Last summer the denizens internet received the joy of being afraid of the forest. The reason was the viral hit Slender: The Eight Pages, an indie horror game based on The Slender Man. The minimalistic survival horror soon became a favorite among Let’s Players and even became the first Indie game to be reviewed on Toonami. Now almost a year later, Parsec Productions and Blue Isle Studio have teamed up to bring us Slender: The Arrival.
Slender: The Arrival is the sequel/full-version of the game that came out last summer. Where Slender: The Eight Pages was only one level with a single gameplay type, its sequel features multiple levels and locations with a variety of goals. Also notable is the inclusion of a full plot for the game. In the first game it really isn’t clear who you are or why you are doing what you are doing. In The Arrival, you are looking for your friend Kate, who has gone missing. You look for clues to find out what happened to her while being stalked by The Slender Man.
The gameplay in this game is similar to the last but is masterfully given variety. The core of it is to find a number of items and collect/activate them. In the prologue you will be looking for clues. In the level after that you will be collecting eight pages of notes on Slender Man in the forest just like in the original game. In another level you will be activating generators. I won’t spoil the rest of the game, but just know that it isn’t the same old grind.
Starting with the first level you will meet your enemies. The first you will encounter is The Slender Man himself. While you are collecting pages, he will be following you. The closer to your goal you get, the closer your predator gets to you. If you look at him for too long, he will capture you and the game will be over. In the generator level I mentioned, the developers have added a new enemy. The enemy is one of Slender Man’s underlings, a proxy if you will. Unlike The Slender Man, it will actively chase you and pounce on you. The only way to stay safe from it is to focus your flashlight on it.
The gameplay at its core is very minimalistic. From a first-person perspective, you can crouch and sprint. Most everything else in the game will be done by left-clicking on it. It’s as simple as it is effective. The folks behind this game knows that you don’t need a ton of bells and whistles in a good horror game. I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 6.
Speaking of simple, the story was done well in this game. The game does a great job of environmental storytelling like Fallout and Portal. There’s very little dialogue, yet it’s not confusing. You’re only in the dark when the game wants you to be. Like all other good horror games, it knows that sometimes you have to sit back and let the player’s imagination do the work.
On the graphical side of things, Slender: The Arrival is a huge upgrade from the previous game. For a horror game, there are some beautiful scenes in the game. But when the moment calls for it, your environment can be dismal and great at conveying tension. I really love how Slender Man looks a lot more realistic and less static than he was in the first game. The cutscenes are also great, though not much of an upgrade from the graphics of the regular gameplay.
The sound in this game is one of its strong points. Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes you’re not scared by what you see, but what you imagine. The sound effects in this game do a great job of stimulating that imagination. Every step you take is clearly audible. If you let it, the sound of yourself walking will scare you all by itself. Then there are the ambient sound effects that come to signal your enemy coming closer to killing you. This really works well in bringing up the tension. I’m pretty sure I’ve shaved a few years off of my life by playing this game.
Coming from someone who isn’t a huge horror fan…I really like this game. I liked the first game and this one is five times better. For what it is, Slender: The Arrival is pretty close to a perfect horror game. I plan on playing it some more. Hopefully I can get the hardcore ending.
- Perfect in terms of execution and atmosphere
- Nuances in goals keeps gameplay from getting stale
- Two endings
- Is not free, which means it won’t be as popular as The Eight Pages
- Method for opening doors is a bit awkward
Article from Gamersyndrome.com