White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 23.08.2017

Review for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on PlayStation 4

Back in the early 2000s, the name of the game, no pun intended, was to be the scariest in town. While sci-fi shooters were trying to be the most realistic, and RPGs were trying to be the most in-depth, survival horror aimed to be the scariest. While titles like Fatal Frame and Silent Hill were obvious selections, White Day: A Labyrinth Named School quickly became the stuff of legends in the many countries that never got a chance to play it. Now that's its coming to the whole world, it's time to find out the truth. Is this really the scariest game ever made?

The basic setup for White Day is a bit absurd. White Day, for those who don't know, is the day in many Asian countries where boys give girls gifts, while girls give the gifts on Valentine's Day. You assume the role of a young transfer student who becomes enamoured by one of his classmates. The story is set in motion as the young man sneaks into school to leave the girl a gift for White Day. This setup is kind of ridiculous, but after a few minutes in-game, it becomes a distant memory.

Almost immediately, it's obvious that something is wrong. The player is introduced rather early to the janitor, an antagonist they will be all too familiar with. He is the constant, unstoppable threat that lumbers behind the main character, hunting them mercilessly. While there are ghosts waiting to also assault, the janitor is the prime threat that needs to be managed.

Screenshot for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on PlayStation 4

The player has no means to defend themselves, and must hide in order to stay safe. They also need to be careful about making too much noise or attracting too much attention. While running is the best way to ensure survival, hiding needs to be implemented quickly. The noise made from running away attracts more attention, and despite his limp, the janitor can clearly distances almost effortlessly.

White Day really has two types of scares: jump and slow building. The jump scares range from extremely effective to a tad bit irritating. The random shriek of a lost spirit works pretty effectively, but it doesn't hold a tremendous amount of weight. Where the game really excels is setting up genuine scares. The atmosphere is one of the best in a horror game to date. The hallways look universally familiar, the classrooms feel all too real. This is your high school, even with the Korean trappings that signify where the game was created.

In truth, White Day is terrifying, and even when the moment of anticipation ends and realization sets in, it manages to make simple things extremely frightening. Sometimes it's a bit much, though, and it would be understandable if the fear exceeds the fun factor from time to time.

Screenshot for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on PlayStation 4

There's also something, despite how forced the setup is, universally understandable about being young and in love. Infatuation does crazy things to the best of humanity, and if the worst thing it does is get you locked in a haunted school overnight, that's a good indication of a win. Also, the students feel real, behaving like mischievous young students getting into trouble and living their youth to its fullest.

White Day features quite a few endings, and five difficulties. Those who want to experience the story with minimal scares should jump into Very Easy, as it removes a lot of the challenge and guides the player through the game rather nicely. Very Hard, on the other hand, is a no holds barred horror fest. This setup is a great reminder of the many variations of gameplay that used to be available in survival horror's formidable teen years.

Screenshot for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on PlayStation 4

Interacting in-game is also a bit touch and go, and things like opening doors often require practically being on top of them. Also, picking up items requires adequate lighting. This is understandable, but still frustrating. Sure, you want to know what the document says, or if that's blood all over the book, but it's annoying having to micromanage everything in the environment to perform even the most simple of tasks.

The visual upgrade seems to accomplish the job, and the school's realistic corridors and rooms are brilliant. Even being able to see outside of the windows at night goes far to setting the mood for the terror, even if they're a bit underwhelming. The sound effects, however, are absolutely brilliant. The distant lumbering of the janitor, a security alarm, keys jingling, the game's subtle yet brilliant soundtrack - every inch of White Day is saturated in horrifying noise that might do more to set the mood than literally anything else in the game.

Screenshot for White Day: A Labyrinth Named School on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

White Day is extremely scary, and builds tension so well. It suffers from issues like a weird story, touchy controls, and inventory management that is occasionally too much, but for fans of the genre, this is a legend - and one that's aged surprisingly well. Despite these issues, White Day might be one of the scariest games ever made, and it spares no rod for anyone too afraid to see what it holds within.

Developer

ROI Games

Publisher

PQube

Genre

Horror

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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