#1 Edited by Yummylee (21665 posts) -

OK, it's not that I think I don't like it, I know I don't. But I'm still semi-reluctant in facing that fact because I should like this game! I should like this game a lot in fact. It's this small-scale love letter to the classic Silent Hill games; it (from what I played) pretty much takes place exclusively in an apartment building; it has a very eerie soundtrack, mixed with some calming synth stuff to outright noise intended to make you feel comfortable; you can examine nearly everything in the environment and your inventory, and so on. Talking to his stuffed cat is a small but pretty effective touch in adding to the atmosphere and highlighting your character's mental state, or lack thereof, and there's a lot of little things like that in there that I really admire.

On paper, Lone Survivor sounds like a game made exactly for me! But, for one thing, I really dislike the art style. I'm not one who's especially into pixel art all that much to begin with, but Lone Survivor's extra chunky pixels doesn't quite jive with me very much. It has some great atmosphere, courtesy of the soundtrack, but the actual visuals don't do enough to leave me feeling uncomfortable or scared in any way. And of course, as has been mentioned many a time already in the past, the main character's face mask resembles a giant Quagmire grin and I CAN'T BLOODY UNSEE IT OH GOD.

The gameplay itself seems fine. I enjoy the idea that of course supplies for everything are extremely scarce; stumbling upon a new flashlight battery always gives me the feeling of relief. The combat's simple and not really... fun, but hey survival horror so that's not really the point. But not having access to your map (unless I'm doing something wrong?) is really annoying, since a lot of the apartment all looks pretty similar. And while I also like me some obscure psychological horror stuff, Lone Survivor so far seems a little too abstract. It's admittedly rather harsh to judge a game's story when I've barely seen any of it, but as of now it all feels like it's being random for the sake of random. Which, again, kind of an empty criticism but the point is it's not engaging me quite like Silent Hill usually does; it doesn't share the same alluring mystique that is so often there at the forefront.

Bottom line is, I don't find it to be particularly scary. The soundtrack is really good and makes for a great bit of faux-Akira Yamaoka, but everything else just isn't grabbing me. Exploring the apartment is a bit of a hassle, and the art style simply doesn't cater to my tastes unfortunately. I may eventually force my way through it bit-by-bit (LULZ), but as of now I can't say I'm left with the desire of wanting to jump right back in there and solve this mystery ect.

Jeez, badmouthing this game frankly makes my heart ache. Because as I said, I wish I liked this game more, I really do... Oh well, I can still take a little solace in thinking that I've thrown a little support to the guy's way for making his own little survival horror thing. I've actually bought this thing twice now! Once on the PC, but for some reason playing it with keyboard controls felt really off to me, so I eventually bought the DC version on the PS3.

/sighhhhhhhh

#2 Posted by bybeach (4832 posts) -

I bought it, played a little bit of it, and generally I respected it. I still have to get back to Lone survivor. .

The art worked in my book. But still, I am not a fan of pixel art either. The dev. kind of did well with a medium I do not care for.

#3 Posted by shivermetimbers (774 posts) -

You can bring up the map (at least on PC, no idea about PS3)....but it's very, very shit. Having a 3D map in a 2D game is very disorienting. Also the chase sequences when you do need the map are terrible. It is worth playing and seeing it through, tho.

#4 Posted by Sackmanjones (4705 posts) -

I loved every minute of the game. It's not scary but the writing and music is incredible. I like the atmosphere and the story. I saw the grin you were talking about for maybe an hour and then it went away. I'm reall surprised you don't like it though considering we have similar taste in these games! I just thought it was brilliant all the way through.

#5 Edited by Nightriff (5085 posts) -

I still need to play this...how long of a game is it? Disappointed to read that our resident horror user didn't like it, but I've bought the game twice now, I need to at least experience it.

#6 Posted by Yummylee (21665 posts) -

@nightriff: lol I would most certainly not label myself as the forums resident horror user. Resident Evil user maybe :P, but I unfortunately haven't played that many horror games, least modern ones anywhoo, due to a majority of 'em being PC exclusive, and my PC is hardly fit to play anything beyond, like, 2007 or something...

@sackmanjones:@shivermetimbers: Yeah, I'm hoping the story will perhaps be able to make up for a lot of the grievances I'm having with it. But of course it's a rather slow build, so it's proving to be difficult to keep my attention focussed on it. I should definitely see it through to the end... eventually. Hopefully my opinion on it may change for the better as it goes on.

