|Opening title's scarier than the actual game...|
Today, I'm going to be writing my review of the PC-based game, Slender. (By Parsec)~
Now, I think it's safe to assume that we all remember when this game first surfaced on the internet. 'Slender', a game that was supposedly 'terrifying'. So 'nerve-racking' that it would give you 'nightmares for weeks'. The reality of it all, however, is something a little bit different. I was actually quite looking forward to playing this game, I sat there staring at the installation wizard with eager eyes, waiting to pounce. Finally it installed onto my PC and I was all set to play. But it was then, at that moment, that I no longer wanted to. I can honestly say that just the opening screen (seen above) put the fear of God inside me. I was expecting a game so horrifyingly scary that I'd have to grab a change of underwear, and I began thinking that as soon as the word 'Slender' appeared in a scrawly font on the monitor. I'm personally not one for playing horror games, the other day, a friend recommended 'Amnesia' but I honestly refuse to play it. And so, when I began to get scared, just by the opening screen, I knew I was going to need some backup. One Facebook message later, my boyfriend was sitting there with me, eager to play, too. Still refusing to play it, I passed the laptop over to him. He then proceeded to the menu, messed around with the settings a little (turning off the fog, etc.) And clicked 'continue'... The game started, the torch flicked on, and we were both sitting there in suspense.
Okay so, the only objective in this game is to locate the 8 'pages' that are lying around in various places in this forest. It all seems rather simple, and it is... Providing that you don't bump into Mr. Slendy along the way. You play as a young female investigator, sent into this forest by some random, unidentified people to collect these pages for whatever reason. In this forest with you, is the fictional creature 'Slender-man'. (Created on the SomethingAwful forums a few years ago.) As you collect pages, the difficulty will increase and he will start to come looking for you. I guess it's understandable, you are in his home, walking around and removing his works of art. These pages you're collecting each have different, childish drawings on them, leading most to suspect that they were left there as warning signs by his past victims. (Slendy takes kids, 'yo.) and the more of 'em you find, the angrier Slender-man gets. And the faster he gets, too. By the time you've got 6 pages (if you actually manage to last that long), you don't want to turn around under any circumstances, because you can guarantee he's right there behind you. All in all, it sounds like it should be quite easy to play, the objective is simple and it only really starts to get difficult once you collect a few pages. However, there are a few aspects of Slender that make it a little bit more difficult.
Firstly, you have your flashlight. It's a standard flashlight, essential for keeping you alive out there amongst those trees. However, strangely enough it seems to be running out of juice, fast. And you just so happen to not have any spare batteries with you. Once that torch goes out, you're just a walking target. So, it's advised in the user manual to occasionally switch off your flashlight whilst heading along straight paths, to conserve battery life, and also to make the game that extra little bit scarier. Then we have the bathroom, it's all very good getting yourself into that place, but getting out again is a whole other story. If Slender-man happens to track you and follows you into that bathroom, you are completely and utterly screwed. You have no chance of getting out, and that became highly frustrating as it seems like he just hides in there, waiting for you to come strolling past. In fact, Slender itself didn't really come across as the 'terrifying experience' I'd been expecting back at the start, when I couldn't even bring myself to start the game. In the end it became more of a nuisance rather than anything else. The storyline behind it is brilliantly simple, but actually completing your objective takes hours and hours of persevering, and there's no save points. It's literally straight in, straight out with your pages. So if Slendy catches you before you've got all 8, you have to watch what should be seen as a 'scary cut-scene' and then start all over again.
My main problem with Slender was the animation on Slender-man himself. It's all very well, the designers putting tonnes of work into the map and surroundings, making everything appear realistic, but what's the point of putting all of that effort into a game if you're going to make the scariest part of it look like this:
|'Slender' Map - Courtesy of The Slender Man Wiki|
http://slendergame.com/ - Slender (Version 9.6 is best)
http://www.slendermansshadow.com/ - Slender Spin-offs 'Sanatorium' and 'Hospice'
http://www.flyingpie.nl/?page=slendermod - Slender Mod (Modification of original 'Slender' game)
I thought it was simple, yet good at the same time. They found that balance, it wasn't boring. However, after a while, locating the pages each time became rather frustrating. (Since they move around each time you re-start the game.)
All was good apart from the actual man of the hour. When it came to Slender-man's animation, I was quite disappointed, since I was expecting it to be quite scary and in reality, it wasn't scary at all.
The graphics were quite smooth, there was rarely any lags or 'jumping' which was a pleasant surprise, as most games tend to jump a lot on my PC. However, everything seemed to slow down a little bit each time you moved your torch around or you used the 'sprint option' and things slowed down dramatically whilst it was loading Slendy into the scene.
Don't even get me started... A toddlers play-dough creation, that's all I'm saying.
Footsteps didn't sound too realistic, they reminded me of my cat when he's eating his biscuits in the morning... The cheeping of the cicadas got a bit annoying towards the end of planning the game. (A few hours worth of 'cheep-cheep' and you're bound to get annoyed.) There wasn't any music, which, being in a forest, I can see as understandable. The sound effect that plays when Slender-man appears made me jump, so bonus points for that.
So, all in all... I'll give Slender...
It's not a bad game, but it's not necessarily a good game either, and for that reason alone, I'm only scoring Slender 4 stars out of a possible 5. It was interesting to play at first, but in reality it's nothing special.