A New Inventory System ' Players utilize the pockets of protagonist Edward Carnby to hold items which they can view, switch and combine without leaving the game.
Narrative intensity ' Taking its cues from blockbuster TV dramas, the story is told in a TV season style narrative structure based around episodes that deliver maximum intensity throughout and keep the player hooked.
A Captivating Story ' Centered in iconic Central Park long-time series protagonist and paranormal specialist Edward Carnby returns to delve into the frightening events occurring in the Big Apple.
Real World Rules ' In-Game movement has been designed to allow players to do almost anything that is physically possible in the real world.
Photographic Rendering ' Game developer Eden's Propriety 'Twilight' technology creates a lavishly detailed game world with highly realistic and advanced cinematographic effects.
Alone in the Dark has a lot of nice, unique ideas which are overwhelmed by a second-rate storyline and a frustrating control system.
Graphics are not spectacular but are still very impressive. The game requires a solid graphic card and those who hope to get around with a so-so model will have to suffer through a series of clumsy motions and mishabs. The one that worked out for me was XFX GeForce 8800 GT Alpha Dog edition. I also tried the game with Radeon X1600 but it was quite slow.
Alone in the Dark lets you do a variety of actions with items. For instane, you can use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire or to smack someone in the head. You'll also come across conventional weapons like a handgun and an axe. One of the cool things I liked was throwing a bottle of inflammable liquid and shooting it mid-air. Since fire is the only tool that can kill off a demon for good, this trick comes in handy, especially when enemies are in groups. You can also pick up a handkerchief, combine it with vodka to make a molotov cocktail. Other things you can use include adhesive tapes, batteries for the flashlight, and so on.
My favorite in this game is the inventory system. Carnby is allowed to have only what he can carry in his jacket, which is unusually believable for a video game. And the jacket has different compartments in which only certain items will fit. For instance, you cannot put a vodka bottle where the flashlight should be. This is also where you can use your healing items, namely a spray. You can choose which wound to tend to (although I'd imagine you'd want to get to all eventually.) If a cut is deep, it will use up the spray a lot more.Read more ›
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Greatness yanked down by poor decisionsAug. 1 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Most people attribute the start of the Survival Horror genre to Resident Evil. While you can trace the birth of Survival Horror back far, far before that game (to Sweet Home or, if you want to stretch it, to Haunted House in 1981), modern Survival Horror games were firmly established by the first Alone in the Dark. Since that first game, though, the series has been an up and down roller coaster that never seemed to be able to outmatch some of the better known and more famous franchises like Resident Evil or Silent Hill.
So, when Eden Games started to work on reinventing the franchise, I was cautiously optimistic. A lot of the ideas and concepts they spoke of seemed like great ideas, and they seemed to be trying to Do Something Different. Unfortunately, the sum is not greater than its parts and Alone in the Dark, while reaching for the stars, can't stay afloat.
Things begin appropriately apocalyptic. Edward Carnby awakens in some hotel with some bad men arguing about cryptic shenanigans. Carnby, no longer useful, is led up to the roof to be executed but before that can happen, bad juju hits the fan as a "scar" tears through the building. From here, this first episode really picks up as you're trying to escape the building alive.
Here is where the goodness lies. Alone in the Dark has a great opening that's appropriately cinematic but in such a way that only games can do. The building starts to fall apart, you have to run and jump your way to safety, climb along the outside of the building while debris tumbles and while watching cars below you explode. You learn how Eden Games created some appropriately realistic fire for the game as you watch it spread and have to put it out or use it as a weapon. You'll see things happen to the various rooms you're in that will make you want to believe you're watching a cinematic, not playing through a game. It's very cool.
And then you try to move.
Movement is the worst part of the game. Actually moving feel as if you're controlling a drunk, disobedient person. Another problem comes in the form of switching perspectives. Melee is in third person (and horribly implemented; you'll be hit a lot more than you'll actually hit) and incredibly sluggish. Fighting monsters becomes a chore, one you'll grow to hate because as the game progresses, you'll learn that basically all monsters can only die via fire. So, grab that chair, light it on fire and swing away...hoping you hurt it more than it hurts you. Similarily, gun fights are also not terrific as you have to pop into first person whenever you want to shoot someone. No lock and pop here.
Likewise, if walking around makes you feel like a drunk, driving is a good approximation of drunk driving, I believe. The controls are incredibly loose and in the first driving portion of the game, loose controls isn't a good idea. What should be an exciting escape sequence that involves the ground behind you exploding, tears appearing across the streets, buildings collapsing, fire, death explosions, cats and dogs sleeping together turns into frustration as you'll probably find yourself repeating the episode. Over. And Over. From the beginning. It loses its fun and becomes a chore.
Towards the end of the game, the game pulls a Zelda: Wind Waker moment and has you hunting down certain things and destroying them in an effort, one has to assume, to artificially lengthen the game. If there's one thing that Alone in the Dark does exceptionally well, it's the pacing. When you hit this moment it's like running smack dab into a brick wall. It's sad.