Also, whenever I try to use the map the survivor says something like ''I know this place like the back of my hand'' or ''I don't need a map!'' regardless of where I am. He'll pull it up whence there's like a new primary location to head to, but otherwise it's completely inaccessible as far as I can tell. So is that a bug exclusive to the PS3 version or...?

#7 Posted by ShaggE (6456 posts) -

I couldn't get into it at all. It just makes me wish I were playing Silent Hill. (and yeah, the grin thing takes me out of it immediately)

It's a really cool thing, it's just not what I'm looking for in a horror game.

#8 Posted by Nightriff (5085 posts) -

@yummylee: You aren't giving yourself enough credit about your reputation on the GB forums.

#9 Posted by Atwa (620 posts) -

I absolutely loved it, yeah its not really that scary but the atmosphere feels straight out of a Silent Hill game in many ways. Generally it really reminded me of Silent Hill with the structure and all, except that its 2D.

#10 Edited by Brodehouse (9951 posts) -

Yeah, I saw it more as a love letter to horror and creepiness than something that was meant to legitimately disturb anyone. The art style allows for imagination, but creates a lot of distance between you and the action. When creepy things happen in Lone Survivor, and they do, my reaction is "this is creepy and awesome!" and not "this is creepy and I'll believe in Jesus if he'll help me now". It's like how in hindsight that giant face in SH4 is awesome, but when I first saw it I had a full on NOPE and ran out of the room. Lone Survivor lacks the punch due to art style and perspective. Maybe that's not totally terrible.

#11 Edited by CornBREDX (5306 posts) -

I can see why the art style is off putting- I particularly don't like that I have to zoom it in every time I play the game to be able to make out anything. So, I'm not a fan of the art style either, but I liked the game for it's atmosphere and story.

The game play is fairly reminiscent of silent hill minus maybe the hiding bits and the only frustration in it is when you cant eat or something because you cant find any more food (and he seems to get hungry a little too often).

You can use a map, last time I checked, but I haven't played it since it came out (on PC) so I don't know if they changed it. Before the map visibility was determined by whether or not you had light so if you didn't have a flash light on and you weren't in a room with a light the map was dark and it was hard to see but you could still bring it up and it would mark up just like it did in Silent Hill. I actually used the map often as it's strangely easy to get lost despite the game being 2d.I don't remember though if there was something you had to do for that- maybe he doesn't want to use it until after a certain moment in the story. I don't remember.

Anyway, ya. The game is a bit rough around the edges but has a fun mind bending story. I enjoyed that aspect of it.

#12 Posted by Sackmanjones (4705 posts) -

@yummylee: I'm pretty sure that is somethin to do with hardcore mode (I think that's what it's called). I've been replaying it in that difficulty and that's what I've been getting as well. I hope you stick with it though. The writing I think is excellent and the story isn't for everyone because it leaves a lot of things for you to interpret. I guess I'm just a sucker for that kind or stuff

#13 Edited by Yummylee (21665 posts) -
@atwa said:

I absolutely loved it, yeah its not really that scary but the atmosphere feels straight out of a Silent Hill game in many ways. Generally it really reminded me of Silent Hill with the structure and all, except that its 2D.

The 2D perspective honestly might be what's doing it for me as well...

@brodehouse said:

Yeah, I saw it more as a love letter to horror and creepiness than something that was meant to legitimately disturb anyone. The art style both allows for imagination, but creates a lot of distance between you and the action. When creepy things happen in Lone Survivor, and they do, my reaction is "this is creepy and awesome!" and not "this is creepy and I'll believe in Jesus if he'll help me now". It's like how in hindsight that giant face in SH4 is awesome, but when I first saw it I had a full on NOPE and ran out of the room. Lone Survivor lacks the punch due to art style and perspective. Maybe that's not totally terrible.

Perhaps this speaks to my lack of imagination in that case... And I see what you mean, as I too enjoy the macabre not just to be scared, but also because of that weird primal joy in witnessing some truly fucked up shit. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not someone that seeks out snuff films or whatever, it's all purely from a fictional media context... Just think it's worth pointing that out :P

Anywhoo, it's the reason why I find stuff like The Thing still works, even if you've already seen it, because it can still be appreciated for its disgustingly awesome practical effects even if all the actual tension has been evaporated because you already know who's the thing ect. In fact I've always had a really strange fascination with body-horror stuff in general; the climatic scene from Society was a real hoot... But I guess Lone Survivor isn't quite graphic enough; I still need some higher production values to really appreciate it all.

