Slender: The Arrival | Game Review

Imperfect, but at times admirably creepy, ‘Slender: The Arrival’ is will appeal to fans of minamilist survival horror

Game Title: Slender: The Arrival

Publisher: Blue Isle Studios

Reviewed On: Xbox One

Available on: Xbox One,PC,Playstation 3,Xbox 360

Thu, Apr 2, 2015, 15:59

   

Oakside Park sounds like a nice place to live. It has lots of space, it’s grandiose house is for sale at the moment, and there are few noisy neighbours. If it wasn’t for the terrifying spectres that haunt it, it’d be worth looking into.

Slender: The Arrival is not just a harsh lesson in real estate, but a popular first-person survival horror. Originally a PC game, it’s finally making its arrival on next-gen consoles. (It’s a big week for revamped re-releases.)

Each level in Slender feels like a part of a horror short-story collection. They each amount to exploring a foreboding area (such as a house, an abandoned park, or a mine) and finding clues to flesh out the story, usually in the shape of loose pages. Surrounded by darkness, you spend much of your time seeking sources of light – like the similarly themed Alan Wake (without the shooting). You find frequent reflections of a community ravaged by an unknown force. Ominous notes are scrawled on paper and walls with pleas such as “don’t let him in!”

There are shades of The Blair Witch Project (for better and for worse) as you watch the horrors unfold through the lens of a video camera. Your journey occasionally reveals a mysterious figure, whose presence is announced by jarring changes in your sound and vision; lights flicker, colours warp, sounds screech and distort. In a storytelling tool unique to videogames, you become an unreliable narrator of your own tale.

Inevitably, this game isn’t as flashy as bigger-budget competitors such as Alien: Isolation, but it is admirably creepy and dark. It’s a slow burn, possibly too slow for some, and the exploration and longueurs threaten to sap the tension. When the game does work though, there are some nice scares and a strong sense of foreboding. I also like the very slow drip-feed of information. Whose arrival is the title referring to – yours, or someone else’s?

Enjoyment of Slender: The Arrival will depend on your penchant for this very specific genre, and your tolerance for exploration and walking. It’s an imperfect game, but also a sinister and atmospheric one, demanding nerves of steel . . . and a good sense of direction.

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