09th Sep2015

‘Layers of Fear’ Early Access Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf

layers_of_fear_01_painter

If I said that the PC now has its own P.T would I have your interest? I hope so. This is what Layers of Fear is, it manages the same scares and messes with your head much in the same way as the Silent Hills teaser did. It also has the same problem in that it may never be finished, which hopefully won’t be the case.

The best way to go into Layers of Fear is completely cold, so all I’ll simply say is that it is a haunted house game where you can’t trust anything. Your main job is to explore the house looking for objects while forming a picture, both of what has happened in the house and on an actual easel. The more the picture forms the stranger things will become.

The success of Layers of Fear is the way that it metaphorically and literally adds onto the psychologically terror and atmospheric horror as you progress through the game, revealing just the right amount of answers to keep you gripped. You may not like what you encounter, but you have to keep on going to find out the conclusion of the story, which is where the problem lies. Layers of Fear is an Early Access game that ends a little too soon, but with a promise that we’ll see the game grow.

What we have though in the game so far is a very effective experience that hooks into your nerves and manages to bite at just the right moment to cause some genuine scares. Thankfully it’s not all about scare jumps, but a fear of the unknown. Just like P.T, by taking a situation that should be normal, or at least have some normality about it, and then manipulating the environment around you effectively raises the fear factor and makes things truly disturbing.

By the end of what we have in Layers of Fear we know the story so far, and are fully invested in it. This is one reason that it does hurt slightly to see that it is not the complete game, though I fully expect that to come. Hopefully with the success it seems to be having with people who are trying it, this will push the developers on to give us the full experience. Part of me argues that I never want to enter the house again, but I know I will…I want to be scared, and I want to know the conclusion to the story.

P.T was a phenomenon, and a brilliant one that created some of the scariest moments seen in a game. While I won’t argue Layers of Fear is comparable to it, this game does have the ability to really disturb, and if this trend in horror games keeps going, this is a good sign for the genre. We already know that other “P.T-likes” are being developed, and if any are anywhere near as effective as Layers of Fear then the horror genre is changing in a very good way; for people who like to be scared at least. I can only imagine how effective it would be on an Oculus Rift.

Should you spend money on an unfinished game? At £6.99 for what you get with Layers of Fear, I would argue yes. With Halloween just around the corner, for those who want an atmospheric scare that is all kinds of batshit crazy? This may just be the game for you. Also on a positive note, at least Layers of Fear has more of a chance of being completed than Silent Hills does (I know, low blow… but the truth).

****½  4.5/5

Layers of Fear is available through Early Access on Steam for the PC now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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