Till just lately, Konami had left the Silent Hill franchise dormant, leaving an enormous gap within the survival horror style. Since then, many indie builders have taken up the mantle. Video games like Lone Survivor and Signalis every took the ethos of the collection and put their very own spin on it, creating private works that mirrored what made the unique titles nice to start with. The newest try at capturing the glory days of the collection is Lake Haven – Chrysalis, a short prologue to an upcoming full sport. Whereas developer Encrypt Video games does a great job of emulating the appear and feel, it does so usually at the price of its personal id.
Lake Haven – Chrysalis begins with a really Twin Peaks arrange. You’re a detective who has been assigned to what looks like a primary case investigating a lacking lady at an remoted farmhouse. In fact, nothing is so simple as it appears, main the participant down a mysterious and menacing journey to uncover some actually unusual happenings. All of the motion takes place in a reasonably tight space, however there’s sufficient selection throughout the setting that retains the areas distinct for the needs of backtracking. Notes are scattered all through, filling within the story of the individuals who lived right here whereas additionally constructing a dread-filled mythology. None of it feels tremendous revelatory, and is typically undercut by an off-tone jokey angle that by no means fairly lands for me, however there are some late sport moments that present bursts of creativity, demonstrating the potential this sport has for enlargement sooner or later.
Puzzles within the sport principally come within the type of accumulating objects and determining the place they are going to be helpful. That is principally intuitive, however can generally turn out to be irritating, as objects could be tough to affiliate with what they unlock. It’s straightforward to know which door the “Crescent Moon Key” will unlock, however much less so with the “Heavy Iron Key.” There are some impressed moments the place notes you discover will assist you determine how you can use explicit stuff you’ve discovered, however for probably the most half there’s lots of testing keys as you go. I additionally ended up selecting up lots of keys earlier than working into the precise locks they’re related to, which makes the puzzle facet of it barely much less satisfying. The stock display screen is pretty near the one in Silent Hill, however you possibly can examine and work together with the objects a la Resident Evil, making for some neat little moments of discovery whereas fixing the puzzles.
One factor that I usually recognize about outdated survival horror video games is the best way the extent design creates small however dense areas via use of shortcuts and slowly unlocking areas. This helps alleviate the tedium of backtracking, since you’re discovering new paths via the extra doorways you unlock. That is one thing that Lake Haven doesn’t do fairly as successfully because the classics. Not one of the areas really feel significantly interconnected, forcing you to repeatedly retread sections of the extent. There’s just one transient, cinematic fight second within the sport, so it could possibly’t even depend on enemies to maintain the backtracking attention-grabbing. I perceive that this can be a small-scale prologue, so hopefully that is one thing that Encrypt focuses on when they’re designing extra expansive ranges for the complete launch.
The presentation in Lake Haven is rather well completed and achieves precisely what it units out to do. The PS1 aesthetic is one which I at all times love for horror, and this manages to drag it off with type. Mounted digital camera angles do a fantastic job of setting a temper, sometimes giving me an eerie feeling of being watched by an unseen sinister drive. Whereas some could not just like the return of tank controls, the best way they work together with the fashionable viewpoints makes them really feel about as easy as any sport that adopts that management type. Often I discovered spots within the stage the place both the digital camera gained’t change and also you’ll wander away display screen or the digital camera will pop between two totally different angles in a short time, breaking the meant impact of the rigorously managed cinematic perspective.
Lake Haven proudly shows its Silent Hill influences, for higher or worse. They do a great job at capturing the lonely, melancholy temper of the basic Konami collection, however don’t appear to actually carve out their very own id till the ultimate stretch. The music, digital camera and sound results all really feel evocative of Silent Hill, and there’s even a hidden easter egg containing references to the collection. Late sport imagery finally strikes out by itself path, with unusual twisting vines and seemingly infinite eerie areas, however the majority of the 90 minute runtime feels a bit like a Silent Hill cowl band, albeit an excellent one.
Final 12 months’s Signalis did such a fantastic job at taking inspiration from Silent Hill whereas making one thing wholly distinctive and delightful, so it’s my hope that the complete Lake Haven sport will discover its personal path to doing the identical. Chrysalis is a superb begin, however appears extra inquisitive about replaying the previous than forging its personal future.
Stage design nitpicks apart, there are some intelligent moments on this that exhibit they’re able to crafting their very own id going ahead. There’s a tremendous line between homage and mimicry, and hopefully Encrypt finds a solution to steadiness that with their full launch. All that being mentioned, this can be a enjoyable little bundle for the cheap value of $3, however it could depart you reflecting extra on the glory days of Silent Hill than the way forward for Lake Haven.