As of late, I would say I’ve become more of a fan of ‘scary’ video games – perhaps it’s something to do with getting braver the older you get (although I’m only 22) or that the scare market has gone up within the video game sector. Either way, I was intrigued when I heard about Layers of Fear and watched a Let’s Play on YouTube.
Layers of Fear is created by Bloober Team (they’ve released 7 other video games since 2010 but none I’ve heard of – great start) and published by . The game centers around a washed up painter who was trying to create his greatest painting and it’s up to the player to find out how he did it by navigating through a Victorian mansion. As the games progresses, the player discovers more about the painter along with his family – his wife and daughter.
The game is divided into six chapters – at the end of each chapter, you discover what the painter used to create his pièce de résistance and reveal each layer of the painting and how it progressed (ha ha, clever, right?). It is quite a tragic tale however. His wife – a musician of sorts – was sadly caught in a fire and disfigured. Naturally, this impacted their relationship – leaving them both to unravel. The painter became an alcoholic due to the slaughtering of his work from the media and his inability of not being able to step up to the place where his once was.
This is game is mainly jump scares, puzzle solving and environmental exploration. But I wouldn’t necessarily say in the most way. I will agree that the ‘scariness’ of this game is more psychological disturbing rather than making me jump out of my skin when you see a figure lurking in the shadows or have a knife thrown at you when your back is turned. You discover that as time when on and the painter slowly become less successful he became, the more disturbed he was – so much so that he would scribble notes about how rats are the bane of his existence. Supposedly, this game has different outcomes (which I have no idea what they depend on) such as the mother never actually being seen however the daughter became disfigured.
The puzzles aren’t much to write home about – while watching the playthrough (it was YOGSCAST Kim and Hannah’s Fright Night playthrough if you were wondering) I found that the puzzles were easy – for instance in one part of the game, a telephone is involved, however it’s old, ring dial one rather than push buttons and wait for the dial-tone. Anyway, to progress through the level, they had to find a 3 digit code that help them answer the next phone, however they found each one pretty much straight away – even in a chaotic room of staircases made out of book shelves.
The environment was the main highlight of the game. It was beautiful to look at (it was made in the Unity engine) but psychological horror made more of an impact here – there would be times when everything within the room would start floating or you would walk up to paintings and they shift into something else. But I really loved was when you would walk into a room and find many doors – you could try all of them and they would be locked or have a brick wall behind them, but as soon as you turned your back, the door would disappear or a different door in a different place would appear. That was pretty clever.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, exploration and little tidbits you could find around the mansion however the execution is where the game was lacking for me – I didn’t jump at all while watching and trust me, I’m the worst (I’ll let on a little secret – the first time I watched a playthrough of Five Nights at Freddie’s, I didn’t sleep that night). It’s a good looking game and extremely disturbing in places – especially when you find out what the painter has been using to create his magnum opus – but it just didn’t scare me all that much. I also felt like the game borrowed too much from other video games, such as P.T., Silent Hill and Amnesia. I don’t really think I’ll be playing this game myself any time soon I still enjoyed watching it. Also, the ending – it’s very much open to interpretation which made me feel a little bit dissatisfied. Of course, I have a theory on it but I don’t wish to spoil the game for other people, so if you’d like to discuss it, feel free to message me/leave a comment.
Overall, it’s a good game but has the potential to be a great game if certain things were removed or revamped. I would say it’s a better Let’s Play to watch rather than play it yourself, but that’s just my personal opinion.
Layers of Fear was released on February 16th on PC, PS4, Xbox One, OS X and Linux.
That’s it for me this week folks – hope you enjoyed! Feel free to like and comment. Take care until next week!