Alone in the Dark Impressions – Back to Basics

Alone in the Dark is one game that inspired many others, many of those being some of the more popular titles or franchises in the industry's history. Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Barbie's Horse Adventures, and almost any 3D survival horror game you've ever heard of had inspiration from the original 1992 release. Now, thirty years later - I was four when the original was released - we're going back to the beginning with Alone in the Dark (2022), a game getting inspiration from those it inspired.

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Described by developers Pieces Interactive (Magicka 2, Titan Quest: Ragnarök & Titan Quest: Atlantis) as a love letter to the original, the studio has brought in experienced horror writer Mikael Hedberg (Amnesia: The Dark Descent, SOMA, and Need for Speed: Payback) who explained during the presentation how he's only worked with some aspects of the original, wanting this version to stand alone, bringing an entirely new story for the series.

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What has he brought from the original? You're back in Decerto Manor, still in Louisiana. This time, however, the manor is a mental hospital for the wealthy. Also, you will not be stuck solely within the mansion, branching out into the Louisiana countryside and New Orleans itself. Immediately, the new Alone in the Dark expands upon the original setting while still aiming to stay faithful.

Who will you be doing this as? Sticking with the original cast, you'll be controlling Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood. What should be interesting is how Pieces Interactive borrows from titles like Resident Evil. Rather than going along the same path, each character will have their story, with the one you haven't selected appearing as an NPC. Like Resident evil, it should make a second playthrough valuable. How these stories will differ hasn't been explored.

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What is clear from the presentation and other videos of the game is that Pieces Interactive is focused on the atmosphere of the game. After trying multiple camera styles, they have also settled on the over-the-shoulder camera style made famous with later Resident Evil titles. Even the creatures you'll face have a pedigree, designed by long-term Guillermo Del Toro collaborator Guy Davis.

Not much has been said regarding facing off against the creatures within Alone in the Dark. Pieces did indicate that there will be a wide range of weapons, designed to offer choice - but also designed in a way that makes you aware you can't beat everything - flight or fight, flight being the more sensible option. With limited ammunition, a variety of items to find and collect and several puzzles to work your way through, there's little doubt this is aiming for the traditional survival horror experience.

While I didn't get hands-on with Alone in the Dark, Pieces Interactive has said the right things to catch my interest. Bringing in pedigree like Mikael Hedberg and Guy Davis should help to push this game far and above the 2008 reboot and the utterly atrocious Alone in the Dark: Illumination. Initial impressions are certainly favourable, the hope being that Pieces can deliver on the promise.

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