Ground is a survival horror game with a difference.
It's not action packed but instead is more subtle in
nature. It's not gory nor does it require the use of
the lasers and giant machine guns. It follows the story
of an estranged young girl and her dog trapped in a
hostile mansion with dangerous characters and creatures
all trying to prevent her from escaping - with her life.
don't want to discourage the guys with this next comment
but I really believe that this game will appeal to
the female gamer out there. I'm not suggesting that
this game is weak or will make you look like a sissy,
it's just that it's the antithesis of macho shooters
and fighters. If you prefer suspense over shock then
this is your game.
is a well-endowed, pasty white chick that wakes up
in the basement of a strange castle. She has no memory
of how she ended up there but it's soon revealed that
her mom and dad were killed in a car crash that she
was involved in. Befriending a German shepherd named
Hewie, the pair attempt to find their way out of the
mansion where unimaginable dangers lurks around every
with puzzles, traps and enemies the gameplay consists
of exploration, puzzle solving, combat and stealth.
The combat is limited to a few pushes and shoves.
Most of the time Fiona will run and hide from her
enemies. She may not be able to overtake them but
she can avoid them by hiding under beds, behind curtains,
door, boxes and any other place that offers sanctuary.
If you use the same hiding space over and over you
will eventually get discovered. It doesn't take the
enemy long to catch on. Sometimes they'll find you
right off the bat in a fresh hiding spot. This kind
of randomness occurs throughout the game and always
keep you on edge.
has only a few defensive moves. She can push, back
step and execute a kick. She's no match for most enemies
and should avoid direct contract with them as much
as possible. It's best for her to hide or call upon
Hewie to assist her. Keep an eye on her stamina and
panic meters. If she begins to panic she will start
running into walls and eventually knock herself out.
She will also become catatonic, unable to run or otherwise
relationship that you forge with Hewie is uniquely
strange for a videogame yet alarmingly realistic.
Not only can you command Hewie to do things for you
such as search rooms, pick up objects and attack enemies
but you will also feel a sense of comfort from his
presence when you're investigating the oppressive
castle. Hewie will whine to warn you of an approaching
enemy. With training such as ball throwing, shaking
a paw, feeding and petting you will bond with Hewie
in such a way that your commands will carry more authority
but there are still times when your commands will
go unheeded adding to the unexpected nature of the
the castle is great fun. You never know what to expect.
You will come across a variety of human characters
such as Debilitas the hunchback servant and Daniella
the goth-inspired maid. You never know who's on your
side. You can explore the entire castle from top to
bottom and all rooms in between with nary a load time.
Even when you finally do manage to get outside you're
still on the grounds and no closer to escaping than
you were on the inside.
plays a large role in the gameplay. It indicates when
an encounter is about to take place and it increases
in intensity when you're being chased by an enemy.
Even when you're hiding the music will indicate that
the enemy is still searching for you. You're never
safe, as it can find you at any time. Only when the
frantic music fades will it be safe to come out again.
The voiceacting is decent but it's marred be some
of Fiona's drama queen moments.
graphics are great. The castle is huge and well detailed
with nice gloomy textures and gothic architecture.
Hewie is incredibly well animated. It's hard to believe
he's not real. When not in action he will curl around
Fiona with his tail wagging. Your relationship with
Hewie will affect the outcome of the game. You can
replay the game with a higher degree of difficulty
and change your relationship with Hewie for a different
gameplay experience. This should give you another
20 hours of replay value.
Ground is not without some flaws. It's not perfect
but most of these flaws can be overlooked when experience
the gameplay in the spirit that it was intended to