You know. I have to admit. I wasn’t certain what I was getting myself into when I started playing “2Dark”. Sure, I knew that the game was made by Frédérick Raynal (the same guy who created classics such as “Alone in the Dark” and “Little Big adventure“). I knew is that it was a retro style stealth/horror game with some adult themes, but after reading the initial warning before getting to the start screen what I didn’t know was the game is a pretty damn sadistic, sick and twisted, and oh boy that’s just the start.
You’re greeted with an image of six children all holding hands, crying, and setting the immediate tone for the game, and then you hear the music… Without beating around the bush “2Dark” is a brutally shocking game covering subjects such as child abduction/murder and pedophilia. The things that unfold as you play are not for the faint of heart, the game might shock and disturb you but at the same time intrigue you; as you search for missing children in the town of Gloomywood to save them from a fate worse than death.
You play as a now former detective “Mr. Smith” whose happy life faces tragedy when his wife is brutally murdered and his children are taken away, witnessing their faces disappears into the night in the back of a van…And as years pass he takes it upon himself to solve the strange disappearances and child abductions in the town of Gloomywood. It is here where you uncover the sickening truth as you navigate various levels sticking to the shadows, evading psychopaths (or dishing out your own justice) all the while saving children and leading them to safety and ultimately finding out what happened to your own children.
If I can sum up “2Dark” in a few words, then it would be “A game that would give Freddy Krueger nightmares”. As This game will certainly be a talking point for anyone who plays it, there’re no lines or boundaries, “2Dark” doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to Horror. There is some incredibly disturbing stuff here. Because during the first level, you investigate an abandoned Ghost Train where you find clowns have been kidnapping children. Furthermore, the corridors are pitch black, and you need to keep your flashlight at your side, but at the same time switching it off to remain undetected. I eventually made it to one room where I found a clown whipping three kids into jumping through hoops as they scream and cried (I shot him obviously).
The plot thickens when you find there’s a larger child abduction racket going on (without going into too much detail all I can say from that point on the imagery you see and the things that happen are beyond creepy, and it just gets worse over time). This game isn’t just “dark” it’s pitch black. The atmosphere is incredibly thick and the sounds of children crying from other rooms made the hairs on my neck stand on end. Each level is introduced by Mr. Smith as he gives the lowdown on each area, you soon find that Gloomywood is a shit hole and the things going on there are beyond nightmarish. I state again this really isn’t a game for the faint of heart.
Gameplay requires patience; you can’t burst into places and shoot everyone up Hotline Miami style. So you have to sneak through your surroundings all the while scavenging for anything that can help you such as evidence, weapons and other useful items to help you progress through each area; to ultimately find any children held hostage and lead them to safety.
Encounters can be a tense game of cat and mouse, whilst you do have a handgun, ammo is limited and enemies will nearly always kill you in hand to hand fights. It’s usually best to stick to the shadows and sneak up behind them and stab them in the back resulting in an instant kill. Furthermore, you can also use the environment to your advantage. So whether it’s leading enemies to trap doors or trapping them in cells, be swift about it. As you could end up in a gunfight, and a stray bullet could hit and kill one of the children whom you’re trying to save. In other words, it’s best to plan ahead and not make rash decisions, group them up together then lead them out when the times right.
So It’s very important to save progress often (by smoking) as death can come quite quickly and sometimes unfair ways, whether it’s trap doors, spikes (which have made me jump numerous times) gunshots or other unfortunate events. Yes, you guessed it. “2Dark” can be both difficult and unforgiving, so there is very little room for error and there were times where I thought I wasn’t going be able to beat a certain level. However, I was in the mind-set that if I gave up, these dastardly psychopaths would win, and I couldn’t let that happen. So I persevered through some infuriating moments, which came down to a slog of trial and error.
At the end of each level, you get a star rating, for kids saved, candy found and somehow levels can be beat without any victims (which is bloody hard task given some of the things that happen). There’re also a few annoying issues where I couldn’t instantly leave a room that I just entered especially stairs (which usually resulted in my death and sometimes that last piece of evidence can elude you…So always check your surroundings and your inventory). Other than those minor issues, “2Dark” doesn’t really have any glaring flaws.
I would also like to point out that the more I carried on the sicker the game got. So things get pretty deep as you start making new discoveries and connections, the variety of levels keeps things interesting too. You can’t even guess what’s coming up and to be honest I don’t know how anyone can think up half the stuff in this game. So some players might be put off by the game’s themes, but I found in endearing. It’s different to other horror games a genre that’s been bloated by uninspired shallow shells of games that rely on jump scares for cheap thrills. However, “2Dark” takes things a step further with its narrative and imagery it’s truly a haunting game. It might even be too much for some people, and I would certainly be interested in hearing other gamers experiences.
Because “2Dark” is unlike any other horror game I’ve ever played. As it doesn’t rely on jump scares to do the job. The adult themes the game runs with are something we don’t see in video games often. The mystery that unfolds as you progress makes “2Dark” captivating, unraveling the mystery is just as compelling as what makes the game so horrifying. That’s also why I think that Frédérick Raynal has done a brilliant job with the game, as it possibly even tops the awesomeness of Alone in the Dark. Well, let’s just say that “2Dark” ticks the right boxes; it both repulsed me and demanded my attention it really is a breath of fresh air in the horror franchise, while it might not be to everyone’s taste (Child Murder might be a bit much for some) those looking for a challenging game to play with the lights off under a duvet that will scare you to buggery look no further than “2Dark”.
+ Truly Horrifying
+ Nice level variety
+ Great Art Style
– Can be quite difficult/tedious
– If you have kids, after playing this, you’ll never let them out your site
– You might have nightmares
Replay value: 4/5
Gloomywood’s “2Dark” is a hellish nightmare game that would put Freddy Krueger in an Asylum if he gave it a go.
Release date: 2017-03-10
Difficulty: Medium – Hard
Spent time: +6 hours
Average grade internationally: TBA% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: +18
Price: £25 (£20 is you have PS Plus)
Robin Ek – Editor
The review code was provided by Pqube.
The Gaming Ground
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