I've become a bit of a sucker for survival horror games as of late. In this era of multiplayer, live-service deities that never seem to die and demand your undivided attention, there's something welcoming about a pure, complete single-player experience - even if they often take us on incredibly harrowing and terrifying journeys. So, when I heard that Pieces Interactive would be remaking the 1992 classic horror game, Alone in the Dark, I became a little excited, and now after seeing more of the game as part of a press preview screening, I'm very, very excited.
Because Alone in the Dark feels incredibly premium and modern from what I've been shown. This is a game that takes players to a mansion and surrounding town in the south of the United States in the 1920s, and then tasks players with unravelling a strange and unsettling mystery relating to a disappearing member of the Hartwood family. But, to throw a spanner in the works a tad, Alone in the Dark isn't just played from the perspective of one character, like Dead Space is with Isaac Clarke, or what we get in Resident Evil 4 with Leon S. Kennedy. No, here we get two stories that differ depending on whether you play as detective Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood, the niece of the missing uncle who was last seen at Derceto Mansion, a home for the mentally ill.
Automatically, you are probably drawing comparisons to Resident Evil 2, but it seems like Pieces is taking this design a step further in this game, as the narrative and story won't just take you on a different path to different locations, like RE2, it will also see the NPCs and other characters react differently to you, making for unique scenarios and moments, which makes a second playthrough of this game almost a given. If the unique elements aren't enough to make you want to do this however, the cast surely will help set your mind straight, as Pieces has brought on both David Harbour and Jodie Comer to portray Alone in the Dark's protagonists, which is definitely an eye-catching premise to say the least.
As the original Alone in the Dark debuted in 1992, to call this a simple remake is selling it short. It feels more like a completely new adaptation of the survival horror game, as modern technology and the power of Unreal Engine 4 has allowed the developer to create stunning new takes on the mansion and the surrounding environment. This is a love letter to the original, not just a straight remake as has become quite common in the games industry these days.
While the concept of Alone in the Dark will be to tap into the psychological horror elements that have coined the franchise, this version of the game will do so by having reality literally crumble before your eyes, as the protagonists struggle to comprehend and make sense of the world and what's happening to them. The enemy types that look like creepy eldritch horror monsters also clearly work in favour of this design style, as does the soundtrack that uses doom jazz to create an ambience that suits the time period yet still makes for spine-chilling moments.
The combat elements also seem to lean more towards what we find in Dead Space and RE2, as you have to use the typical wobbly aiming systems and limited mobility to survive and overcome the threats that attack you. There are options for melee attacks in Alone in the Dark, as well as brief evasive movements, but don't expect to be roundhouse kicking anyone like Leon in RE4 anytime soon.
With Alone in the Dark set to debut on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series consoles on October 25, I'm very excited to see more of and even play some of this survival horror remake soon, and fortunately, you can get a taste of what's to come right now, as Pieces has now launched a playable Prologue demo, which puts players into the shoes of the young girl who you meet during the main game, as she explores the Derceto Mansion a few weeks before Carnby and Miss Hartwood arrive. This demo will only be a teaser of what's to come however, and will not feature any spoilers for the main story, or any combat elements, so don't expect a broad and deep adventure here.
For those interested in pre-ordering Alone in the Dark, you can also do this right now, with the game retailing at £49.99 / €59.99, and coming in one of two versions. The standard edition with just the base game, and the Deluxe Edition that comes with a few filter packs and commentary packs that add to and change the Alone in the Dark experience. Anyone who pre-orders will also get the Decerto 1992 Costume Pack DLC, allowing you to change the models of the protagonists to reflect their 1992 versions.
Needless to say, if you still have that remade survival horror itch, Alone in the Dark is definitely something to mark down on your calendar.