An indie studio containing some developers of the big named Bioshock series has come out with a new style to the horror franchise with a blind main character and putting it in first person view! I have been looking forward to this since the first time I played Dark Echo; a blind horror game with a top-down perspective.
Perception by The Deep End Games takes you through memories that took place within the house that has been in your dreams. Compelled and searching for answers, you will have to help put the together and experience the memories while exploring a complex, and changing, house!
Cassie is a blind woman who is in search for some answers that can only be found within a house that she had seen in her dreams, along with a few specific items that are dear to each dream chapter. Finding the truth is what drives her to push through; not that she has much option after entering the house that is!
It's a great suspense story that kept me wondering what it all means with an excellent wrap up at the end that put everything together like a perfect puzzle! Great meaning behind it all and an admirable dedication at the end.
Since your character is blind, you have to use Echolocation to be able to make out whats around you, which is why you have a cane that you can tap at any time. Making too much noise, however, will draw the enemy out to hunt for you since you gave away your location, in which you will have a hide in one of various places until the coast is clear!
There are many things that make noise and help light up the area for you, such as radios, heaters, and wind, that you can use to your advantage since it doesn't draw out "The Presence."
You can get lots of details to each memories story through various telegraphs that are laid about for you to listen to, which light up in the dark thanks to a light static sound. Aside from those, there are many items that cue memories for you to find and plenty of notes everywhere with more information. The cool aspect for the notes is that you can it with a phone app, "Delphi," that will read the entire thing out loud to you and you have a back-up option where you take a picture and it is sent to a call center that will explain over the phone what you are look at. Nick, your call center friend, has some funny and intense reactions depending on what part you send him.
You also have a sixth sense that shows you where your next objective is, which you can see glowing through all the walls. This does not give you the path of how to get there, but simply shows you where you need to go, which was incredibly helpful! I did manage to have a glitch once where one of the pathway check points through a memory ended up consistently glowing, even when I wasn't using my sixth sense. Slight distraction, but not a terrible annoyance.
I did wish that The Presence would make an appearance more often or that when it did arrive, it was more difficult or intense to get away from it, but avoiding it was very simple and so was getting away. As far as the knocking with the cane drawing attention, it was incredibly obvious when you are making too much noise and it always follows the same pattern, so after you knock and hear some crawling just wait a few seconds before making another sound. This should of been more randomized to help make more appearances from The Presence and his overall linger time should of been extended, because all my experiences lasted a max of ten seconds.
Either way, here's the first part of my playthrough:
The graphics are really well done and it is obvious what is what with some excellent jump scares placed about. The environment gave off an eerie vibe, mainly thanks to how dark it was all the time, and each memory showed a lot of unique aspects from how the decoration was to its organization.
The way they made the shadows look with the cool blue outlining of all the objects when I made noise, lighting up hiding spots and doorways as green to help show the way without making noise, and changing the color to orange and then red depending how much damage you took or how much danger you are in all made the lack of vision hardly noticeable since everything was outlined very well.
I also liked how the ghost figures had a wavy-like glow while they were around for their part of the memories.
It was often quite, which added to the eeriness and made the crawling steps or the whispering seem much louder. This combination made a lot of the situations nerve racking, like a good horror game should be! When there was music, it was fitting to the time period the memory was taking place.
The voice work was done well and I liked how they had all notes and information said aloud (or "read" aloud) so the players don't have to be the ones to read everything. The way they distorted the voice for The Presence and had it mimic some of the last words spoken was one of the best ways to give something a creepy presence on its own!
It is a linear story with only one difficulty, and I believe ending. Other than wanting to go through the memories again and experiencing the story over, there is no reason to go back through the game.
What Could Be Better
The amount of time The Presence was around; both, lingering time and amount of times showing up. I was also hoping there would be some random enemies about to avoid, which they had for part of one of the sections, but they didn't give chase or make me have to hide so it isn't exactly the same. I would of liked to have seen some patrolling enemies that I had to avoid.
It would of added more scare factors to the game to aim to have more uneasy stuff, such as visions of ghosts in the distance or lightning striking outside with no warning giving a loud bang and a flash of light through the windows.
It is a nerve-racking, eerie experience that constantly keeps in the dark, both literally and throughout the story. The memories had me wondering what was going to be next and loved the wrap up at the end, which makes the story a great aspect to the game, but there wasn't as much ghostly encounters as I originally hoped. Still had great fun!