Alone in the dark is back with its most lovecraftian experience to date.

Alone in the dark, A series which I hold very dear. I can still remember entering that house in the nineties, encountering a monster for the first time (learning from friends in the schoolyard that you could trap the monster before my second playthrough), feeling that constant dread and wondering what is around every corner. Finally, Alone in the Dark returns to its roots and what a way they manage to do it.

It all starts with a frog

The game starts out, as the first game, with a frog on the road. But this time around it’s with David Harbour as good old Edward Carnby and with Jodie Comer as Emily Hartwood. While the original gets going from the start, this game takes its time, slowly building up the game’s atmosphere. Right from the start, you get to choose if you want to play as Edward or Emily. And while most of the scenarios and stuff you do are identical, the cutscenes and almost a whole chapter differ between the two, making a second playthrough well worth it.

Modern or Old school?

The game offers up three standard levels of difficulty followed by a more interesting modern or old school mode. In the modern mode, you get hints making it hard to get stuck anywhere, the map fills up with icons such as locked doors and puzzles as you encounter them. While I’m never a big fan of a cluttered map, Alone in the Dark manages to add these things in a way which only heightens my experience and never makes the map cluttered, think of it more as a board game with tiles planted at interaction points. If you choose the old school mode, you will get no markers or hints at all, it is up to you to find and figure everything out. This sort of mode is something I would like to see more often in video games in general but especially in horror games.

Lovecraft is back!

The story in Alone in the Dark is as Lovecraftian as you can get. In short, Carnby is the detective Hartwood hired to find her uncle. The thing about her uncle is that he has gone missing from an asylum where he thinks all the people working there are part of a big cult. The inspiration from Lovecraft is present throughout the game with paintings to get lost in, creatures from another dimension, and beings bigger than all of us. Being a huge fan of Lovecraft myself, the story, setting, characters, and atmosphere really resonate with me. It’s been a long time since a studio managed to capture that Lovecraftian feeling in a video game, which can be found here. Most things in the game are also very well written, from notes and books you find lying around (which are also fully voiced with great acting), to the overarching story, to the very weird and interesting side characters.

Feels like playing Mansion of Madness

The game is filled with clues to find to progress your story, collectibles to collect, and puzzles to solve, which most often come in the form of sliding puzzles. All of this, combined with the story and how the main house the game takes place in opens up the more you play, makes Alone in the Dark feel a lot like the board game Mansion of Madness, which just happens to be a big favorite of mine and therefore a huge compliment to Alone in the Dark. Even the music in the game, which is perfect for the atmosphere and horror of the game, reminds me a lot of the music from the companion app to Mansion of Madness.

Not really alone

For a game called Alone in the Dark, you’re really not that alone in the game. But somehow, it really works well. To be fair, most of the time you’re really stumbling around in the dark in various places alone with the occasional monster, and when you finally meet another human, it is with a combination of relief of not being alone anymore and skepticism since there might be something those characters are not telling you. While the characters are mostly well-written and intriguing, they often feel pretty stiff in their looks and animations, with eyes going haywire at times and textures fading together in a blur.

Buggy an janky at times

While the animations often remind you of this being more of an AA game than a big AAA game, it is not the game’s only fault. I have encountered numerous bugs while playing, and the two most frequent ones have been: cracks in the walls letting in the light from what I guess is the skybox, really breaking the illusion of finding myself in the different locations the game will take me. The second most common one has been getting stuck in various places. It can be in everything from a sidewalk ledge, gardening box to the rail on the stairs. There was no way out of these places, which led to me having to load a save.

Short but Sweet

My first playthrough of Alone in the Dark took around 8 hours, with me trying to explore most nooks and crannies but not all. This seems like a perfect length for this kind of game. If it had been longer, it would likely have overstayed its welcome, and if it had been shorter, I might have felt robbed. The second playthrough, in which I played as Emily, took me less than three hours since I knew all the puzzles and where to go. This also seemed like a good length, considering most of the game was the same. I would have liked the different characters to have had much more different campaigns, both in story and gameplay, similar to how Resident Evil 2 did it, even though Alone in the Dark is almost there on that point.

Filled with love

Alone in the Dark is filled with love towards the original game. From the opening frog to the music, environment, and even a locked camera in one scene, it really gave me warm and nostalgic feelings. This new restart of Alone in the Dark is also a love letter and a sort of best-of collection of Lovecraft’s work. Not only are the main characters, story, and monsters taken from his best work, but also the different locations you visit are spot-on locations from various Lovecraft novels and short stories.


Alone in the Dark is a buggy experience where it really shows at times that this isn’t a AAA budget game. But it is also a game filled with love in so many ways, love for the original Alone in the Dark, love for the work of Lovecraft, love for the horror genre, and even some love for board games. With its interesting story, amazing soundtrack, and an atmosphere that few horror games manage to get as right as Alone in the Dark does. If you can look past the flaws of Alone in the Dark this is a game you really should play.

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