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Found 8 results

  1. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Slender: The Arrival

    Developer: Parsec Productions Publisher: Blue Isle Studios Platform: PC (Web) Release Date: March 27, 2013 ESRB: N/A (M suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review Slender: The Eight Pages started a phenomenon in the horror gaming world. Although there have long since been examples of horror games that leave you weaponless, this has been mostly abandoned by modern developers. Amnesia: The Dark Descent managed to stoke those fires again, although it was with Slender that a new boom began in indie-based horror game development. Much of these games are based off the modern urban legend of Slender Man. Mark Hadley developed Slender and released it while probably never expecting the massive fandom that would soon surround it. Since then, he decided to give the game another shot and make it a more fleshed out, better-looking experience. As such, Slender: The Arrival was born and has recently been unleashed to Slender-hungry fans everywhere. Is this game a worthy response to the original or has it lost its ability to scare? For the most part, Slender: The Arrival is as scary as its predecessor. Changes mostly seem to have been made to expand the audience to more than horror or indie game diehards. This is done primarily by a tremendous upgrade to the graphics. If there was one criticism to be said of the original, it was that the visuals definitely did not inspire fear. Sure, they didn“t hinder it, but the board-like Slender Man and otherwise weak visuals were off-putting to many. In this game, graphics are on par with modern releases. If you had any issue immersing yourself in Slender due to graphics, than this game should have you covered. The biggest change that is realized upon playing the game is the story. Sure, there were notes to collect in the original, but that was the majority of storytelling involved. In The Arrival, you get a bunch more information, although it never feels like the game is overloading you with unimportant content. This is a tough balancing act that Parsec Productions got right. There are still eight main pages to collect, but there are also other bits of information strewn on letters (or walls) that further fill out bits of the mythology. You begin the game with little knowledge of what“s going on. As protagonist Lauren, you are forced out of a car due to a tree toppling over directly in front of the road. Where was she heading? She was on her way to her old friend Kate“s house. Walking the rest of the way there, the tree leaves rustle in the wind as the sun slowly sets. Although nothing appears wrong yet, the atmosphere is immediately a bit off. Night falls as you enter her house, finding it in disarray, and realize that something is definitely wrong since Kate is nowhere to be found. Searching through her house feels ominous, and this feeling never really leaves the player, even when exploring beyond the “safety” of her home. There are a few distinct areas to explore and each is a fearful experience, although all are not perfect. For example, one area pits you against an enemy which appears skewed toward much more boilerplate horror. That“s not to say that Slender Man is an incredibly innovative horror antagonist, but it manages to be much creepier than this other being presented later. To say too much about Slender Man“s use in the game would be destroying some of the game“s scariness. What I can say though is that the effects surrounding this entity are quite cool and good at generating more fear in the player. There is not too much use of “boo” scares, which makes it even more appealing. As with a Silent Hill game, you are most often tipped off to nearby danger thanks to technical malfunction. In the case of The Arrival, your video camera screen shows distortion. Speaking of which, the entire game is played through the lens of a video camera. This may excite fans of Marble Hornets as that web series is framed as a documentary. In a way, the game feels like an extension of it, and only adds to the mythos surrounding Slender Man. It also adds some personalization to the game, as if you really are behind the camera and trying to uncover secrets with Lauren. One important facet of horror media is audio. The Arrival absolutely excels in this department. From the onset, there are sounds such as footfalls crunching in leaves slightly off time with your own, which makes you worry something else is in the woods. Then there is general audio in the background which attempts to unnerve as it quietly plays in the background. For most of the game, it wouldn“t be considered music, although it is definitely tracks and not purely natural game audio. Only later does something closer to music come in to heighten the atmosphere. It should be obvious by now that this game is quite good at being a scary experience. There“s also no doubt that it is a massive improvement over Parsec“s first game as well. Still, one point that may bother some players is the length of the game. There is only about an hour of play included to see the experience from start to finish. Sure, some notes may be missed on the first playthrough, but you can see most things in a short period of time. If you absolutely need replay value in games then this is one to pass on. Otherwise, the hour play time is justified as the story is able to convey itself well in the short time frame. The end does come suddenly, but it seems hard to see what could have been changed. Slender: The Arrival is a horror game that both newbies to Slender-based horror games can enjoy as well as those who loved the first. The developers show that they have a strong sense of what makes games scary and this translates to a game with a very foreboding atmosphere. It may or may not scare you, but there“s a neat little story and mystery to unravel while playing. Give it a shot if you“ve longed for more “true” horror games in the sea of unscary drivel coming from big name developers. Pros: + Smart sound design + Interesting story that sparks curiosity + Genuinely creepy encounters Cons: - Introduction of bothersome enemy - Relatively short experience Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Slender: The Arrival manages to trump its origins to offer a modern horror story in the form of a video game.