Though I did totally have that exact same NOPE reaction when I first encountered the giant fleshy dinosaur thing on the first floor; that was kind of a thrill. I liked the survivor's response upon leaving as well, like it was the game's way of acknowledging that of course you're just going to hightail it outta there after seeing that thing.

Just really wish the pixel art wasn't quite that chunky all the same, though

#14 Posted by Yummylee (21665 posts) -

@yummylee: I'm pretty sure that is somethin to do with hardcore mode (I think that's what it's called). I've been replaying it in that difficulty and that's what I've been getting as well. I hope you stick with it though. The writing I think is excellent and the story isn't for everyone because it leaves a lot of things for you to interpret. I guess I'm just a sucker for that kind or stuff

Oh, I definitely don't doubt that. I'm sure there's probably like 20 endings, one of which can only be attained by not killing any of the monsters or something.

#15 Edited by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@yummylee said:

@sackmanjones said:

@yummylee: I'm pretty sure that is somethin to do with hardcore mode (I think that's what it's called). I've been replaying it in that difficulty and that's what I've been getting as well. I hope you stick with it though. The writing I think is excellent and the story isn't for everyone because it leaves a lot of things for you to interpret. I guess I'm just a sucker for that kind or stuff

Oh, I definitely don't doubt that. I'm sure there's probably like 20 endings, one of which can only be attained by not killing any of the monsters or something.

There is indeed an ending for killing as little as possible. In the original game, it was the only ending that gave, like, any closure or resolution to the story whatsoever. I haven't played it since the Director's Cut update, so I don't know what the new endings entail.

Anyway, my biggest issue with the game is that it never really communicates that there is a hidden sanity stat that affects the ending you get. Anything that would make you happy/give you peace of mind increases the sanity stat (talking to the stuffed cat, there's a tree just outside your apartment you can water and talk to, you can play a gameboy though don't do it more than once a day, eating better food but not overeating, reading comic books, using the green pills, etc.), while things that reduce the stat include killing enemies, getting hit by enemies, entering a particular room in the basement that makes you freak out because it's full of scary loud noises for no reason and you have no way of seeing this coming (unless they patched that out, seriously it's super bullshit), eating bad food, and using the red pills. There are some NPCs/bosses you can avoid killing as well, which helps keep your sanity up. The Director arbitrarily withholds some really good cooking items unless you have a super high sanity stat each time you talk to him.

I don't think the game needed a fat sanity meter like Eternal Darkness or anything, but it BARELY hints at there being a sanity stat at all. It tells you to maybe not kill all the bad guys, but it sounds like more of a hint about conserving resources and ammo than it is about "Hey, you're stressing your fragile psyche every time you kill a guy". It would be like if Dishonored didn't really make it clear that killing more guys causes more Chaos and is detrimental to the city.

All that being said, I think the story is actually really neat once you've seen that "kill as little as possible" ending, because even that isn't the whole picture. There are some random things you can find in the environment (there are some pretty significant newspaper articles you can find in one apartment) that further elaborate on what the scenario may have been for the main character leading up to the start of the game. Granted, I probably wouldn't have pieced that together without reading it on the internet. Also, I guess the new endings require you to finish the game with an extremely high sanity stat, according to the wiki. I kinda wouldn't mind playing the game again, but there are like a million ways you could fuck that up and merely finish the game with an A+ or A- sanity instead of S-rank sanity.

Anyway, it's kinda hard enough that the game is clunky like old Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but I can't imagine playing it without a map. The levels intersect and connect in some weird ways which are hard to figure out even with the map. The green ending is actually pretty doable once you know to shoot as few enemies as possible and use flares to get by whenever possible, because the range of sanity that still allows for the better ending is pretty forgiving. I came away really liking the game, even though I think the sanity thing is WAY too obtuse. I also agree that the pixel art is kinda off-putting much of the time, especially in how GIANT the text is.

#16 Posted by Slag (4406 posts) -

I dunno @yummylee, your argument makes sense to me. In your shoes I wouldn't feel guilty about it. It's ok to not like something. Sometimes a game has a great premise and it just doesn't execute well on it for one reason or another.

I don't remember survival horror being a thing per say until graphics improved to the point of the polygonal age (late 90's). Maybe that's a basic necessity to make scare/tension factor work. Just going off causal observations, your feelings about the 2d pixel graphics seems like it matches the evidence.

I'm not a fan of survival horror, so I'll take your word for it.

