Alone in the Dark wallpaper
March 20, 2024

Are you afraid of the dark? Then turn off the lights and plunge into our Alone in the Dark review!

Why do we enjoy horror? For over almost as long as movies have been around and since the first horror game in the ’70s, we have been obsessed with terrifying experiences. Nowadays, they are staples of pop culture, with survival horror games being one of the most popular. One theory suggests we enjoy this stimulation as it recreates a threatening situation that we don’t normally face and finishing a game or movie, brings a threat mastery response as having conquered the horrors thus inducing a euphoric high.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 dark alley

A dark alley always ends badly…

This genre can be traced back to the original Alone in the Dark game as one of the first survival horror games. Released in 1992, it had a huge focus on exploration and puzzle-solving instead of combat. Now, THQ Nordic along with Pieces Interactive have brought the past to the present in a full-blown re-imagining of the original game in a love letter to the franchise. So does Alone in the Dark put a shiver down your spine or is it lights out for another remake? Find out in our review!

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 Jeremy Hartwood

Where in the world is Jeremy Hartwood?

Alone in the Dark Review – Story

Welcome to Dercerto Manor, a safe haven for the mentally troubled and misunderstood. Run by the ominous Doctor Grey, it’s here that is the focus of the search for Jeremy Hartwood. His niece, Emily Hartwood (Jodie Comer) received a letter that made her concerned for his wellbeing. She has hired a Private Detective, Edward Carnby (David Harbour) to accompany her, just in case things get out of hand.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 Dercerto Manor

Very inviting…

You first decide who to play and thus begins our investigation to discover the true secret hidden within Manor Dercerto. At first, things seem a little strange as you are introduced to the house staff and several of the other guests. Not long after exploring Jeremy’s room, your character finds themselves in another place, a city with creatures hiding in the dark.

An excellent cast!

In your attempt to work out what’s going on, you discover an amulet that transports you to different parts of the world and realise that Jeremy is somewhere within these hidden worlds. He is being chased by the dark man, who is a mysterious figure that seems to be a figment of his imagination.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 dark street

I’m not in Kansas anymore Eddy.

As you trek across the manor and space-time itself, you will find yourself exploring graveyards, swamps and even an Egyptian tomb! With madness increasing all around you, your character must get to the bottom of these strange occurrences to find Jeremy before it’s too late. By the end of the game, you’ll be questioning if anything was actually real…

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 Egyptian tomb

Just waiting for a tomb raider to show up.

Alone in the Dark Review – Gameplay

Most survival horror games feature two different main core elements of gameplay: combat and puzzles. Unfortunately, in this case, the combat lacks the severity and challenge of similar games. You get quite a few different weapons to use, a pistol, shotgun and even a tommy gun but these all just seem to increase damage/fire rate. It feels a tad bit hollow fighting enemies and there is a lot left to be desired.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 Tommy gun

Say hello to my little friend!

When exploring and fighting you do have unlimited stamina for running (not that it’s incredibly fast) and also a very erratic dodge. Hand-held weapons like axes can be found littered through the map, although they break after a few uses. There are also no upgrades for your weapons whatsoever, making them more of a tool to solve combat puzzles rather than enjoying the action.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 combat pistol

Don’t waste your limited ammo!

Whilst the combat and movement are a bit clunky, the story and puzzles overcome this tenfold. Before you start the game you can choose between two types of exploration, one with a map telling you where to go and when puzzles are unlocked or a completely unassisted mode where you have no hints whatsoever.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 tile puzzle

Line up the lines.

Even in the assisted mode, the puzzles are still pretty challenging and quite a few times you need to flick back through acquired documents to solve a riddle or open a safe. The amulet you use throughout the game relies on a three-digit pin to work and you must discover one in your surroundings every time you need to use it.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 amulet

A teleportation device or just a piece of jewellery?

Alone in the Dark Review – Graphics

For a next-gen-based re-imaging of a 30-year-old game, Alone in the Dark doesn’t seem as polished as it could be. Sure, it looks good overall, but if you take a close look at the details, it resembles that of a last gen game. Even the faces and animations of the characters just look off, which is disappointing considering this has been built from scratch.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 David Harbor graphics

David is doing his angry face!

The general design of the various levels are well laid out but you do just follow a main path with not a lot left to explore. The southern gothic theme of the 1920s is pictured perfectly as the backdrop to this horrific venture yet a lot of the weather effects still feel a bit dated.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 environment graphics

Some scenes like this one look good overall, just don’t look too close.

As for the monster design, the concept art is amazing, yet it doesn’t quite translate across to the small screen. Even though the legendary Guillermo del Toro collaborated with Pieces Interactive, a lot of the enemies just look like a person covered in seaweed and not in a cool Lovecraftian way. The variety of adversaries was a bit of a let down too with only around five common foes and a couple of interesting bosses.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 enemy design

Scenes like this were definitely spooky! 

Alone in the Dark Review – Audio

Did you know Doom Jazz was a thing? This sub-genre for horror titles really sets the thrilling atmosphere for Alone in the Dark. Composed by Jason Köhnen, the spooky jazz theme heightens the tension when walking through the numerous spooky landscapes.

Each time you venture forward, you’re greeted with an array of sounds which is a huge focus. Every footstep you take is crafted to sound what you’re walking on, gravel, wood etc with even creaking floorboards at intermittent times, truly capturing the sensation of exploring an old house. The environment also throws sounds at you, whether it be loud ticking clocks, crows or the wind making every location feel alive.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 swamp area

Time to explore the super scary swamp.

While their faces aren’t quite an exact replica, David Harbour and Jodie Comer provide an outstanding performance along with the rest of the cast. This makes the story and each cutscene a truly immersive experience.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 characters

The supporting cast are just as interesting as the two main characters!

Alone in the Dark Review – What Else?

Alone in the Dark contains a fairly straightforward narrative with no side quests, but it does contain a lot of collectables. Along with notes expanding the back story, there are also Lagniappes to find. This is the French word for “a little extra” and comes in sets of three. Each set you complete unlocks extra hidden information and even items.

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 lagniappes

Make sure you get the shotgun set!

These Lagniappes also can’t be collected all in one playthrough, you must play through as both characters to find them which will unlock the secret ending. For trophy/achievement hunters, aside from a few combat and collectable trophies you will have to do a playthrough in under 3 hours and one where you don’t use a healing item, good luck!

Alone in the Dark review PlayStation 5 church visuals

Ominous yet spectacular.

Alone in the Dark Review – Conclusion

Alone in the Dark doesn’t break new ground gameplay-wise in the horror survival genre, but the story really delves into heavy psychological horror themes. This, along with the acting and frantic characters, really is a love letter to this genre, even if it is a bit too similar to older games in some aspects.

Alone in the Dark Playstation 5 review Swamp

Is the nightmare really over though?

There are difficulty options if you want it to be more challenging or easier but the 8-10 hour playthrough will keep you more than captivated. If you are interested in seeking out what hides in the shadows then this game is for you, just maybe don’t go alone…

So, why should you play Alone in the Dark?

  • Fan of survival horror
  • Excellent and mind-bending story
  • Great music and atmosphere setting

But why shouldn’t you play Alone in the Dark?

  • Gameplay is a bit clunky
  • Graphics are not up to next-gen standard
  • Get scared easily

A review code was kindly provided by THQ Nordic and Plaion for the purpose of our Alone in the Dark review.  You can check out our latest reviews here and if you haven’t already, be sure to join the Qualbert Discord to find out about the latest game and review updates!

In this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *