Layers of Fear Review #PS4
Well, I wanted to play Layers of Fear as soon as it came out, and thanks to Evolve Terminal I was able to. This is a game I was excited to play, thanks to it being heavily influenced by P.T. – perhaps my favourite gaming experience of 2014. I got to play it the day after it was released on PS4 and my expectations of this “psychological and psychedelic adventure horror game’ were pretty high.
First of all, the atmosphere this game manages to build is nothing less than outstanding. You play the entire game in first person, as an artist. One of the first things you learn is that the protagonist has a limp. You hear the limp as you walk but you can almost feel it too in the way the camera bobs, it’s really impressive and it certainly puts you into the character quickly. You know you limp and that you live in a grand Victorian house and you know people live/lived there with you and something’s not right.
One of the things that will get on your nerves is the action of opening and closing doors, drawers, ovens and so on. It’s annoying. But that won’t stop you from opening everything you can in each of the rooms you go into, which is a good thing because there are things for you to find, letters, pictures, objects that all help to tell the story of the past that work towards explaining your misery of today. I would have preferred simpler game mechanics, perhaps simply pressing X to open or close the doors rather than having to hold down R2 and using the right stick to push or pull. This is pretty much my ONLY gripe of the entire game – that and the fact that there isn’t a platinum trophy but that can be forgiven. Oh and I mention the fact that the frame rate really dropped out from time to time. This too was annoying but it is something that I can overlook as it didn’t ruin the gaming experience for me. If anything it probably helped to keep my blood pressure stable.
You start this game expecting jump scares and you get them, but you also get a natural build-up of tension. Rooms, paintings and the layout of the house changes, you turn and suddenly a door has vanished or the look and the feel of the room has transformed, within less than a second. It’s impressive and seamless and this puts you on edge. You never know what to expect. By the 3rd or 4th level I was on high alert and had to take a bit of a break to tame my agitated nerves.
There are a few puzzles to solve as you work your way through the levels. These puzzles aren’t too challenging, which is a positive because you’re already put in a stressful situation exploring the artist’s madness. Most people will be able to solve them without outside assistance, just keep on looking and the answers are there.
The trophy earning collectables include old family photos and letters along with pictures featuring rats. You’ll also pick up objects to complete each level, each one is quite disturbing in nature, adding to the intensity and level of threat you feel in the game. That being said, the longer you play it, the less fear you have simply because it becomes clear that you aren’t in danger – you’re not going to die and have to go back to your last save. With this comes confidence and provided you have someone in the room with you, you’re able to face the scares with a lot of confidence.
If you love a good scare and want to be fully immersed in the experience, I recommend you play the game with the lights off, alone, with your headphones on. It will give you everything you’re after in a horror title. I loved the way you worked through the story, the use of the art, the way you progressed through the levels and the end result. It’s a really clever title that is worthy of being in your collection and I think it will be a game that most people will want to replay. I know I will be and not only because I missed a few of the trophies the first time round. I completed the game in about 4 hours, collecting all but 5 trophies.
It’s worth the £15.99 price tag (current price in the PSN store) and I’d actually love to own it on hard copy. I watched the Rooster Teeth’s Layers of Fear Unboxing and Let’s Watch and the press kit was certainly impressive, shame it’s not available to buy as a collector’s edition. Perhaps one day?
Yes, buy this game if you love horror titles.
No, don’t buy this game if you are paranoid about having a personality disorder!
Layers of Fear gets 5 out of 5 from me, even with the negatives as mentioned at the start. Loved it and I cannot wait to see what Bloober Team come out with next.
Layers of Fear
Available on: PS4 , Windows , Xbox One
Developer: Bloober Team / Publisher: Aspyr Media