Monday, 9 November 2015

Dead Realm - Preview

Horror hide-and-seek? Yes please. This is the premise that pulled me towards Dead Realm, the online multiplayer from 3BLACKDOT. Then I saw it in the Steam sale, and it was just meant to be. Sadly, I’m not entirely won over by what I’ve seen so far.

While the modes in the game are quite fun, mostly revolving around the idea of hiding and running from creepy spiritual beings – in the form of a possessed puppet, a deadly butcher, a blood-thirsty werewolf, and a few others – I found myself a little bored. In my first few games I found a hiding spot, and didn’t move for the entire time and still survived. 

Then, in the games where I was found – which genuinely did make me jump if I wasn’t expecting it – I found that running away, though adrenaline-inducing, was quite awkward using the keyboard. In full sprint from an unnatural beastie, I just couldn’t find the keys in time to crouch inside a vent or under a desk, and was soon caught. Dead Realm is the kind of game that needs controller support.

Human players do have a couple of skills to even the odds, which I think work well. One is a decoy, which stays on the map for one minute and hopefully distracts the ghoulish player long enough for escape, and the other is a force field. The latter only lasts for a few seconds, but if timed and placed correctly, it can block off a doorway or corridor to allow enough time to find a new hiding spot. These are a nice touch, and definitely give the humans more of a chance of staying human, rather than being turned into a spirit henchman of the initial ghost, doomed to hunt down the players still among the living.

Honestly, I really like the idea of Dead Realm, as I keep saying, but it is just lacking the polish and refinement that such a fast-paced game, where every wrong move could be your last, requires. That is the curse of Early Access, I guess.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t played too much of Dead Realm yet. Unlike Layers of Fear, which I reviewed on Saturday, this game just hasn’t gotten its hook into me yet. Sure, it is quite fun, and the concept is exactly what I’m looking for, but it just doesn’t seem to be working its magic on me like I thought it would. I’m not giving up on it just yet, though. 3BLACKDOT has clearly added and updated quite a bit since releasing Dead Realm on Early Access, so I’m sure there is still a lot to come, and maybe a few more games of hide-and-seek scares will reveal the game I’d been expecting. I’m always happy to go in search of my next horror love.

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