  2. Whether or not you enjoyed recent games like Dead Space 3 or Resident Evil 6, one this is for certain: they“re not traditional horror games. Both series may have had roots in survival horror and even been quite scary at times, but they have shifted to action horror, if you“re even willing to call them horror at all any more. What has changed about gamers and the industry over the years to cause this? The trend has been a long time coming. In a way, if the oldest horror games had access to today“s technology, they may have been action-horror hybrids from the start. There are still many out there interested in more pure horror experiences, but big names in the industry are less enthused. Why cater to a smaller portion of the market when you can hit many more targets with the action genre? If you feel like a stranded horror fan then maybe you should look toward independent games. Indie developers are not beholden to any audience and create whatever they want. As of late, they are especially interested by horror. Here is a list of five upcoming games looking to please fans of horror. A Short Tale of Solitude Starting off the list is A Short Tale of Solitude which seems to draw more from literary and cinematic worlds than games. As such, it definitely looks like something set to surprise many gamers. It is set during World War I as a young French boy named Sebastian loses both his parents. He goes to live in an orphanage in which children rule and engage in pretty grisly rituals. The game itself is set to play out as a point-and-click adventure all in black and white. Then there are the children of the orphanage, who disturbingly look much more like wooden dolls than children. Sebastien, as well, takes this form. Phobia Interactive implies that this is due to him being a “sick” child, imagining safer things to help distance himself from the true horror unfolding in front of him. A Short Tale of Solitude was hoped to see completion in January, but will now hopefully arrive a bit later this year. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Amnesia: The Dark Descent terrified gamers nearly three years ago. Although it was not the first game to place gamers into such a powerless character running from a stalking being, it definitely managed to be the most popular. Finally, developer thechineseroom is nearing completion on their next game: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs. Although not a direct sequel, it is set to play off the same universe they already built up. It takes place in 1899 as a man returns from a disastrous trip. Instead of returning home to heal, his mind is filled with images he can“t control - images of a strange machine. From there, the game looks to draw off the existing puzzle and hiding gameplay that fans have come to expect. Currently, the game is set to be out in the 2nd quarter of 2013. Among the Sleep Among the Sleep is a game which has been just under the radar for years now. Having won multiple festival awards over the years, Krillbite Studios have been working hard to perfect their surreal experience. The game centers around a two year old child who lets their imagination get the best of them late at night. While in control of the child, players will begin to experience a wide variety of strange and scary occurrences. As the small child you must work to overcome the surreal phantasms and stay safe from danger. That may be hard though, considering how powerful the imagination of little children is. Do you remember some of the spooky stuff you imagined at young ages? Hopefully Among the Sleep manages to capture youthful fears well. There is no date announced for its release but the game is said to be coming soon. Shadow of a Soul Vivec Entertainment“s Shadow of a Soul is looking to create an episodic horror tale. It also happens to be the first on the list which isn“t a PC exclusive (also aiming for PS3). In the first episode, players focus on a thief attempting a heist. As he explores, the realization quickly dawns on him that things are not right. Whatever is there with him won“t let him leave, either. Players will progress through the game with adventure game style control. Despite this, the game has 3D environments and looks fairly like a “modern” game. Ghosts are an underutilized entity in games so hopefully Shadow of a Soul uses them effectively. The episodic series will be a trilogy and Chapter 1 currently has a release date of May 2013. http://youtu.be/tenpLSKU-9U Slender: The Arrival Last year, a new horror phenomenon sparked in the form of Slender: The Eight Pages. Although the Slenderman character and surrounding modern mythos are not exactly fresh, the game managed to introduce many to the thin, well-dressed monster. It also showed that horror in its purest state has no requirement of good graphics or compelling storyline. Developer Mark Hadley was not content to let his original game be the end and is currently working on Slender: The Arrival. This time around, the game is going to be a more polished experience. An actual narrative is infused by the writers of the Marble Hornets web series, as well as the game getting a complete graphical overhaul. Although fans were happy enough with the original Slender, this is an attempt to make the game as Hadley envisioned it (but was unable to create on his own). Slender: The Arrival will be out on March 26th. It“s easy to see that horror is still a big deal in the gaming world. With big names shunning the genre, it only leaves more room for indie developers to flourish. This list is only the start, as there are many other horror games also hoping to launch this year. Some other intriguing titles are: Asylum, Memory of a Broken Dimension, Routine, and Stasis. As long as there is still a thriving community of horror fans in the gaming world (and there always will be) then someone out there will keep creating horror games!
