Games in the horror genre (“horror”- eng.) there are so many. Many players just love it when developers take a good scare, so constantly looking for new thrills. But what happens if you make a video game, the main character is a blind man? When you can’t see the source of danger, and can only hear him. How this concept fits into an established genre? This is the question we will try to find the answer and help us in this recently released for PS4, Xbox One and PC video game called Perception, which is responsible for developing Studio the Deep End Games.
The Deep End Games was founded by bill and Amanda Signed who began working on the game of Perception in the basement of his house, in the free education of four children time. Previously they worked on games of the famous series of BioShock in the walls of the Studio Irrational Games. Later they were joined by some of their former colleagues from different studios, put your hand to such hits as Mortal Kombat, Dead Space, Rock Band and other games. In 2015 they launched crowdfunding campaign to raise funds on the portal Kickstarter ended successfully. Completion and polishing of the game the team took a little more than two years.
The game Perception is a blind girl Cassandra “Cassie” Thornton. For several months she sees horrible nightmares in which she is a mysterious mansion Echo Bluff in the port town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The estate with a long history often featured in local urban legends, and the inhabitants of Gloucester are trying to ignore it. Rumor has it that Echo Bluff is inhabited by ghosts, and several generations of the dynasty, living in it, are constantly faced with the inexplicable deaths and misfortunes. To once and forever get rid of the nightmarish visions, Cassie decides to meet his fears face to face and explore the abandoned mansion in person.
The concept of the game reminds of adventure Gone Home, Firewatch, What Remains of Edith Finch and similar “simulation walk” when the plot is served in small portions as the study locations. Developers do not hide that scooped inspiration in games Fatal Frame, Silent Hill 2, and in the cult films “the Shining”, “call”, “Something” and “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind”. As Cassie’s completely blind, she has to use his cane, tapping on the surfaces around them and creating sound waves. From the reflections of these sound waves is the picture of the world. Echolocation is often found in wildlife, e.g. bats, shrews, dolphins and other animals. Something similar we also saw in the movie “Daredevil” with Ben Affleck and in the video game Beyond Eyes, which I told you a couple of years ago.
Once inside the mansion, Cassie realizes that in addition to her there is something else. Something that is almost impossible to explain from a rational point of view. Perhaps the old legends about the ghosts of the old mansion is not really lying? She hears voices coming from the walls, faced with supernatural phenomena, but despite covering her terror continues to unravel the mysteries of Echo Bluff and to unravel the mysteries of his past. The study of the mansion helping her smartphone, which features a Delphi application. Once you have come across text documents or plates, they can be photographed, and then a special algorithm will recognize the text and read it aloud. In cases when you need to study photography or painting, to help Cassie comes online community “Eyes of friends”: a girl associated with the operators of volunteers who, looking at the world through the camera of her smartphone, in your own words describe what they see.
Since childhood, Cassie has a rare gift. She knows how to activate “the sixth sense” and knows exactly what direction to go to achieve their goal. This built-in in the main character’s navigation system is activated by a separate button on the controller and won’t let you get lost in a world of eternal darkness. Do not expect that a white cane will help you out permanently. After all, the more and louder you’re going to knock it, the faster you will attract the attention of otherworldly entities that inhabit the mansion. But if they open on you hunting, have to frantically run and seek shelter, for example, to get into the closet, the Laundry basket or to hide behind the curtains. Especially scary to me was when I was in the room, completely covered bubble wrap for packing. Try to walk through this room without making noise and without attracting attention.
“The sixth sense” superpowers Cass is not limited. She is able to touch specific items that were to her in dreams, and how to travel back into the distant past. At that time, lived in the house owners of these items. Together with them she is going to relive their tragedy, gradually moving to understanding what really happened in Echo Bluff centuries ago. Occasionally Cass would be faced with puzzles, for example, you need to find the code to the safe, but the complexity of them is just ridiculous, and to meet such puzzles are not very often. Which is a pity. By the way, before the game starts, you will be prompted to choose one of the modes: “silent night” — when the main character will be silent, not disturbing you with my thoughts on the events taking place around us, as well as “Talkative Cassie” — she actively discusses all faces.
The main problem of Perception of the game is its monotony. At first, it is very interesting to see the world, woven from sounds. Waves propagating from the strokes of the cane and your own steps, an unusual black-and-blue palette, the need to come to terms with his situation and learn to navigate in space an unusual way – all this is really amusing. But only at first. After an hour you realize that the game repeats the same techniques over and over again. You repeatedly have to look for open doors to get into the next room, read the documents and listen to audio recordings, hide from ghosts and solve simple puzzles. There is an acute shortage of the budget, because the developers gathered on Kickstarter only 165 000 dollars, and has invested in Perception a certain amount from their own pockets. In any case before us is not a AAA game, and a very unusual independent project from a small group of enthusiasts.
Visually the game looks nice, but is unlikely to be able to do something to surprise you. The almost complete lack of textures is quite justified, but the three-dimensional models awkward, and the animation sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. I said to myself crooked Russian subtitles, which from time to time replaced by English phrases, because of what we see on the screen a mess of two languages. But in terms of sound design Perception is beyond praise. Beautifully written and read by the actors, the dialogues forced to empathize with the game characters and sound atmosphere woven so delicately that you are totally immersed in what is happening on the screen and begin to associate themselves with a blind protagonist.
- Unusual game mechanics, using the principle of echolocation.
- An interesting story told in a highly original way.
- Great characters and incredibly atmospheric sound.
- The gameplay keeps in constant tension.
- From a graphical standpoint the game is nothing special stands out.
- Sometimes the gameplay seems too repetitive.
- Puzzles are too simple and rare.
- Serious problems with Russian subtitles.
Perception — unusual horror, trying to bring the genre something new and original. The budget of the project, of course, does not go in his favor. For all the originality of the gameplay mechanics, the game sometimes is not enough entertainment and variety to what the player can just start to yawn. Perception not so much frightening as keeps in constant tension, and does it masterfully. The Studio The Deep End Games has turned out a strong game, which if desired can be completed in three to four hours, but which you are unlikely to want to come back after some time. However, Perception is a very interesting story with hand and tells a real grown-up and fascinating history for those who know how to listen carefully. Put game 7 out of 10.