Release date: 2016
Version played: Xbox One in 2017
A first person psychological horror game, Layers of Fear was developed by the Bloober Team and released in 2016. The player controls an artist who returns to his former home in order to complete a painting as he collects mementos from his past. As the game is a horror game, things are not always as they seem, and the mansion itself seems to change around him, where puzzles are required in order to find out more about the painter’s past.
+ simply put, the game looks great. The lighting is phenomenal and the dark shadows only add to the eldritch mansion. The physics on display for when things start getting weird are also impressive; even when floating in mid air things can be bumped into and moved around before they plummet back to earth
+ fantastic sound design, whether it is the player character’s footsteps or the far off giggling of children. Playing with headphones is definitely the best way to appreciate the sounds in this game
+ I really enjoyed piecing the story together through various mementos in the environment. Although I do wish there was a bit more detail towards the end to piece it together more, there was enough to make a mostly coherent story from
– overall, the game is just not scary. In my five-ish hours of playtime, only one thing managed to actually scare me, and it was more or less a jump scare. The jump-scares are accompanied by a loud noise every time, so it is only fair to jump when it happens, but they become so predictable that even the noises soon become more of an annoyance than anything else
– after chapter three or four (there are six overall) the game really loses steam and has an over-reliance on its only real “enemy”. But even then, there is no real way to fail the game; you are are guaranteed to get AN ending no matter what you do in the game
– there is no replay value, at all. After my first playing, of a few hours, I managed to run through the whole game in under one hour in order to get the various collectibles
> the influences from P.T., the cancelled Silent Hills demo, are apparent very early. Particularly when it comes to the game’s main enemy
Should you play this game: This was one of the free games for Xbox Live, so I can’t comment on a monetary value. However, I can say it is very short, and full of cheap jump scares, and overall not really worth a play over any other horror game.