Home » Alone in the Dark Review: fear and loathing in Derceto Manor
Alone in the Dark Review

Alone in the Dark Review: fear and loathing in Derceto Manor

Alone in the Dark reboot, developed by Pieces Interactive and THQ Nordic, convinces although with some reservations: the review

“After all noir is always a matter of being face to face with oneself, to mirror oneself in the crime in front of one’s face in order to discover a new truth about one’s being.” I can find no better words than those used by my partner Matteo Regoli in the review of True Detective 4 to begin telling you about the third-person-view Reboot developed by Pieces Interactive and published by THQ Nordic of Alone in The Dark, the historic first title in the series released in 1992.

Avoiding any spoilers, the story, written by Mikael Hedberg and inspired by the work of thirty-two years ago, sees Emily Hartwood (Jodie Comer, The Last Duel) and private investigator Edward Carnby (David Arbour, Stranger Things), travel to Derceto Manor, a home for the mentally ill, to shed light on the mysterious disappearance of the protagonist’s uncle, Jeremy Hartwood. Once the couple sets foot in the facility, they soon realize that something evil and dark lurks within the building, an evil capable of affecting all the tenants of Derceto Manor.

To follow in the footsteps of Jeremy, Emily and Edward will soon have to come to terms with their past that will try hard to bring down the dynamic duo – depending on the character chosen will change the cutscenes, some game areas and endings (a tip, try to collect all the Lagniappe) of Alone in The Dark – in a vortex of madness from which it will be really hard to escape (Are you in trouble? Don’t miss our complete Guide to Alone in the Dark). Past and present are like two parallel lines destined never to cross…but nothing is as it seems and so investigation will prove to be the only way to deal with the painful memories that plague their souls.

Puzzles what a passion!

The narrative of Alone in The Dark has fully convinced me accomplice to the excellent interpretation of the characters and I am not just talking about the lead actors, actors well known to the audience: every single NPC plays his role to perfection and contributes to shrouding Derceto Manor even more in mystery. Who are the good guys? Who, on the other hand, are the bad guys? All questions I continually asked myself over the course of the mission (it took me about seven hours to finish the first run with Edward).

During the adventure you’re always afraid that some creature will suddenly pop out to catch you by surprise – there are some flying insects that are just as creepy as the Novistadors of Resident Evil 4 Remake – while you’re wondering if everything you’re seeing, including the different locations that serve as the backdrop for the events (not only Derceto Manor, but also the desert, snowy localities, ancient temples, and gloomy swamps), either the stark naked reality or the fruit of the Jeremy’s subconscious projections who has now completely lost his mind: it will be up to us to try not to lose our wits exploring this “haunted house“.

Alone In The Dark Review 1

Keeping the anxiety bar high are then the environmental puzzles, all brilliantly strung together in a seemingly endless loop (I even took notes a couple of times): the sense of satisfaction every time you manage to complete one is overwhelming except then realizing that what you got from the resolution of it is just yet another piece of a puzzle to be completed one enigma after another. In that sense, the work done by Pieces Interactive in this reimagining of Alone in The Dark is truly noteworthy.

What surprised me even more was an investigative moment when I let my detective instincts take over: I completed a game session, returned to Derceto Manor, and had no more clues to follow. I opened the map and began visiting the areas of the nursing home still colored pink (not yet inspected all the way through). Without having any idea what I was doing, I opened a room door, which was followed by an interlude scene that in turn activated a new goal: I was ready to dive headlong back into the search for Jeremy Hartwood.

The monstrosities of Alone in the Dark

Alone in the Dark is a pure survival horror for which the same rules apply as for other exponents of the genre: few bullets available in an armamentarium consisting of pistol, double-barrel shotgun, and machine gun. In order not to find yourself running out of ammunition, it is important to alternate between firearms and the various blunt and non-blunt (the latter of which are useful for distracting creatures and then getting away with it) that you pick up around the map. The feedback in hand-to-hand combat is rather erratic: at some junctures, I was able to slow the enemy’s advance; at others, however, I felt that I did not even tickle him despite crashing an oar into the skull of the ‘poor’ unfortunate.

The few monsters are definitely mobile, and it will not be easy to always hit the target (always favor head shots). In addition, the crosshair narrows by remaining stationary in place: therefore, it will be important to keep the right distance between us and the enemy so that we have plenty of time to aim and fire. If with two-legged opponents, the gunplay, all in all, seemed more than convincing to me, it is with land-based enemies that I noticed more critical issues, largely due to camera management that was not always perfect, especially in the melee approach.

Alone In The Dark Reboot
Alone in you Dark, terrifying creatures and where to find them

Also from a technical point of view Alone in the Dark is not flawless: a day one patch is planned that will hopefully solve some minor issues encountered during the trial, such as, the sound of the gunshot perceived much later than when I pulled the trigger or the need to have to restart the last checkpoint because I was unable to interact with the surrounding environment. Nothing particularly problematic that did not affect in any way the experience as a whole.

True love for the saga

Summing up, in this new Alone in the Dark you can feel all of Pieces Interactive’s love for the saga: the development studio’s goal of reimagining the 1992 production by offering a story that harkens back to the original game and gameplay that tries to keep up with the times is, in my opinion, 100% achieved.

The action is a little dirty, it is true, but, if I remember correctly, I have always been taught that the main components of a survival horror are atmosphere, the sound design, puzzles and narrative, which here turn out to be well blended together. Confident of a corrective patch to smooth out some technical flaws, the final grade can only be positive: an extra 0.5 I give super gladly.

Andrea Baiocco

Amo la birra, il basket e i videogiochi. Sogno un'Ipa al pub con Kratos e una scampagnata con Nathan Drake. Scrivo su Lascimmiapensa e su Everyeye mentre provo a parlare su Freaking News.

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