  3. Those aware of just how many games based off of Slenderman probably wish the lanky boogeyman would just disappear. However, not all such games are created equal. Slender: The Arrival has the possibility to be one of the better games as it actually has gotten creative input from the people behind the Slenderman web series Marble Hornets. Unfortunately, we haven't seen much of the game so far outside of the teaser trailer. If you've been curious about what the game has to offer then there's no need to wait and see. Blue Isle Studios have announced that the game is now in beta. In order to get in, you must pre-order the game. Those who spend $5 or more toward their pre-order will be granted immediate access to the game as it currently stands. There are a handful of purchase tiers available as well for those really willing to dig into their wallets. Here is a list of the five purchase tiers available, each of which has immediate beta access as well as a digital copy upon release: $5: Get the game at its pre-order discount. $10: Retail cost. $15: Get digital copy of soundtrack when game launches. $25: Five high resolution paintings. $60: Name listed in credits. Because the beta is out in the wild, a fairly long beta video was also released. This serves as a good way for prospective buyers to make sure that Slender: The Arrival is something they want to put money toward. Get spooked by watching it here:
  4. In an era where the survival horror genre has largely become more action-oriented than fear-inducing, it's good to see games like Slender: The Eight Pages come along to give us a much-needed scare. As a free game with such a limited budget, it's also one of the most horrifying experiences the genre has seen in recent years. It looks like it'll be greatly overshadowed pretty soon, though, as its sequel - Slender: The Arrival - has finally been given a teaser trailer. And holy crap does it look terrifying... http://youtu.be/tenpLSKU-9U As the trailer shows, Slender: The Arrival not only has a much greater production value than the original, thanks to the collaboration between Parsec Productions and Blue Isle Studios, but also seems to add new characters than we were previously aware of. Aside from the obvious Slender Man chase, there is also some type of malevolent, opposing character roaming around who can apparently be stunned by the player's flashlight. As we already know, this game will feature a story written by none other than the creators of the popular Slender Man web-series Marble Hornets. And if you've been keeping up with that series, you may have an idea of what sort of character this might be. Unlike Slender: The Eight Pages, the follow-up will not be free. So if you feel like wetting your pants and want a cure for that thing you do called sleeping, save up your money and keep an eye out for the Slender Man's next arrival sometime early this year. Are you ready for some more Slender Man?
  5. Slender was a phenomenon when it launched earlier in the year. Despite being a relatively small indie game with somewhat crude graphics, it managed to entertain a lot of people. With so much positive reaction, Parsec Productions would have been remiss to not do more work. With the aid of Blue Isle Studio, they have gone to work on Slender: The Arrival. However, they now have an even greater asset - the team behind Marble Hornets. If you're unfamiliar with the whole "Slenderman" phenomena, which is the basis for Slender, then here's a brief primer. Basically, the character was created via the SomethingAwful forums and turned into a sort of modern myth. Although the posts initially contained only text, then photos and audio, Joseph DeLange, Troy Wagner, and Tim Sutton decided to contribute something even better. Their web series, titled Marble Hornets, was created and is still continuing. Although the group did not create Slenderman, they did push the fictitious character into an even creepier, almost believable light. With this very popular group now working on the script for Slender: The Arrival original, fans should expect this version to be better than the original. The game is basically a remake, upgrading the graphics, expanding locations, and adding to the story and puzzles to make it feel more complete. Currently, the game is expected to launch early next year.
  6. Just a few months ago, Slender: The Eight Pages popped out from the shadows and became a horror phenomenon. The short, experimental (and free!) indie game gives you one goal: to find all eight pages. The catch is that you must do so through dark, scary woods with the terrifying Slender Man stalking you down. It looks like creator, Mark "AgentParsec" Hadley is already remaking Slender... and turning it into a commercial release. This remake for PC is titled Slender: The Arrival and will feature enhanced visuals, more levels, and a further in-depth storyline. It will be conjointly developed by ParsecProductions and Blue Isle Studios, who eagerly states that "... [it] will engage players with the same terrifying gameplay, while adding a complete gaming experience that the fans have been asking for. We have been working closely with Mark over the past few weeks and we are really excited to deliver the best Slender game possible." There's no release date yet, but Blue Isle Studios gives us a vague time frame of "in the coming months." For now, have two screenshots of the upcoming game! What do you think about Slender: The Eight Pages getting a remake/updated version so soon after its initial release?