04th Jul2017

‘Perception’ Review (PS4)

by Paul Metcalf

perception-header

If you’ve played the Outcast or Amnesia games then you’ll know all too well the experience of running through corridors escaping an unknown entity. Perception is a similar game, but to complicate things it removes your vision, and pushes you into the world of the unknown.

In Perception, you play the role of Cassie, a blind woman who finds herself drawn to an old abandoned estate known as Echo Bluff. A place that haunts that haunts her dreams. Through her keen sense of hearing, she is able to make her way through the house finding clues as to why she is there, all the while being hunted by a ghostly presence determined to get in her way.

I remember first hearing about Perception and being very interested in the concept. Using echolocation (much like Daredevil uses) Cassie is able to “see” her surroundings and anything that makes sound. This means that messages can be easily found and played, acting as a narrative for the game.

What is interesting with Perception is that it takes the idea of being blind to a more information level for the player. We can’t really experience what it is to be blind, but we can feel the hindrance of lack of sight in the game. The fact that Cassie has certain tools like services that offer text-to-speech, and even people who can decipher pictures for her, shows how the world is opened up for her.

This is impressive because the game isn’t just using blindness at a token level, it is really well thought out. While we are helped to see many things, there are some things that are hidden from us because there is just no way for us to see it. Unfortunately, this can’t be said about the main enemy.

Perception-Echo-Bluff

The creature that hunts the player down during the game is really nothing more than an annoyance in the game. It does add some tension through the fact that it limits us from how much sound we can make (or it will come running). It doesn’t take long though to realise that even if the creature can kill us, it doesn’t really stop progression. The fact it is also easy to hide from also renders it a little impotent.

I can understand why it is in the game, as there needs to be something to add tension (and maybe a little fear) into the story. What I would say though is that I’d much prefer it to have been used sparingly and much more effectively so I could get on with the important thing, and that is progressing in the game.

In games like this, I like a good story, and thankfully Perception has one. What Cassie finds is a story that is split up into chapters, and each chapter takes part at different time periods. What this does is creates is the history of Echo Bluff itself, and of course provides the reason that Cassie has been drawn to it. This is where the game shines, and I found myself really enjoying it. The idea, and both the origin of Echo Bluff works really well. Though I did guess what the connection with Cassie and the estate was almost straight away.

One thing that really helps to get the player invested in the game is the excellent voice acting. Especially from Angela Morris. This makes the world of Perception an immersive experience that really drags the player along with Cassie and keeps us playing to the very end.

Even with the problems with the main enemy in the game, Perception is an interesting experience with a good story. Through the disabling of the players sense of sight, and good voice acting, and most importantly a well thought out narrative structure, Perception is a game that you may not revisit much, but it will be one that you have fond memories of at least.

**** 4/5

Perception is available PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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