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Layers of Fear

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Basically a horror rollercoaster, a haunted house kind of deal. You get in, experience jump scares and stuff for 4-5 hours then you get off. Nothing more than that. Pass.

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What MDMaster said is technically true, but undersells how well crafted said experience is. Encourage giving this a try to see whether it's your thing.

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The best way to describe Layers of Fear is that it's akin to riding the haunted house ride at any amusement park or county fair that you've ever been to: get railroaded down a linear path full of scary and/or horrifying set pieces, it's dark a lot of the time, get jumpscared several times and then the ride is over.

 

You play as a tortured artist who returns home to complete his masterpiece. He enters his studio, paints the first layer of the painting and then begins to suffer from hallucinations. As you explore the artist's home, you unveil horrifying secrets about the artist's life. As you discover more secrets and clues about the him, you begin experiencing more twisted and dark hallucinations. You eventually learn that the artist was once a loving father and husband but his relationship with his family deteriorated over time when he distanced himself from his wife and daughter to focus more on his paintings as well as developing a drinking problem.

 

The game's art direction nails the "horror" aspect rather well, particularly the final painting that I got at the end of my playthrough as well as the discovery of certain clues and the narrations that came with them. Some of the environments in the game's last half hour or so also nailed the "horror" aspect really well. The one thing I wish the developers would've done is to create some sort of cutscene for the clues you uncover, even if it was only a slide show of a few still images, because there was some REAL potential to create some fucking hard-to-watch moments out of those. This is likely why the game's story wasn't really capturing me since it's given to you in short voice over segments and flavour text that break up the tediousness and repetitiveness of explore dark corridors and rooms.

 

The game's frame rate is terrible; plenty of stuttering, streaming and lag issues at various points throughout the game. It's a shame because the game's environments are well rendered but trying to pan across to look around while dropping frames kind of kills it for me.

 

One suggestion for Ross when he gets around to playing this game: turn head bobbing off because my god is obnoxious! I had to disable that option after about 20 mins of gameplay because I felt like I was going to be sick.

 

Layers of Fear does some things well with it's great horror set pieces and general art direction but it's story wasn't really grabbing me because it was mostly fed to me through narrations and text dumps, the game's pace felt like a bit of slog and it relies a bit too much on jumpscares for it's "scariness".

 

It also reminded me that it was such a shame that Silent Hills got canceled, since Layers of Fear's gameplay borrows heavily from it's teaser.

 

Overall, I'd give this game a rating of Pass.

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A scary walking simulator with above average production value. Played through to the end but learned to stay away from games like this in future, I just don't feel it is interactive enough.

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So much wasted potential. When I started the game, I tought you were going to explore the house, haunted by the demons of your own memories. But instead you walk corridor after corridor with things screaming and crying at you. 

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