|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eden Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Survival horror was mentioned in relation to combat mechanics, but it doesn't define Alone in the Dark's genre. Instead, the game is better classified as a supernatural thriller and the developers probably wouldn't mind that label as the DVD-like chapter system employed gives a movie vibe. Alone in the Dark is segmented into eight episodes and those episodes are made up of sequences. At any time you can fast forward or rewind. If you want to jump ahead an entire episode or two effectively skipping hours of gameplay you can, or if you just want to skip to the next sequence, forfeiting only about 10 minutes of gameplay, you can do that too.
The ability to jump back-and-forth in the story continuum is handy, as there are many segments that are so poorly designed that you'll want to skip them and you'll be grateful the option is there. One such sequence turns Central Park into a race track that you must zip around while avoiding bats that can somehow pickup your car. Another Central Park segment requires you to go on a fetch quest, killing a certain type of enemy over-and-over. There's even a bizarre portion that mimics the forklift, box moving mini-game from Shenmue.
Many of these deficiencies wouldn't carry so much weight if Alone in the Dark had a good story to tout. However, the script (centering on anything and everything Satanic) runs from juvenile with characters constantly swearing to predictable. It all leads up to a set of endings that seem like they were thrown in at the last minute. Neither one gives a proper sense of conclusion. In fact, both, in a way, negate all the work you've accomplished in the game, rendering them almost useless.
What about all the fixes promised for this version? Well, the camera definitely works better, giving you a better view from third-person and the ability to map item combinations like the ever useful fire bullets to the D-pad, which cuts down on item prep time. However, for a definitive version of a game, there are still technical problems. Edward fell through the world on more than one occasion, resulting in some very weird death animations not something you'd expect from a game that's been delayed so many times to assure a certain level of quality.
Alone in the Dark is ultimately a lesson in good intentions gone awry. Nearly all of its novel ideas misfire. What's so interesting about Inferno is the mentality that a patch was all that was needed to make a better game. The original was defined by a lackluster story, awkward controls, and merely okay gameplay that's not a formula that needs a few tweaks, it's one that should be scrapped entirely. Nevertheless, Inferno is the definitive version of Alone in the Dark, but that's not the biggest compliment one can give.
CCC Freelance Writer