Slender The Arrival video review – What just happened?

Slender The Arrival makes its horror mark on Steam for PC gamers and will set you back £6.99. With its solitary experience and mind bending nature, is this a game worth picking up? Take a look at our Slender The Arrival video review for the full picture.

Slender The Arrival review:

Today we’re taking a look at Blue Isle Studios’ first person horror game Slender The Arrival which is available now via Steam for £6.99.  The game is an official rendition of Eric Knudson’s Slender Man and is a re-imagining and expansion of the original The Eight Pages experiential game from last year.

What the game offers are six dark and moody levels where players are thrust into an unknown’s shoes armed with a  video camera and wits. The entire game is viewed through the camera as it records everything that is happening and the only other prop players get early on is a much needed flashlight. There seems to be no real idea behind the gameplay other than collecting pieces of paper which give a little insight into the overarching  madness and progress what could be loosely described as a story. However, the real crux of the game lies in the unknown, the open and confined, the fear of being captured by the suited up Slender Man. Practically most of the game feels like its you and the elements left to work things out alone. There are no prompts, or tools to help players find their way, and so exploration by following pathways is the only sensible course of action.  The Slender Man’s presence is felt when the screen begins to warp and strange audio cues provide a sense of impending doom. So players have to run away, but the action of running feels like you’re wading  through waist high water as if merely delaying the inevitable death at the hands of your teleporting pursuer. The element of shock and fear is captured very well here, made all the more intense by the mostly inactive but creepy moments where nothing actually happens.

There’s little variation in the levels themselves beyond the aesthetics, bar collecting paper which appear on various inanimate objects that often change position each time you play. It adds a bit of purpose, but the real core gameplay mechanic is simply being scared by things that jump out at you.

In terms of graphics, the game sports a muddy gritty look to reflect the horror nature of the game. There are some impressive open areas with foliage swaying in the breeze and the option to go anywhere. However the play areas are quite boxed in and really there’s not too much to see off the beaten track.  The lighting is pretty good as the flashlight demonstrates some neat contrasts between light and dark, although sadly there are no dynamic shadows which would have aided the atmosphere. In terms of performance, the game struggles to keep solid frames and is quite a demanding game where it perhaps shouldn’t be. There are also minor issues with the mouse/controller sensitivity which even at its lowest setting are too sensitive. Probably the biggest issue with the game’s visuals is the non-toggle-able head bob which after long periods becomes a little disorientating for the eyes. There is choice to simply reduce the bob by walking, but then you’re stuck moving with the same elegance and speed expected of a snail.

Audio is both chilling, fantastic, and acts as a perfect example of how to keep the ambience sparse, with  the effects at a bare minimum, then  an assault on the ears  when  players reach a critical moment. It works wonders here and is non intrusive but best experienced via headphones.

In terms of longevity, there’s not much here in terms of content and will probably take a few hours to complete after a number of retries no doubt. There are three difficulty settings to try, and associated achievements to strive for as well, but beyond this there’s little replay value other than experiencing the random fear over and over and grabbing all the documents from each level. There are stats which can be viewed showing players times for each level, which suggests trying to best ones own times as an extended extra, but with no connection outside of the game to compare with others seems a little counter-intuitive.

To conclude, Slender the Arrival is an interesting but short-lived psychological horror experience, that’s worth checking out if you like a bit of  tension and meaningless scares. The vagueness of the game won’t be agreeable for some people, and for others, the lack of hand holding will be a godsend. On a technical level, the game could be better optimized and it’s a shame some extra effects weren’t used to add to the atmosphere.  That said, there’s some genuine fear on offer here,which shows that the most simple of concepts can work but at the end of the game it’s likely you’ll be none the wiser as to what just happened.

Score 7/10 – Review by Robert Cram

 

 

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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