244: The Tragedy of Alone in the Dark

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The Tragedy of Alone in the Dark

The latest addition to the Alone in the Dark series was almost universally panned when it hit shelves in 2008. But while Yahtzee heaped his share of scorn onto the game in his review, he actually has a strange affection for it. Yahtzee explains how Alone in the Dark came closer to greatness than you may think.

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An interesting article there, never played AITD myself but thats intrigued me to maybe have a look at it. It was either the way the game sounded inventive or just your use of "colourful metephors" that made that read all the sweeter

What's up with Yahtzee's hate of skybox? The skybox is nice, and being catapulted to it is like being catapulted towards a creepy stalker love interest. I don't know where I'm going with this.

Anyway, I guess we'll get to see how easy it is to make a great experimental game in a few decades, when The Master creates his magnus opus.

A well-written article on what went right as well as wrong with a game that many people have probably forgotten. Yahtzee's ZP on Alone In The Dark focused mostly on the bad points because, let's face it, that's what people expect, and entertainers give the people what they want, right? Right.

Let's not forget that Yahtzee is, in fact, a critic, and not just an entertainer. This article is a fine reminder of that.

AITD was a fairly fun game, Ill give it that, I never got passed the first taxi 'run the fuck away from the game crash' as I could never find the right route right after the Mall section.

however, I would like to see a remake of this with some actual effort put into it, hell, we might even get a 'good' game out of it. Sad though that the first three games are still some of my most played ones.

God, it is not often that I get an issue of the Escapist where all of the games mentioned are ones that I found impossible to like.

Alone in the dark was another good example of this for me. I got so stuck on the flaws that I couldn't even find the fun. As cool as it is when a game has a neat message, or is innovative in some manner, a game must always pass the fun test if I am going to like it.

I wanted to like this game. I wanted so hard to like this game.

So much Hype, so much excitement, and despite that some of the later previews pointed out things weren't looking well, i immediately pre-ordered the Limited Edition and actually got it delivered half a week before launch.
As it would turn out, the reason for that probably was so that i couldn't cancel my order when the bad reviews came in.

But still, i did my best to overlook the flaws and found stuff to like the game, like the nice presentation and the innovative gameplay elements.

But then somewhere in the more "freeform" open world part of the game (of wich i first of thought it had a nice "lone hunter" vibe to it), it just started to suck so much (with the added repetitiveness) that all my previous fascination turned into frustrated hate.

And so we learn that you better admit it when a game you want to like sucks, because otherwise you'll just suffer afterwards.

But oh well, we still have the soundtrack and one of the awesome narm-iest one-liners ever...AND F**K YOU ANYWAY!

AITD was a fairly fun game, Ill give it that, I never got passed the first taxi 'run the fuck away from the game crash' as I could never find the right route right after the Mall section.

You got lucky, I never even got out of the stupid burning apartment. At one point (not even 15 minutes into the game) I had to extinguish a burning door. I grab the fire extinguisher, hold the button it tells me to, and press the 'use' button (or was the it LMB? doesn't matter). Good ol' stupid Ed bashes the door with the extinguisher. I try again. Bash. Then I plugged in my gamepad, tried it with those controls, and nope, Ed just prefers bashing the door with the fire extinguisher instead of actually using the damn thing, so I go back to keyboard controls and switch up the controls a bit.
AND NO, HE STILL WOULDN'T FUCKING EXTINGUISH THE FIRE. I uninstalled, and sold this piece of shit. God damn.

I really want them to do a sequel. Most games with good ideas and dedication only need one more game to fix a good deal of the problems and refine their thinking. Most of the flaws are managable.

I don't know, I thought the game just sucked...=/

The Macgyvering idea was interesting, but then maybe they should just make Macgyver the game instead of generic action horror game #345,559...0o

I liked this review more than his Zero Punctuation one because he gave the good and the bad for this game. I can understand why everyone hated this game - hell I even did for the first few levels - but I eventually fell in love with it. I think the only, aside from the awful controls, that I hated in this game was the ending which was... Short, to say the least.

Ah, finally something by yathzee that i can agree with again! I thought AITD was actually not as bad as everyone says it is.
I mean, it's not great, but it's good for a fun time and that's what counts right?

I felt the same way about it. Although, I personally thought the hero needed to do one. He had no idea whats going on about anything. He's like a pothead just walked on the set of a movie and everyone thinks he's the main star, and his love interest is shrieking saying it's not him.

I quit the game after 7 attempts to cross a wooden plank. The camera just kept shifting and Edward changed direction while walking to adjust to the new camera position... and fell to his death.
I agree that the many attempted innovations had potential, that's precisely why I tried the game, but they were so badly implemented and flawed I just couldn't go on.

It sure does suck when a bad game could've been amazing if only........

Like Folklore.

"de jour"

It's spelt "de jour"

And yes, that game was broken in the most literal sense. I can even picture the production lines having a machine that breaks the discs, then puts them back together. Only one side is flipped over.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

The only way to bring inventory puzzles up to date would be to create a game where you can pick up and use every single loose object and tool, and any solution that would conceivably work in the real world is allowed for.

Scribblenauts came pretty close to doing this, with a ton of things you could summon at will to complete the tasks ahead. This didn't work perfectly, though. As Yahtzee pointed out in his review, people don't need complete freedom, as this just makes them recycle old solutions.

Fixing that will not be easy in Scribblenauts 2, but if they can add 10.000 more items, they can probably think of a solution too.

Personally I don't understand why they tried to force a love intrest on a 110 year old man.

I think i might try the PS3 version as it it rumored to be improved.

"de jour"

It's spelt "de jour"

It's actually spelled du jour.

Never played the game, but I've always kind of wondered, did you have to keep manually blinking through the whole game?

