2Dark, Retro Inspired, Horror Engaging
2Dark Game Details
Genre: Action, Horror
Release Date: March 10th 2017
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2Dark is a grim journey of stealth and courage into the heart of corruption. Plagued by a string of child abductions, darkness hangs over the once-picturesque city of Gloomywood like a curse. As former detective Mr. Smith, use your cunning to infiltrate six bastions of cruelty. Uncover the secrets of the deranged psychopaths within, seek retribution for their crimes, and bring the children to safety.
2Dark is now available for PlayStation 4 Windows via Steam and Xbox One. The Steam platform and a PlayStation 4 controller were the set up for this review.
2Dark is the latest entry into the declining survival Horror gaming genre. Over the years major developers have crippled sales by infusing action into Horror. Muti-player fast paced combat have taken precedent over stealth and puzzle solving tactics.
Realism and gore are the centerpieces in games such as DeadSpace and Resident Evil. With 2Dark the developers aimed for a casual approach in visuals and game mechanics. The game digs into the survival Horror roots by incorporating stealth, and caution. Confronting enemies and maneuvering obstacles are key decisions to consider.
As with most survival Horror titles, 2Dark gives the player access to a slate of weapons. Make wise decisions in choosing weapons, picking the wrong one may prove fatal. A resourceful inventory is also present in the game. Items can combine to accommodate situations. For example; find yourself in a dark lit room, try combining batteries with the flashlight.
2Dark has an M rating for its mature themes. From a personal view, 2Dark suits well for pre-teen age demographic. 2Dark is tame in comparison with most M rated games on the market.
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2Dark offers an overhead view retro 8-bit experience. The graphics are best compared to a Saturday morning cartoon, entertaining and nostalgic. While 2Dark is a survival Horror game it becomes easy to forget the mature theme while playing the game. This is a welcome approach to the design.
Tension becomes the driving mechanism for 2Dark. Environments are cast in low lighting and random hazards keep players on edge. Raw carnage remains at a basic level. Sometimes gore and violence become an exhausted contribution to the gaming experience. In 2Dark there’s the typical blood splattered walls and dismembered body parts. Yet the retro feel dilutes those gut-wrenching visuals.
The renders are appealing from an extended overhead view. Yet, zoomed in the characters appeared blocked and choppy. Running the game at high definition settings this was a surprising revelation.
Players must venture to predetermined maze-like environments. There is no open world exploration here. The maps are repetitive with the only difference being the layouts and objectives. Maps vary from a fun house to a six-level high rise building. The player gets acquainted with this form of gameplay with the introductory level. The protagonist’s home serves as the training ground.
The control scheme for 2Dark is easy and intuitive. Unsure how this applies to PC gamers using a keyboard and mouse. Yet, using a PlayStation, Steam or Xbox the learning curve is straightforward.
Accessing the inventory is easy and so is switching between weapons. Its important to note, a neat inventory helps in those combat intensive moments. The combat scheme is rough. A targeting system is lacking. Sure firing off a series of bullets will take down the enemy. It would be resourceful to have an added edge for critical shots. Although the on-screen instructions are direct stealth attacks don’t always work.
2Dark has a straightforward narrative. Before the game begins an opening provides the backstory to the protagonist, Mr. Smith. The introduction also delves into the tragedies surrounding the fictitious town, Gloomywood.
The word “basic” sums Mr. Smith’s crusade to dish out his own brand of vigilantism. Mr. Smith’s quest is to find the evildoers and put an end to their terrorizing reign. Rescuing children also ties into his goal.
Each antagonizing force has a brief summary. Yet, there is nothing gripping and/or influential about them that stands out to the player. The developers for 2Dark provide emphasis on the protagonist. This left the supporting cast with no support to the story at all.
Clues obtained from quests piece together to compose one narrative. Depending on the interest of the player this may or may not be of interest. To some collecting clues may serve as progression in the game.
The cut scenes before the start of each level is a brief voice-over monologue. The voice actor portrays the role of Mr. Smith. Once again players can skip this part of the game if it serves little interest to them.
2Dark provides enough on plot and characters. This is common with most retro and retro-stylized video games. The information conveyed is not complex or too basic.
4. Originality / Redefining
Does 2Dark stand as redefining? Not quite. The template based gameplay and design hinders any chance of being different. Yet, as a survival Horror candidate, 2Dark does stand out as an original. The contributing factor lies with the storyline and character development. Both the protagonist and antagonizing forces are interesting. Each has enough backstory to keep the interest alive.
5. Overall Experience
There’s quite a lot to do in 2Dark to keep players entertained. Countless hours can pass with ease while engaged in gameplay. The missions are basic yet challenging on the first run. Figuring out the location of clues and abductees are core missions. Gameplay shifts from being lax to engaging in an instant. Once the action moments are in play 2Dark becomes a different entity.
Most of the dedicated time go into exploring the map. The soundtrack is subtle and works well in ramping tension.
The voice over acting is professional in delivery. The monologue is power and projects a sense of callousness and urgency. Yet, the script does come off as cliché. That’s expected given the vibe projected with the general content.
7. Scare Factor
Delivered with success are the occasional jump scares. There were moments where the scare factor did catch this author by surprise. The reason for this is simple. Players will become engrossed with exploration and collecting clues. The developers know this to be the case. Surprises are provided along the way to break concentration. For instance, trap doors and shotgun toting sentries lie hidden under cover of darkness. Also if a stealth attack proves unsuccessful the player must run and regroup or face death.
8. Replay Value
2Dark lacks in replay value. That’s unless you’re the type of gamer that collects every in-game achievement. Once familiarity with the mission levels has establishment all fear factor are void. If the option for alternate paths and endings were open 2Dark would have replay potential.
9. In conclusion
2Dark is a welcome addition to the survival Horror genre. The visuals pay homage to vintage video gaming. The aesthetics parallel a Nintendo DS video game. In fact, an added onscreen map would have been a nice addition. The developers went to great lengths to create a tension filled presentation.
2Dark has M rating yet it serves well as a casual introduction to survival Horror gaming. With the easy controls and basic narrative 2Dark targets a wide age demographic. Violent content is evident but its not blunt in fashion or execution. The downside to the game is the replay value.