Ever since the glory days of the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill on the PS2, the horror genre has had a decidedly lacklustre history. Attempts to reinvigorate the genre have met with muted enthusiasm from gamers and developers have floundered in their bid to create something new and genuinely engaging. And then came Slender: The Eight Pages.
Arguably one of the best horror-survival games of the past ten years Slender Man gave gamers something truly chilling to sink their teeth into. Originally released on the PC and then onto the PS3 and Xbox 360, it was only a matter of time before Slender Man was ported to next gen consoles. And now Slender The Arrival has, well, arrived on the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Developed by a team comprising Blue Isle Studios, Slender Man’s creator, Eric “Victor Surge” Knudsen, and the team behind the Marble Hornets YouTube series about Slender Man, Slender The Arrival is a sequel to Parsec Productions’ Slender: The Eight Pages.
This outing for the franchise casts you in the role of Lauren who has travelled to the countryside to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her friend Kate. It seems Kate has vanished without a trace. That is apart from leaving a breadcrumb trail of seemingly random scribblings implying that the shadowy figure known only as Slender Man is behind her disappearance. Slender The Arrival is a dark, brooding game with very little in the way of light relief. As Lauren you will spend a lot of your time walking from countryside location to countryside location, picking up clues and trying to figure out where to go next. Your only weapon is a flashlight so, when faced with danger, your choices are to either bend over and kiss yourself goodbye or to run.
The game offers no attempt to hold your hand by providing you with a map, radar, or hint option. You truly are on your own. And all the while you have the Slender Man hot on your heels. Every now and then you will see Slender pop up in the woods or standing on a ledge in the distance, reminding you that he’s not far behind. And, should he catch up with you, its game over. You’re returned to a check point which could have been a few minutes ago or twenty minutes ago. Although the find clues, run and hide formula can be challenging, it can be a little frustrating, especially when you’re not clear as to where you should go and the only way to get there is to walk and walk and walk.
At this point it’s worth mentioning that Slender Man is not the only predator in the game. During its ten chapters, Slender The Arrival also confronts you with a hooded creature and a zombified child to contend with. Their goal is the same as Slender Mans; to catch you and cause you to restart a checkpoint.
The graphics in Slender The Arrival are marginally better than the old gen Xbox 360 version. The sky lighting is much sharper and the surrounding countryside is only slightly more detailed. But this isn’t a game about pretty graphics. It’s about the type of fear that makes your hands tremble and your bottom lip quiver. The type of fear that sucks you in and keeps playing for just a few minutes longer. And it is this type of fear that Slender Man The Arrival delivers in spades. Slender himself has to be one of the best in-game villains of the past ten years. And the thought that he is stalking you in the woods is a terrifying prospect.
If you’ve already played Slender Man on the Xbox 360 its still worth picking up this game just to relive the horror on a next gen platform. If this is your first introduction to Slender Man, however, then Slender The Arrival is a must buy. But we do recommend you play this game with the lights on. Enjoy.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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