First of all, I would like to say that it’s been quite awhile since I posted. I was a little too busy dealing with exams and LaTale (I was, and still am, trying to make all characters above lv 190). Anyway, with all the exams gone, I hope I can put up more posts these days.
So to get back to the subject, recently I finally finished an iPod game Dark Meadows. As the title suggests, it is a first-person survival horror game. The synopsis is that the main character, aka you, wake up in an abandoned hospital. Upon waking up, you’ll meet an old man who mentioned that there is a witch roaming around in the building, and it will be at your best interest to kill her. After leaving that piece of info, he left the room and apparently went to a PA room, making random announcements over the speaker installed in various rooms. So you ended up exploring the decrepit building filled with weird monsters and trying to find a way to get out of the place.
I can tell you three selling points about the game, but unfortunately game mechanics is not one of them. The first is the storyline, more particularly the background and setting of the game. While you are exploring the old hospital, you will find plenty of clippings and journals lying around providing insights of the old hospital and the patients who once lived there. Furthermore, over the public announcements, you’ll also realize that the old man is quite eager for you to kill the witch, which raise a few suspicions of his motives. All the mysteries will come together to give one satisfying story. The second selling points is the random announcements that the old man spewed out over the course of the game. I can tell you his cynical comments is one of the few things that held the game together. The final good thing about the game is the graphics. Even at the first glance, you’ll know that the developers placed most of its budget on its graphics.
However, with those good points comes several factors that needs to be improved. The main problem is the game mechanics. Given that the game is supposedly a survival horror, you would expect your character to be running away from monsters and hiding behind things to elude the monsters. But no, you find yourself playing a horror version of Infinity Blade grinding for levels on random enemies with swords and crossbows. Furthermore, you somehow get money and gems around the hospital which lets you buy more weapons and boosts your stats respectively. After seeing all these features, I realized that the developing was really trying to combine survival horror with RPG element. But in the end, the RPG elements essentially wiped any scares away from the game. The achievement are not helping either, such as buying all swords and crossbows, which prompt you to make an uber character. This once again defeats the purpose of survival horror. The second problem is the design of the building. Although it is an old and broken down hospital, which is practically a cliché for survival horror, somehow it is not creepy at all. In fact, some of the rooms seems more homey than creepy; it’s like walking through an old charming British mansion. Not to mention the random playing of old music over the speaker is not helping the mood either. Personally, it would be to introduce a day/night system where the rooms are calm and airy during daytime and creepy and disturbing during nighttime. I’m thinking along the lines of real world/Otherworld concepts appearing in Silent Hill games.
So in conclusion, it is a game that I would not whole-heartedly recommend to a hardcore survival horror gamer.
Pros: 1) Good storyline and setting, 2) good voice acting, 3) general graphics,
Cons: 1) Not scary at all, 2) Not scary at all, 3) NOT SCARY AT ALL…