Perception (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 09.06.2017

Review for Perception on PlayStation 4

Sometimes there are crowd-funded games that have concepts that are too avant garde for most publishers to distribute. Once in a while, such a concept can be so gutsy that it becomes an experiment worthy of execution just to see if it can work or not. Perception is such a game, being that the protagonist is blind and the game is set in the first person. As if playing as a blind woman wasn't enough, The Deep End Games also decided to make it a horror walking simulator. Cubed3 gives some insight on Perception...

The Deep End Games has to be given some credit for daring to tackle such a brazen game idea and stick with it even at the cost of making an enjoyable game. As it turns out, being blind in a horror themed video game is not fun, scary or intense... It's just a headache-inducing war of attrition. As Cassie, expect to explore a fairly large homestead throughout the ages. Since she is as blind as a bat, she can sort of see like a bat... or rather like Ben Affleck's Daredevil. With a tap of her cane a shockwave washes over the general vicinity, which echoes back, much like a sonar, giving Cassie a basic idea of her surroundings.

This echo system is the main gimmick of Perception and the game lives and dies by it, because without it, this would be an extremely unremarkable (if well-acted) walking sim. There is a lot of effort to use ambient sound waves that do clue Cassie in on her surroundings, like steam from radiators emitting, wind coming in from an open window, or clouds of flies wafting in the air. Naturally, the environment is full of all kinds of details like this, and it always will look like a weird negative image that's been filtered blue. Since even Cassie's footsteps can make some echoes for her, which also reveal a modicum of her surroundings, just moving around makes the black of your monitor flicker in and out of the game's visuals. If this was a short segment from a much larger game it would have been a cute novelty, but in Perception it feels like it will cause an epileptic seizure from playing for more than ten minutes. This is where the real flaws of the echo system rear their ugly head and have an adverse reaction on the simple act of playing the game.

Screenshot for Perception on PlayStation 4

The idea is that Cassie is handicapped and that players are supposed to identify with this by taking away their ability to see their surroundings. The problem is that everyone who can play this can see, and the echo system, as poetic and visually striking an image it may be, is not how a blind person would actually "see." The idea is just so abstract and impossible to convey in a video game, and how the developers depict it is like a crippled version of Batman's detective vision from the Arkham games. It won't make anyone connect to Cassie in any meaningful way; it will only frustrate and annoy. While constantly tapping her cane might seem like a clumsy and irritating solution to the issue, Perception actually does have threats in the game and lose states. There is an evil spirit or "presence" that looks like death, which haunts the house throughout the ages, and Cassie must avoid making too much noise to attract it.

Between staring at a black screen, trying not to make noises and while searching for keys and narrative clues, the whole concept of being blind just does not work at all. Perception pretty much does the best anyone could have done with the idea of being blind. The developers likely conceded that Perception is borderline unplayable because the left trigger will automatically point Cassie in the direction she needs to go, or will notify her that she just needs to check around in her area for a key item. The game doesn't even fully embrace blindness either, since some doorways will be inexplicably highlighted from beyond any means Cassie could have interpreted. Thankfully, this is a very short game, which can be completed in about two hours. There are a bunch of collectables, but there really is no reason to get them all, and there is no chapter select upon completion.

Screenshot for Perception on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Perception has very little going for it. It is well acted and has about three voice actors who do triple or even quadruple duty in some cases, and they all sound very believable. The sound design is strong and is the creepiest part of the entire game. There are many plot points that are hard to follow, since so much of the plot has to be found from notes picked up, or audio diaries. One plot point that is not made clear is that the story implies that Cassie might be psychic, but there really is not enough information to corroborate this completely, which is pretty much how every piece of story feels like. Every step of the way it just feels like there is something missing. Perception is a noble effort in its concept, but in practice this is one people should just close their eyes at.

Developer

The Deep End Games

Publisher

Feardemic

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

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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