Today, horror games have become so widespread and common, therefore, it is at risk of losing its appeal and becoming more predictable. However, Illusion Ray Studio has created a terrifying experience with its demo release of The Beast Inside and has brought the fear factor back to the survival horror genre. Although, it is a demo, this thriller will leave you shaking, cursing and jumping out of your seat from start to finish.
Regarding plot, it is not in-depth as we only can play the first two chapters which are reasonably short. You play as Adam, who is a cryptanalyst who moves to a peaceful house in the idyllic woodlands with his wife, Emma. As Adam moves possessions into the attic, you discover a hidden box with a secret code. Once opened, a letter is revealed which allows the player to change perspective of a former resident in September 1864, who discover the hidden horrors and secrets that lie within this perfect home.
Once you have completed the tutorial and cracked the code using ancient cryptology to open the mysterious box in the attic, you are now in Chapter Two. One interesting aspect of The Beast Inside is the incorporation of physics-based puzzles, such as picking locks which require specific timing and cryptology, which can be an extra challenge for players. The puzzles were not excessive, tedious or annoying and they were enjoyable like puzzles from Professor Layton. It will be exciting to see what other kinds of puzzles Illusion Ray Studios have got up their sleeves for the full release. To navigate through the night in Chapter Two, you must rely on the use of candles, matches and lanterns. So, you should always be on the lookout for matches and kerosene as the sources of light drain quickly, which is not ideal while stumbling around in a really dark house, but certainly makes the experience a lot more terrifying.
The controls were a problem at times during the demo, however, they were responsive and didn’t cause any major issues. You can incorporate the controller, however, there are certain commands you can’t do, such as crawling and sprinting, so you’ll end up abandoning the convenience quickly. The commands are straight forward and easy to pick up, you can move with W, A, S, D keys and SHIFT to sprint. You can use the TAB button to open the inventory, to examine items that you pick up throughout the game and refer to diary entries and recordings to remind yourself what your objective is. To pick up objects you left click the mouse, and hold onto the same button to drag it, which can take some getting used to. There were moments where there was a struggle to drag chairs out of the way of blocked doors. It’s clear they wanted to make The Beast Inside immersive as possible and give you full control of what you can do physically. Another aspect of the demo that was a struggle was aiming the camera, when using the mouse the camera was responsive and the image of the screen was erratically moving, therefore, using the controller is a better option if you’re happy to have a keyboard nearby as well to fill in the missing commands.
The graphics were beautiful and realistic, which allows the players to really immerse themselves into the environments. Furthermore, the soundtrack really sets the scene and atmosphere for the demo, and even has moments of silence with anticipation for the worst to happen, which is what horror games are supposed to make you feel. Personally, while playing the demo, motion sickness was creeping in due to the high responsiveness and fast movement of the camera, so be aware of this fact if you easily get motion sick. However, this aspect didn’t compromise the enjoyment of the gameplay. One aspect of the experience that could have been different was to limit the amount of ‘jumpscare’ moments as you navigate through Chapter Two, after a while of jumping out of your seat a few times due to a gnarly figure jolting towards you, you soon start to anticipate and it can take away from the fearful atmosphere as you know the moment is coming. Despite this, anticipating that jumpscare further along, probably makes the whole experience a lot more terrifying.
The Beast Inside is a great example of what Illusion Ray Studio can produce for bringing a fearful experience, whilst presenting this in an interesting way by swapping perspectives in different historical periods. Although, there are some issues such as camera and not being able to fully incorporate the use of the controller, there is a lot of promise regarding the graphics, gameplay, music and the beautiful setting for bringing terror back to the horror game genre. The Beast Inside is a fantastic preview of what the game will offer in the full release, which is scheduled for 2019.