Turn the lights off, turn the sound up and cut out all distractions. This is the classic survival horror advice given to you when you begin Lone Survivor Director’s Cut and is advice I recommend you follow. In Lone Survivor Director’s Cut you play as the unnamed, masked ‘Lone Survivor’ who finds himself trapped in an apartment building ravaged by disease. With his world and surroundings wrapped in uncertainty and strange happenings it becomes hard to grasp what is dream and what is reality. The Director’s Cut which has been brought to the PS3 and PS Vita by Jasper Byrne and Curve studios has added numerous features to the original game to help immerse you more into the game but does it succeed?
The game being done in an 8-bit pixel style doesn’t make the game look as realistic as some other games on the market but it is the defining factor of Lone Survivor. There is enough definition in the environments, backgrounds and some of the more ‘weird’ objects and ‘things’ you may encounter in the world but not quite enough that you can be totally certain what they are. The game wants you to use your imagination to fill in the answers that aren’t totally given to you and this helps you settled into the confused and frightened mindset of the main character. But the game doesn’t cut corners in the graphics department either. I have never seen as much attention to detail in a 2d pixel game as I have in this title. The colours are immensely varied instead of blocks of colour and there’s detailed textures that even adjust to the lighting. It’s the little details that make the game have a clean, finished look. From the occasional fence in the foreground, a distorted, grainy effect over the screen when things start getting weird or how when you step back to hide in the shadows, most of your distinguishable features disappear.
You never know what lurks around the corner and Lone Survivor uses all aspects of its sound to toy with you. The variety of the music in the game is immense and constantly changing. The music changes for a variety of reasons may it be a dramatic event happening, changing area, your health conditions and also with monster appearances. You can also find yourself treated with some almost relaxing music, a blessing in the chaos or a tune that will put you one edge, looking around for desperately for what is going to kill you next for no reason at all. The sound effects aren’t any less forgiving. The noise the main monsters in the game make can only be described as an unsettling, industrial noise that can’t be placed on anything living or not. It also make up for the lack of detail that the game’s graphics with one memorable moment when you need to cut something and the SFX is so horrifyingly realistic that when our main character exclaimed “I feel sick,” quite frankly so did I.
There are puzzles aplenty in Lone Survivor with you needing to explore the map trying to find items needed to progress the game. You will find yourself having to prioritize your resources effectively in order to explore. Do you try to lure an enemy to a certain location using meat and try to sneak past or do you shoot them making their threat disappear entirely. Even in matters of health you will be faced with decisions such as if you should go back and rest when your tired even though your far from home or should you listen to your body and give it what it wants. There are also NPCs that you can encounter in the game that allow you to trade things like ammo for flares or pills for health tonics. The game forces you to make a choice of what is more important to you in order to survive at all times.
The game itself manages to deliver scares that made me scream in ways I haven’t done since playing Resident Evil 3 as a kid. But the scares aren’t the only reason to fall in love with Lone Survivor. The plot trickles in from everything you interact with. The main character normally is very vocal on his opinions of weird things he finds, events that happen or even his just his love of coffee. The people you interact with in the game are just as ambiguous and leave you pondering, second guessing and trying to put together the pieces of what is really happening in this city together. Don’t expect all the answers to be delivered to you on completion of the game though. You may find yourself a bit confused during the end credits as you brain tries to process events that just unraveled, almost similar to the experience Bioshock Infinite had. With at least five different endings to the game, you will find yourself wanting to play again and uncover all of the game’s mysteries. The game doesn’t leave you in the dark this time though and gives a handy list of factors that resulted in your game ending which allows you to reflect and play again without having to dive into guides.
Lone Survivor Directors cut delivers an adult experience in both terms of its horror and it’s plot. It offers an experience that many can relate to and may even change your outlook on life. It is an entertaining, scary game you will never forget and make you beg for more.
– Undeniably scary
– Classic survival horror at it’s best
– Plenty of replay Value
– Unnerving soundtrack
– Detailed, atmospheric graphics
– Multilayered plot
– A brilliant map system
– A handy quick item use system
– You NEED to play the game more than once
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut is available to buy from the Playstation Network Store for £9.99 for both PS3 and PS Vita with crossbuy functionality.