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I truly enjoyed the first Layers Of Fear –game, giving it solid 4/5. It was scary, unique, grotesque, dark and harrowing. Everything I like a good horror game to be. Layers Of Fear developer Bloober Team, has also made another of my favourite game Observer, that is none less than 5/5. This Polish studio has very unusual take on video games, making them being beautiful digital art. Layers Of Fear 2 has come to the daylight (more to the darkness of the night) and I couldn’t be more eager to play it.
The plot of the Layers Of Fear 2 is kinda difficult to explain, as it’s not linear, simple or completely clear, since many things used in the story (plot and visuals) were left for player’s perception and understanding.
The story starts from me (an unannounced person) being in a huge cruise ship. Everything’s beautiful 1910-20-ish decor giving me sense of the era I’m in. I soon found out to be the only person there. Many things were going on the ship, such as food missing, a possible stowaway person(s) onboard and a film group shooting a motion picture there; which I seem to be acting in a main role. It seems player goes through different kinds of memories and experiences with horroring twist in them. Feels like all the bad memories were filled with the literal feelings that person had and it shows in many scary and disturbing ways.
The story might be little bit hard to follow as it’s not completely linear. Things happening in different order and some of the situations might never be seen if the player misses to collect some objects or such. I always like to search every inch in the games, but with Layers Of Fear 2 sometimes I had to run for my life and leave some areas not thoroughly searched. Player can easily not to search ‘every inch’ to get the main storyline, but I recommend to take your time to really enjoy the experience.
Gameplay & Controls
The gameplay with controls are very minimal, which is same as in the first game. Player can walk, run, crawl, grab objects, open doors and interact with environment. This is all the game needs and I don’t find anything negative to say about it. It was obvious that the story and visual experience were the main point of Layers Of Fear 2 and the gameplay was simplified, yet varied.
The game contains different Acts that takes place in one certain memory and goes through that until player comes back to the safe point and continues to the another act. Collectables were everywhere and some of them seemed to be very well hidden and I can believe them being in situations when I had to run like a maniac away from something that was always after me. If the thing got me, I died. Luckily, the checkpoints were near all the time.
Layers Of Fear 2 is beautiful visually with kind of gloomy atmosphere all around. The game wasn’t overly bloody or disgusting, more of visually strange and horroring, teasing player with it all. The game used a movie-like effect making the image looked little crooked on the sides, like some movie cameras does. Graphically and artistically I found this piece to be beautiful and original, just like the first game.
I think I have never, ever been as scared of an audio in any video game, ever. Layers Of Fear 2 has such intense and well placed sound effects and background music that it gave me nightmares. Personally, that was more scary than the visual effects.
The player doesn’t talk anything, so he or she is left to be mysterious character until the end. The other memories and main characters were voice acted. Video games has tendencies to have rather dull or bad voice acting, but Layers Of Fear 2 has it well. Voice acting is always something I take close look at in games.
I think Layers Of Fear 2 wasn’t meant to be overly complex or hard, but rather scary, mysterious, diverse, sometimes little lost and panicing where to run away to get safe. There were moments I had to try some portions few times, but I usually always found my way out. The game includes some puzzles, but they aren’t overly difficult, more of different each time which will disorients player.
Many might say “this is another nameless first-person walking horror simulation”, but it’s not! There is so much to do, collect and story that this truly felt like a game. It didn’t have any fighting, health, stamina, etc. system, but it doesn’t make it any less a fully realized game.
I’m happy that Layers Of Fear 2 wasn’t full of cheap jump scares, but ingeniously made scares and visual gags. Team behind this game seem to be very artisic and capable of doing amazing job with visual and audial effects. The story is ongoing, heading deeper and deeper into it, and that was what kept me going. I wanted to know the full story and the conclusion.
I can recommend this to horror/psychological thriller lovers and if you enjoyed the first game, this is a must addition to your collection. Truly, player need to play and carve out this fear layer by layer.
Review copy provided by publisher.
RELEASE DATE: May 28, 2019
GENRE: First-person/Psychological thriller/Horror
PUBLISHER: Gun Media
DEVELOPER: Bloober Team
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 4
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