The Slender Man concept has been around for several years now, but finally it has made its PlayStation 4 debut with Slender: The Arrival.
The majority of Slender: The Arrival is told through text, random notes or diary-like pages scattered thoughout the game. Each one helps to tell the tale of several characters. You are Lauren, who is trying to find out about your friend Kate who is missing and presumed to be taken by the Slender Man. You travel through the forest to begin with, and this is where the game shines, especially at night. The darkness forces you to use the torch and this helps build tension and atmosphere. Glimpses of The Slender Man will cause your screen to shake more violently the closer he gets, and the eerie static screeching sounds really add a layer of terror and uneasiness to the gameplay.
The gameplay on a whole is very basic, collect items and wander around. You activate generators in some levels, but the premise is the same, look for an item and click on it. The layered tension added is the inclusion of either the Slender Man or a hooded child who will sneak up on you without notice. This starts out as scary, but soon becomes frustrating as there is no real way of stopping it from happening, or even avoiding it.
The frustrations don’t stop there, there is a level where you must escape a burning environment, and it is very unclear on where you need to go, throughout the whole process you are being stalked by the main antagonist who caught me over twenty times, and having to retry something over and over again, not knowing where you went wrong is incredibly annoying, and highlights the poor level design on this particular stage.
The graphics are pretty stale in comparison to what we see today, and this game definitely looks a few years old. The indoor environments are plain looking, however they do tell a story of what happened and who lived there fairly well. The outdoor environments are clearly the bread and butter of this game, and the great lighting effects with the torch help to make this seemingly picturesque daytime location into a horror filled spot in moments.
The sound effects are strong, and pile on the tension, especially when Slender Man is nearby, your heart rate will instantly jump when you hear the flickering sounds of static and coupled with the screen shake and the heavy breathing of the character it truly connects you to the game.
Touted as one of the scariest horror games out there, my expectations were fairly high, and for the most part they were met as I am not a gamer who scares easily. I had a few jump scares in my playthrough. It may not reach the levels of fear experienced in Outlast but still manages to keep you on your toes throughout its interesting, albeit short game length overall. If you haven’t played this game yet, it is definitely worth buying, but if game length is a big concern I would urge you to wait for a price cut.
- Replay Value