2Dark (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 10.03.2017

Review for 2Dark on PlayStation 4

In 1992, Frederick Raynal and his team at Infogrames set loose Alone in the Dark. It was a fresh take on the adventure game formula and was one of the earliest examples of a video game using 3D graphics with 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. Raynal and company not only helped push the envelope of video game graphics, but they also defined the classic style of survival horror as the world knows it today, predating the original Resident Evil by almost four years. After more than 20 years, Raynal is returning to the genre with a newly-founded studio named Gloomywood. His latest independently developed game seeks to inspire fear, as Cubed3 asks the eternal question: "2Dark or not 2Dark?"

Gloomywood's goals in 2Dark are as follow: create a tense stealth/horror game, sense of urgency for protecting children, and have nonlinear/open ended gameplay. 2Dark pretty much succeeds on all fronts, while having a twisted and sardonic sense of humour that can result in some bloody child death. The core game cycle revolves around Detective Smith infiltrating levels and rescuing children by bringing them back to the starting area. There is usually a big boss at the end of these stages as Smith goes deeper into the underbelly of these seedy locales. He has to find more ammo, weapons, keys and all kinds of key items within these stages that can open things up more. Given the nonlinear structure of each stage, Smith can approach the situation pretty freely, almost like a Metal Gear Solid game. 2Dark has no hand holding and invites those who are curious to keep playing, since this game does legitimately have quite a few secrets and details hidden within it.

The most noticeable aspect of 2Dark is the visuals. Gloomywood took a very unconventional approach to the art direction and graphics engine, which has a PlayStation 1 quality about it. It is certainly a bold choice, and that may put off some who may have been spoiled by the hyper realistic Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, but after an hour or two of playing, it becomes pretty clear why Frederick Raynal chose this style. Upon first glance it can be easy to mistaken 2Dark as a 2D game, but in actuality it is fully rendered in 3D with full 3D character models. This was chosen because 2Dark uses a lighting engine that is paramount to the gameplay, since the stealth system is reliant on Smith using the darkness to conceal himself. Other than the lighting engine, sound is another part of 2Dark that Gloomywood payed close attention to, since there are various parameters and possibilities to make sound that may alert a deranged sex-weirdo.

Screenshot for 2Dark on PlayStation 4

It is suffice to say that 2Dark lives up to its namesake. Gloomywood made a very dark game in both macabre tone and visually. It does have some amusing flourishes, like a silly psychotic clown forcing children to jump through a hoop of fire that only a Frenchman like Frederick could come up with. The game is full of flavour text that help build the world nicely, and while the inventory system is an eyesore and a clunky mess, 2Dark does offer a quick menu that works, but still feels spartan. Sometimes, story text can fly by too quickly and there is no obvious means to re-read what was said, which is unusual since the game does voice over narration during load times, but not during cutscenes.

At its worst, 2Dark can be pretty overwhelming, since the game's levels get progressively bigger and more dense, which makes for a really hard game. This wouldn't be too bad, but the game is only around six levels long, so the difficulty curve shoots up high really fast. In spite of just being six levels, it is not short. 2Dark is unexpectedly long, but a lot of its play time can be attributed to trial and error gameplay: reloading saves, experimentations, and in some cases restarting entire levels in order to make a run more efficient. All of this does add to the replay value, however, making 2Dark enjoyable for repeating playthroughs even if there is not much to unlock content-wise.

Screenshot for 2Dark on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

2Dark is mostly a triumph for Gloomywood. It is impressive and refreshing that a skilled user could play a survival horror stealth game that can be completed without killing anyone. Sure, sometimes accidents happen and a kid dies a horrible bloody death, which can lead to both horrific shock and bemused laughter... at the same time no less, but that is the weird and wonderful tone of 2Dark. Inane inventory system and difficulty spike aside, this is a very interesting and free-form survival horror that dares to be a little different. A humble little game that really tries its best to get people to invest in saving children and be heroic with no shred of irony.

Developer

Gloomywood

Publisher

Big Ben

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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