There seems to be a current trend these days to emulate the presentation of television serials into a video game format. Titles such as The Walking Dead, The Journey Down and Trine come in number of episodic releases, which if they are presented in a series of previously released port-overs can work, but if each episode has to go through a development time before seeing the light of day, the excruciating wait doesn’t always work in the premise of video gaming. However, the latest of such releases now comes in the form Big Fish Games and Digital Lounge’s True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 2 as it creeps a release onto the Nintendo Switch.
Whereby many games that run into a serial of releases can stand on their own without the need for playing a previous title, I’m not sure that the same can be said for this particular game. It’s still playable as a standalone title, but in order to truly understand the events of this game, you do need prior knowledge of the events preceding it to fully appreciate its story, although the game does contain a brief ‘previously’ intro. Saying that though, True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 1 came with a bonus episode that dealt with the subject matter of this newer release, but puzzlingly, none of the events portrayed within this bonus chapter match up to anything within the storyline of Part 2; making it nothing more than a redundant sideline and is something worth considering before you embark on this new journey.
Anyway, Part 2 follows on from the events of the first as we continue the trials and tribulations that our main protagonist, Holly Stonehouse, finds herself in. Without giving too much away, the story now moves on from the deserted houses of the first game and now sees our young heroine search the haunting confines of Dark Falls Asylum, the institution that holds the stories behind Helen’s missing sister and the secrets of Dahlia, her mother. In terms of story-telling, there’s a lot more within this chapter than the first and it also brings in a number of new characters, backgrounds and revelations that the first game touched upon. In fact, there’s a lot more content within this game, doubling its size from its first chapter, thus producing a more invested storyline with greater details.
At its core, the game plays as a horror mystery, with a series of cut-scenes that are, quite frankly, pretty spooky and scary in their own right. This is also coupled with a point-and-click and hidden object mechanic, as well as a series of puzzles thrown in for good measure. If you’ve played the first game within the series, you’ll be instantly familiar with the layout of this title, as the menu selections and general on-screen information remains the same. Touch-screen control has again been implemented on this Switch version of the game, producing a more intuitive way of playing, although it still retains a cursor control too if that’s your preferred method. It also contains the same levels of difficulty modes, representing the amount of hints, clues and their recharges that affect the style of play.
There seems to more of an interactive element to the gameplay here too, with the ability to pick up certain objects and use them to manipulate the environment that is presented on-screen. For instance, using a lens from your inventory, you can zoom into specific areas and find things that you may not necessarily have been able to see lying around the area. Puzzles also feel more streamlined, although the linearity of solutions to all of the game’s puzzles and quests still remains the same; forcing you venture back and forth between each locale in order to piece together the items needed to advance.
The puzzles also have a lot more variety to them, from jigsaw puzzles to sliding pictures, spot the difference and numerical challenges. For the most part, these puzzles aren’t too bad in finding their solutions, although the mechanics of finding objects, combining them and using them in a certain situation still bears the familiarity of some frustration and, ultimately, boredom in their execution. It’s here where the problems from the first game begin to manifest themselves as transitioning over from the first game. Despite containing a deeper and more detailed story, as well as an abundance of puzzles and variety, I still found that the game struggled to settle upon a real identity. Sure, some of it is scary and some of the puzzles are interesting, but I still couldn’t escape the feeling that that game didn’t know if it was one or the other. A puzzler, a hidden object game or a scary adventure. It’s almost as if the genres don’t meld together very well, at least for me, in terms of the pacing of such genres.
Despite this though, I have to say that I enjoyed this game more than the first chapter, even though they generally run, look and are presented in a similar fashion. It was probably due to a more interesting story that builds as you play, leading a climactic explosion that sets up the third and final chapter in a very effective way. As with the first game, there are also a number of extras that can be unlocked through play. Items such as wallpapers, character models and background information provide a nice little distraction, although I couldn’t find any bonus chapters this time around; although that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering the confliction between the last bonus chapter and the main story line within this game.
Overall, True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 2 is a slight improvement over the first game, but only just. It’s more involving story, scary cut-scenes and puzzle varieties do entertain during these cold evenings, but the general layout, style of play and original problems still bare the same hallmarks from the first chapter. Despite this, the length of the game is substantially more than the first and its, quite frankly, exciting ending has left me wondering what the third chapter has in store. If you’ve played through the original and enjoyed it, then you owe it to yourself to give this next chapter a go, as you’ll get more from it. However, if you’re new to the series, then I’d advise playing through the first chapter before you tackle this one, not just to be sure of understanding the story, but to see if this series of games are for you.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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True Fear Forsaken Souls - Part 2 Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
True Fear Forsaken Souls – Part 2 builds slightly on the first chapter, but still remains haunted by the same fears.