#17 Edited by Yummylee (21665 posts) -

@bisonhero: Wow, that there's some Souls level obscurity practically. I always assumed the pills were specifically related to how the survivor would sleep, what dreams he'd be having ect. It never even occurred to me to think that there might be this mental state meter forever lingering in the background... but then I guess that's precisely the point of your post. I guess it was intentional because the developer wanted it to seem natural, instead of like you mentioned representing it with a literal meter ala Eternal Darkness. Sucks to hear that apparently only one ending is worthwhile, although maybe the additional endings in the DC version make up for that. When I give the game another go I'll least have a new perspective on things this time. Though I'd still rather try to play the game as organically as possible and not feel like I'm 'gaming' the system -- even in the face of the high likelihood that I'll be getting one of the worse endings in the process.

@slag said:

I dunno @yummylee, your argument makes sense to me. In your shoes I wouldn't feel guilty about it. It's ok to not like something. Sometimes a game has a great premise and it just doesn't execute well on it for one reason or another.

I don't remember survival horror being a thing per say until graphics improved to the point of the polygonal age (late 90's). Maybe that's a basic necessity to make scare/tension factor work. Just going off causal observations, your feelings about the 2d pixel graphics seems like it matches the evidence.

I'm not a fan of survival horror, so I'll take your word for it.

I think it's because of how much of a rarity it is that I get to play a new horror game. After all, most of 'em are all located on PC because it's something of a niche market these days -- though it's definitely gaining back some popularity in the past few years. So basically, whenever it comes time for me to find a new horror game within me mitts, I'll then feel really down if I don't happen to enjoy it. It's part of the reason why I'm also a little more forgiving than most towards the latter few Silent Hill games like Homecoming and Downpour. Well, Downpour specifically, as even I can agree with many of the criticisms levied against Homecoming.

It's a 'beggars can't be choosers' sort of mentality I've got going on with all of this, I guess. It's why I'm also extra terrified about how The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation turn out...

#18 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -

@yummylee: I think you can do a pretty organic playthrough and still get the good ending (called the "green ending" because it is associated with the green pills). I didn't restart the game (I don't think?) and shot a bunch of stuff in the apartment, but still got the good ending by playing the rest of the game a little more carefully (because I read a FAQ that mentioned the existence of sanity and gave some examples of how you affect it). Just like, do the right thing? With regards to NPCs and taking care of yourself, and avoiding confrontation with enemies when possible. The green ending happens if you get a sanity rating (only shown literally after the credits) of like A-C, the bad ending is D-F, and really bad ending is X, which you can only get if you mistreat every enemy, NPC, and yourself like as much as possible. Scraping a C or B is pretty doable even without knowing all of the really particular stuff I outlined.

Though there are some sidequests I think you should flatout just look up; (super mild spoilers) you find a kitten on the streets outside, and can feed it some cat food. It walks away. It then reappears on a different street you've already explored and have absolutely no reason to revisit. You can go there, feed it again, it walks away. Do that like 2 more times in 2 different locations, and it finally likes you enough that it appears at the window of your apartment, and stays with you, and it boosts up your sanity a HUGE amount when you talk to it. Most people only find the cat the first time (I think it's like right along the critical path), because you have to do so much backtracking to find it the other 3 times and actually earn its trust, and since food is so limited in the game, most people aren't thinking "How about I waste my time backtracking to fucking everywhere".

#19 Posted by Slag (4406 posts) -

@yummylee said:

I think it's because of how much of a rarity it is that I get to play a new horror game. After all, most of 'em are all located on PC because it's something of a niche market these days -- though it's definitely gaining back some popularity in the past few years. So basically, whenever it comes time for me to find a new horror game within me mitts, I'll then feel really down if I don't happen to enjoy it. It's part of the reason why I'm also a little more forgiving than most towards the latter few Silent Hill games like Homecoming and Downpour. Well, Downpour specifically, as even I can agree with many of the criticisms levied against Homecoming.

It's a 'beggars can't be choosers' sort of mentality I've got going on with all of this, I guess. It's why I'm also extra terrified about how The Evil Within and Alien: Isolation turn out...

makes total sense

Kinda similar to how I feel about console JRPGs, I know I'm not as hard on them as I could be, just because I'm glad there is any at all. These days they seem to be comparatively rare to how they used to be, most have moved to handhelds.

I hadn't heard of either game until you brought them up, but it does look on the surface that Evil Within has some serious promise.

#20 Edited by JZ (2125 posts) -

You don't have to like it. It's okay

#21 Posted by Yummylee (21665 posts) -

@bisonhero: Huh, well cheers for the advice. I'll definitely keep it all in mind when I finally decide to head back in. With us being on the cusp of Dark Souls II's release, however, that may be a while...