessential game for any Silent Hill or Resident Evil fan. The game is dark, disturbing and the overall tone is one that screams for you to play the game in the dark.

There are a lot of great elements to the game. The story is really unique. I wouldn't call it entirely original, it plays to the typical good vs. evil theorem, but the game play challenges you enough to stick with it.

For the good, the story was very compelling. The game takes place in New York City's Central Park, and watching the recognizable set pieces get destroyed was interesting. And unlike Prototype, it didn't all look the same at every turn. The characters grow on you as the game goes on. At first, both Edward and Sarah seem annoying, but as the game continues, the story pulls you into wanting them to both succeed and get out of the story alive. As with most horror survival games, you should expect many things to stand in the way.

For the bad, unfortunately, the controls are a real challenge. The changes of perspective for using weapons can be helpful for the gun, but when you have an axe or bat, it becomes clunky. The camera isn't adjustable. Unless your character is looking in that direction, you will not see anything. This can become very frustrating when dealing with villains you don't see and don't hear, that jump out at you. I realise that is what most people want, to be scared, but being able to understand the warning signs is key to making a logical game.

If you read the booklet that comes with the game, it points out that the game is set up like a movie, and it is; you can jump to any section you like, that is why the achievements are set up the way there are. You are rewarded for completing entire sections without skipping them. On the surface, it means what you'd expect. You could skip straight to the end. I group this with the not great, though for achievements, it is fantastic. But for a game to allow players to skip ahead seems a bit 'cheap.' I feel bad saying that, but that's how I feel.

The game pans itself as a movie, and the scope of the story does fit, but allowing players to skip around before completing the game seems like a poor idea. I'm not the type of person who would skip around, so I completed the game in order, but those that don't have that patience won't enjoy the game to it's fullest.

Overall, I think this game is actually a really good game, but it won't ever be a great game. The controls are too glitchy and there were far too many times I fell into nothing and died. Glitches can kill a good game, but poor logic does that just the same. For the price, you can't go wrong, but be prepared to have your patience tested at regular intervals.