It's like he said for "Darkvoid" trying something new and failing means they at the very least have some soul and not a hard drive stuffed with money.

I'd really like to see him try out the PS3 version. That was basically the "We fixed most of the major fuck-ups of the 360 version" version of the game. I played the demo and found it to be quite functional and easy to get into.

oddly enough, my friend has started playing this recently. he was unperturbed by Yahtzee's warnings of the "devils willies" and purchased it.
needless to say, he's enjoying it, getting through it by guffawing whenever an awful mechanics/physics thing occurs.

I may even borrow it off him when its done. I got really annoyed with the blinking thing at the start, but i'm sure if i get past that, it will be fine.

This article interested me, because it echoed many of the thoughts I'd had on, of all things, Final Fantasy VIII. Yeah, that one. The middle child in the PSX FF brethren, doomed to never quite receive the attention of his younger, thicker sibling (VII) or his mightier, more respectable elder (IX).

VIII, like AITD is riddled with bad design decisions, yet each one redeems itself on reflection by being a good, swift kick to the face of convention. The worst issues that plague JRPGs are all swept away by a new and radically different 'Junction' system. Gone is the ability to simply grind your way to victory, mashing attack and intermittently casting some Cure spell (a la VII) - enemies don't just level alongside you, but ahead of you, gaining significantly better stat boosts. Fighting need not be about gaining experience, but there's now a more varied, more interesting incentive to go out and fight, which is to draw spells and obtain a collection of items. GFs shook up a stale and predictable battle system that had stayed virtually unchanged since the days of the very first FF.

Of course, that doesn't stop them from still being bad decisions. Giving any player equipped with more brain power than a cephalopod to junction himself to 9999 HP and max stats in the first few hours of the game was never going to turn out well. Nor was building a junction system that punished magic casting use with stat decay: in essence, players had little incentive to do anything other than junction to Str and spam attack, or, failing that, junction to Mag and spam the GF command command instead, the latter being only marginally more relentlessly uninteresting than the first. Hunting down rare enemies to obtain some obscure item vital to a weapon upgrade became tiring quickly, and the card game was either a pointless distraction or an express route to 99 hero drinks, that then made the game virtually un-losable.

At least the spirit was there, though, and perhaps with better execution and a little more thought, FF as a series could have taken a radically different direction. As happened, though, the cool reaction from fandom prompted the self-consciously conservative IX and may well have seeded the stagnation JRPGs have suffered from (and for) over the last decade.

I'd really like to see him try out the PS3 version. That was basically the "We fixed most of the major fuck-ups of the 360 version" version of the game. I played the demo and found it to be quite functional and easy to get into.

That's a cop out if you ask me. Essentially re-releasing the game doesn't excuse the original product. This is why I refused to buy MGS3 subsistence, why should I pay more money to a company to correct a badly designed game. In MGS3 case it was the fixed camera angle which they removed in subsistence.


You may have heard about it, but I think you would get a kick out of Deadly Premonition. It falls in the "so bad, it's hilarious" plot, music, pacing and otherwise, but there are some gameplay innovations that blew me away, like the fact that the player interacts with the character from being a split personality in his head. The main character's insanity gave us any number of hours of laughing about everything else.

hes totaly right, I mean the plot was crap and every cool thing was hampered by shoddy implimentation but dammit the game was innovative as hell. And even when you had to take out all the satan trees it still wasnt horrible since they tended to make each one its own little puzzle kinda thing, like one that really comes to mind is stuck on a piece of map you cant get too but you can drive a car to jump the cliff and blow up the car to get it

Hey, I remember buying this game. Funny thing is, I did because of Yahtzee's review. I looked at the game in its pretty (broken) steel box and tried to recall what he said about it. What I remembered was "*white noise* ...best pyrotechnics I have ever seen... *static*" and since I had a coupon I bought it.

After reading this, I'm not sure if I should still play it or not.

I greatly enjoyed AITD, once I realized that the Spray+Lighter combo made me invicible, making combat bearable. Bullets? Who needs bullets?

This game will go down as the greatest dissapointing game in my entire life.

Granted I mae many mistakes with this game: I bought it on day 1 for the Wii; but they promised up and down that they were developing it specifially for the Wii from the ground up! I'm not a stupid man, when I see a game for the Wii simultaneously released for the PS2 and the Wii, I know not to get my hopes up, but I believed that this game was different, that the PS2 would be a port of the Wii, not the other way around.

So needless to say I too was wowed by the beginning, but the then the driving happened. And then the problem with accessing the inventory happened with the broken Wii controls. And after only an hour of playing I was freaking done with this game,

Just like Yahzee says it had so much potential but it was broken like hell!

Luckily I didn't let this scare me out of getting Shattered Memories day 1, and soon I will get Fragile!

I haven't played the game, but after reading Yahtzee's description, I thought AITD might actually be good if it were a movie, you know in the just awful enough to be good sense.
But hey, at least the game lets you burn stuff, and isn't that all we really want to do in the end?

I am not certain but the Alone in the Dark movie sequel may be based on this particular Alone in the Dark game. As soon as I saw the reviews and heard so much negative comments from friends I just couldn't try it.

Frankly I'd be happy if they did what they were hinting at and released a patch that updated the 360 version to the PS3 one.

The differences really do make all the difference.

I still need to play this. I bought it as part of a `3 for £10' offer (where the other two games were games I actually wanted) in order to see if it was really as horrifically bad as I'd heard...

I remember playing the demo and playing with fire in it, but since then I've completely forgotten about the game until this article!

Also, was anyone else creeped out when they played the original "OMG THE MONSTER IS SHAMBLING OVER SLOWLY FIND THE SWITCH! FIND THE SWI-*DEAD*" Poly-rific AITD?

yes, kids, there was a time when this was creepy to folks

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