Darkwater is the symbol of gloom: a seaside town where whale hunting makes the local economy end miserably for its lack of primary material. An unhealthy place stinking of rotten fish mingled with the rot of its inhabitants: rude, grumpy and uncooperative.
From the beginning, we confront the closure of this small town in New England, with its mysteries, where finding information becomes almost impossible. Among various tricks and a good dose of street crime, we will finally reach the Hawkins Villa.
It will not take long to discover that behind the death of the family is a lot more hidden — a secret society devoted to the cult of the Ancients, ignoble sacrifices to meet the blasphemous appetites of extraterrestrial gods filthy and corrupt.
But above all the madness, that unclean need to explore forbidden recesses of consciousness that drives humans to be less to its nature, letting the unspeakable horror creep into their minds, twisting, disturbing, disintegrating from the ground in front of monsters too vile to be told in the sunlight.
In this slow and inexorable descent into the abyss, we will make our own choices. We can read blasphemous tomes and deepen the knowledge of the occult, or try to preserve our sanity and balance remains the last glimmer of light in the darkness of horror that should not be revealed.
All the while, we will discover the truth behind the Hawkins family and ride to one of the four final outputs of the game.
The game is a first-person adventure piece: a broad area of roleplaying with experience points to collect, enhance skills and enrich linear exploration. The play areas are vast but only in appearance, but chapter after chapter it’s clear that the maps are quite limited both in extent and in the number of interactions.
A new attractive and interactive news is the management of ