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Alone in the Dark Review

Alone in the Dark

Developer: Pieces Interactive
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platforms: Xbox Series XXbox OnePlayStation 5PC (Reviewed)
Release Date: 20 Mar 2024
Price: $49.99 USD – Available Here $119.95 AUD – Available Here


What makes video games so appealing? To answer that, we cannot focus on them in general, but observe them in the context of when they were released. Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s cultural relevancy and if we throw visuals and technological advances into the mix, the list of answers can only grow. However, there is one genre of games that exists far beyond that scope. All those games need is good writing, atmosphere, and art so most of the time you have a winning recipe for a cult classic. I’m talking about horror games.

When I say horror, our mind goes to already-established titles such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, etc. However, one title came before any of those, a game that could be considered a grandfather of horror. That is Alone in the Dark series. The first release goes back to 1992 and the series jumped back and forth between consoles and PC throughout time and the latest entry that I’m looking at is back on PC. However, it is not a sequel or a spin-off but a reimagining of a 1992 cult classic. New visuals, new character design, and who knows what else is new here? Let’s find out.


Set in the gothic American South, you control one of our two protagonists: Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood. The story is penned by Mikael Hedberg, the writer of acclaimed titles such as SOMA and Amnesia. Discovering that her uncle has gone missing, Emily Hartwood goes looking for him with the help of private investigator Edward Carnby. Arriving at Derceto Manor, a home for the mentally fatigued, they encounter strange residents, portals to nightmarish worlds, and dangerous monsters. After a short introductory cutscene, you are forced to pick between one of the two protagonists for the rest of the game. To be fair, who you play doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The only things that are different and character-dependent are their interactions with other people and internal dialogue when trying to solve puzzles.

Soon enough, you meet plenty of other inhabitants in and around Derceto Manor and you get a strange feeling that something is wrong. No one acts right and a lot of nightmarish ghouls appear after the sun sets. Throw in some puzzles, portals to other dimensions, some Lovecraftian lore and you have a good recipe for an engaging horror game.


The gameplay consists of distinct sections of talking, shooting, and puzzle solving and the way all of those are presented doesn’t leave much room for unexpected. After you roam the streets outside of Derceto Manor and shoot at some monsters, you’ll either be thrown into some investigation segment again (consisting of mainly talking to other characters) or puzzle-solving. There is nothing else in between, everything is pretty much on the nose regarding what will happen next. When it comes to shooting, controls are a bit still and there is inexplicably high recoil when shooting at pretty much anything.

There is a plethora of puzzles throughout the game but a lot of them can be explored by thoroughly examining the area where they’re in and reading the case files. Then it’s just a simple matter of putting the two and two together. Exploration is made simple once you acquire the map of every area, after that everything is marked appropriately; locked doors, sealed doors, puzzles, stairs, and so on. Running in circles is something that will rarely happen when playing this reimagining of Alone in the Dark.


While the game looks good and the character controls are intuitive and not still like the shooting, I feel like the color palette of the game could be somewhat expanded. The whole color range of the game could be explained as “50 Shades of Brown” and frankly, this is something I haven’t seen since the age of generic military shooters from the age of 2000. On the other hand, motion capturing for our protagonists seems to be done right, they feel lifelike when interacting with others and not like they come from an uncanny valley of stiff movements and dead eyes.

Other than that, the set pieces and level design is incredible. The Dorceto Manor is complex and elaborate but at the same time, it doesn’t feel like you’re constantly going through a labyrinth. The swamp-like exterior of the game emphasizes the gothic of the American South that the developers were trying to convey. Notable mention goes to a magnificently disgusting monster design. The larva-deformed enemies at the start of the game are brilliant in all of their repugnant design, it feels like there is a hostile and unnatural life on top of what they’re used to be. The good thing is (or bad, depending on how you look at it) that the enemies come in great variety and are more disgusting and repulsive as the game goes on.


If there is one thing that Alone in the Dark excels at, it’s the sound design and voice acting. David Harbour and Jodie Comer did the job masterfully and their dialogue with others never feels forced or that they’re just there for the paycheck. Also, there are not many games that utilize the genre of doom jazz so brilliantly and we can thank none other than Jason Kohnen (of the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble fame) for that. The gloomy and eerie notes of the decrepit South will put your anxiety to the limits while you’re exploring the otherworldly swamps outside of Derceto Manor.


While the game stumbles in terms of shooting controls and lackluster coloring, it excels in plenty of other areas. The atmosphere is superb, the soundtrack is unique and something that you can rarely experience in other horror games, and both David Harbour and Jodie Comer give superb performances. Alone in the Dark is an unpolished gem for sure, but it’s the one worthy of your attention. And if you’re still on the fence about hitting the purchase button or not, the developers have put a neat prologue of the game on Steam here. It acts as a short prequel for the game and delves deeper into the story and connection of Jeremy and his niece Emily Hartwood. And best of all – it’s completely free.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


While this reimagining of the 1992 cult classic is lacking on some fronts, it makes up for the superb and unsettling atmosphere sprinkled throughout the whole game all while being a strong love letter to the original.
Admir Brkic
Admir Brkic
I play video games from time to time and sometimes they manage to elicit a reaction from me that I can't help but to write about them.
While this reimagining of the 1992 cult classic is lacking on some fronts, it makes up for the superb and unsettling atmosphere sprinkled throughout the whole game all while being a strong love letter to the original.Alone in the Dark Review