There's a lot going for Alone in the Dark, don't get me wrong. The inventory system is a cool innovation. The whole episodic "TV show/DVD" feel is perfect, with DVD-style menus complemented by the ability to switch to any episode you like. The graphics are pretty decent, as is the engine it's running on. Some cool, small features, like the ability to blink your eyes is very effective during some sequences. And the pacing--for the most part--is perfect; it can really get your adrenaline going...until you're forced to repeat the same thing over and over again.
I really wanted to like Alone in the Dark. I didn't honestly think that Eden Games would elevate the game to the front of the pack, but there was enough little things and innovations that I thought maybe it'd be a good game. When I played it, I was amazed. Eden Games wanted no less than to shoot for the moon and make the most ambitious Survival Horror game yet. Unfortunately, reality is sometimes like gravity and unfortunately Alone in the Dark isn't the masterpiece I, and Atari, I'm sure, was hoping for. Definitely give it a rent, but I'd hold off on purchasing it.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
What the...June 27 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Alone in the Dark is a game that should have worked...get a new developer to reboot a series that apparently took a nosedive a while back, and you can easily fail. I was even willing to put my doubts aside that I'd heard about the Xbox version when I heard that despite the faults, the storytelling wasn't that bad...
There's a problem however. While developing this game, the developers missed the advent of the third-person action genre, with games like "Gears of War." They missed how you worked with camera for such games, how the controls work, and how gunplay works. The controls are as unfriendly as they come, with movement relying on the fact that you're supposed to act as though the camera was behind our hero Edward, even if it's halfway across the room. You do not get used to this, at all. Doesn't help he handles like a truck either...
The combat, as I played, basically amounted to me and the other uglies taking turns batting each other over the head, repeatedly. I'd barely come out on top, and wasn't even sure how to heal. To add to that, it took me a while to figure out how to use the fire extinguisher as an extinguisher, not a blunt object...wasn't very clear on that point, I'll tell you that.
A lot of people are knocking the driving sections, but personally, I actually found this the least problematic...after you got the bloody car started that is. Not all cars have keys, and the hotwiring isn't so easy to do when you've got baddies closing in fast. But if you played Halo on the PC way back when, it handles about as well as those Warthogs did, just there's some obstacle issues you encounter that dampen it a bit.
As far as storytelling goes...eh, it's there, but the horror was lacking, and the controls made me to frustrated to appreciate the story, and I am HUGE nut about storytelling, so that goes a long way.
Basically, if you really want this game, go buy the first one, or whatever one was the thing that made people love this series so much...if I didn't know better, I'd swear Uwe Boll got involved with this game's gameplay as much as he did the movie...unfortunately, I think this series just might have to be left "Alone in the Dark" for a little while longer.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely PATHETIC waste of potential. Someone needs a beating.June 27 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I love these types of games: the survival horror genre. The sad thing is, they are few and far between these days, especially on PC. I was eagerly anticipating this game, although the last AITD for PC was absolutely horrible. I should've learned, but the graphics for this one looked great and the inventory system looked cool.
I never thought to question the controls. In 2008, you'd think a game developer would understand how to make fluid controls, especially for the PC. Not the idiots who completely screwed up this game. The controls just destroy the entire game. The worst part for me is, in third person mode, you CANNOT USE YOUR MOUSE to move your character! You can only move him with the direction keys. Just about every modern game I can think of with a third person mode allows you to turn your character with the mouse. Not since the late 90s have I encountered a game that won't let you do this. It is incredibly unnatural and makes things amazingly difficult. I thought I'd try to play the game in first person mode, where you CAN turn your character with the mouse...but the game is always switching you back and forth, whether you want to or not. It's just horrendous.
The sad thing is, there are a lot of good ideas here and a lot of cool set pieces. But without good controls that feel like second nature, WHO CARES?? A game is absolutely ruined without a great control scheme, and this game is a prime example. What really stinks for me is that I bought a digital download of this abomination, so I am out 50 bucks. Never again. Don't support this kind of crap, and hopefully some developer with working synapses will make the great survival horror game we've been waiting for. THis one ain't it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
walking in the darkJune 30 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
when i first started playing i said to myself something is wrong..the controls are terrible , and its a shame because the rest of the game seems pretty darn good.the graphics and different camera angles when you are on the side of the building were great, if only the whole game was like that.The driving was good and the action happening around you while driving was great, but those damn controls and fighting..uh.oh..my..even worse...i kept saying to myself please dont let there be a guy waiting for me up ahead, knowing if i had to fight it was going to ruin my experience. its a shame really because this game has lots to offer and i did see some new things ive never seen before and want to play more but...those damn controls and fighting scheme....the madness!!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Don't BotherJuly 21 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I had such high hopes for this game after seeing the trailers with the awesome fire effects. I couldn't get it to run initially and my e-mail to Atari support went unanswered, to this day even. Finally I posted on a forum and someone helped me there, so now it runs. Unfortunately, as others have stated, the controls are horrible. Luckily, the monsters are slow and stupid, so while you fumble about pushing half your keyboard, the monster stumbles and groans and every once in a while swipes or regurgitates at you. Finally you get him in the fire and he dies for good. I haven't persisted to get to the driving sequences, but I hear those are similarly flawed. Its not very often I buy a game before its released, and after this experience I probably won't again. "Nice" job, Atari!