Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dread [Alpha] by databrain

It's certainly been a while since I've last done a post in general but I guess that's what life and a lack of things to write about does to you. Today we're taking a look at databrain's second attempt at a horror game, Dread. This seems to technically be my first "horror" game related post so it should be fun. One thing to keep in mind is this game is in Alpha if it wasn't made apparent enough by the "[Alpha]" in the title. Without further ado let's take a look into Dread. It should also be noted I will not be talking about the whole game, and only the first few chapters or so.

The game's intro while a little long, shows just how much of an improvement this is over the first game databrain did, Only the The Death of Us. With an eerie piano tune playing in the background and some ~spooky~ visual effects on the side, along with some ambiguous and cryptic words.

After waking up in what I would assume is home, a note is found, giving some information about the player character. Also a flashlight is present, which can be toggled on and off, notes have their own menu as well. Once you actually exit the house, the game finally begins. You enter what appears to be a water maintenance tunnel, I won't drone on too long about the first chapter since it introduces you to the maze-like nature of the game nicely enough, simple key and key card puzzles.

Once you actually get to Chapter "3" though, things start to get a bit more interesting. For those confused about the "arachnophobia" warning, this is where it comes in. Basically, network of tunnels with giant spiders here and there, while you have to find a keycard, and open a door to escape the level. I have taken the liberty of providing a picture of said spider so incase you encounter it you won't be as scared out of your wits.

The next part if I remember correctly is just some generator puzzles to get into an elevator, and I won't spoil what happens later on but let's just say the monsters have been in his previous game, and expect some predictable "scares." Expect some interesting changes of scenery though, even if the game cuts off a bit too early even if it's in "50%". But, it's an alpha so what are you gonna do?

Dread is definitely a step above the previous effort of "horror" by databrain. I wouldn't call it great, or exceptional, but it's good, sure. The sound direction and sense of atmosphere is leagues better though. Even if the building and scenery need more variety which is an issue of mine sort of solved later on, I wouldn't really call it a horror game honestly. The only real "scares" are done from the game's sound design unless you count a spider jumping out of nowhere and monsters already seen in the game previously as "oh no spooky".

As it stands the game isn't perfect, nor is it bad. There just needs to be more effort for "scares" and yes I understand it's in alpha but I'm just getting this criticism out of the way. To sum it up, I would recommend you try the game in it's current state and judge for yourself since I sincerely doubt I'm serving it any kind of justice with my half-baked overview of the game.

The next thing I'll be tackling is hard to say, maybe Distilled when it gets into a more complete state. Or I could always drone on about Base War's sense of balance, why not? The possibilities are endless!