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Game Review: Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor is an atmospheric, side-scrolling survival horror game that will inevitably draw comparisons to Silent Hill but you’ll quickly discover the chilling soundtrack and distinctive graphics make it very much its own monster. Here’s my two cents:

In the same week that Lone Survivor was released producer of Resident Evil: Revelations, Masachika Kawata, told Gamasutra the market for traditional survival horror just wasn’t large enough to warrant Capcom returning their series to its roots. That means no more mansions, no more mixing herbs and no more rabid dogs jumping through windows – sigh. Luckily for us, indie developer Japer Byrne has captured enough of the atmosphere from early survival horror games, particularly Silent Hill, to have me forget about the depressing future of Resident Evil and get on board with new projects from indie developers.

Lone Survivor begins by having you take control of a nameless man simply entitled “you.” From there on out it’s up to you to figure out why the apartment complex is filled with 10 ft. twitching white monsters and why the hell this doomsday event is happening to you.
To do that you’ll have to navigate the halls of the complex, sneaking past monsters, collecting food and water and trying to work out where reality ends and the hallucinations begin. Figuring this out doesn’t take place at breakneck speed, thankfully, and the game actively rewards you for spending your time surviving, cooking and gathering resources than it does for popping caps in the asses of various monsters – though if that takes your fancy you can do that too.

That’s because this game is all about atmosphere and Jasper Byrne has created it using unusual pixelated and equally beautiful two-dimensional graphics as well as an incredible attention to music. Let me give you an example, when you’re wandering down a corridor listening to muffled jazz play through the walls and all of a sudden a wrenching static burst erupts into earshot, and alerts you to the monster that is up ahead, can only be compared to something like fingernails on a chalk board. It makes your grate your teeth. This is where Lone Survivor really succeeds; it gets under your skin, plants a seed and then makes you itch. It’s not outright scary but, like a ghostly figure staring out of a window, really puts your hair on end.

Overall, Lone Survivor is what exactly what every modern survival horror game wants to be – Dead Space and Amnesia aside – and what every survival horror fan wants to play. It’s also the only two-dimensional game I can think of that after turning out the lights left me tucked up under the blankets feeling awkward. For £6.50 it is absolutely unmissable.

This article was brought to you by Mick Finn, a dedicated gamer, blogger and all-round tech enthusiast. For more info on Lone Survivor or Silent Hill Check out Grainger Games. Follow Grainger Games on twitter and be the first to find out about new PC, XBOX and PS3 games.

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