survival horror

Don’t go into that sawmill: some thoughts on Anna

I’ve just finished – well, in the early hours of the morning – Dreampainters’ game Anna. The timing was probably pretty suitable because it’s considered a survival horror, though really it’s better described as some manner of walking simulator set in an increasingly weird sawmill.

The story is fairly twisted and unclear – it follows the death of a woman named Anna (yes, she of the title), whose relation to you is as yet unclear. It becomes more clear through the game, though not much more, as madness is a bit of a feature, and there’s not really any such thing as a reliable narrator here.

The Extended version features a possible eight endings, which increase in terrible-ness as the game continues. So it’s possible to NOPE out of the game soon after solving a desultory door-opening puzzle and receive what amounts to the ‘good’ ending, while pursuing the story to its end guarantees a Pretty Bad Time. (more…)

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The Last of Us (2013)

I’ve just finished a 20-odd hour playthrough of PlayStation-exclusive The Last of Us, the survival horror game. I suppose I’m a little slow on the uptake – I’m surprised that it’s over a year since it was launched – but it’s a pretty great game. Though I must admit I’d expect nothing less from Naughty Dog, a development team whose pawprints are over a load of great games (The Uncharted series, the stupidly great Jak & Daxter games) and who have a good eye for the cinematic.

First, the game looks beautiful. Odd to say about something set in a gone-to-shit world where forehead fungi are turning people into zombies – er, sorry, the infected – but there it is. (more…)