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     ALONE in the DARK: ILLUMINATION
ATARI's sixth installment of the horror game series.
Developed by Pure FPS for Steam it is the first installment to be played online in a cooperative setting.

 

 

I found ALONE in the DARK: ILLUMINATION to be a poor retro style shoot-em-up in a setting that actually takes away the surprise faction associated with both the title and the previous games, at least the majority of them, in this series. I cannot say that I disliked the game, there is nothing really to dislike if you know what third-person shooter games are about, but then it isn't a game I can say I like either. I often recommend games to players when I am personally excited about the gameplay or the mechanic or even the game theme, but I always do so with assurances that I actually am a fan of the game. If I am not a fan of the game or it is one that I could take or leave or it's a going-through-the-motions type of game then I will say as much but will not recommend it. So let's get this straight from the off; if you are totally addicted to pointless, time-wasting entertainments then stop reading here and go get yourself this game. However, if you want some substance, trepidation, thought, strategy, fun, action, explosive combat situations or just one of those possibilities, then I would suggest this isn't a game for you.

   

It all begins quite well, after the long black screen intermission as the game loads (though this may have been the fault of my PC as it is now 4 years old): Your options are to Look for a Game (find a server), Host a Game (set one up for others to join) or play a Single Player game - which is how I tend to play due to my unusual playing times. Having selected this option (single player, if you weren't paying attention just now) I am presented with a screen showing a female character slowly rotating as if on a slow spit or a catwalk. She is a Witch. Arrows to her side allow me to go through the other player-character options, Engineer, Priest and Hunter. Each character has both Common and Class skills and a chart that shows the possibilities of skill advancement - these need to be unlocked as play progresses (if you get that far). You also have the choice of Easy, Medium, Hard or Insame difficulty levels.

   

If you play with your character alone in the dark you will find that although you can just about see the monstrous predator creatures who are everywhere and insanely violent, you cannot hurt them. The darkness somehow reacts with their skin causing it to become a form of Kevlar which bullets, knives, swords etc cannot penetrate. However, despite the locations being places you wouldn't usually visit at night, they all have working electric light sources. Once you flip the switch and flood the place with illumination (hence the game's title) the monster's skin becomes weak, although the ferocity of their attacks isn't affected. Now they have no armour and are susceptible to just about anything you can hit them with. In the case of the Witch it is either a gun or an electrical charge (spell) to begin with; the other characters all start with various weapons and abilities and are as combat viable as each other, though in slightly different ways.

   

There is nothing new in this game that you haven't played before, unless of course you have never played a third-person action game before. However in one aspect not being in any way unique is a blessing because your character moves through the usual control system: WASD for movement, [Shift] for running, [space] for jumping, F for using items/opening doors etc. etc. There are places where you can find Health, Ammo, Holy Water and other necessary items to help you survive; just as you would expect.

   

So what you have is a fairly basic action game where you need to keep your enemies in as much light as possible. If you do this there are no surprise attacks which make you duck and dive (and scare your character also). The monsters keep a-coming and you keep a firing. The best thing I can say is . . . . . . . .  well I actually can't think of the best thing I can say, so I'll just say "it's a game" and leave it at that.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015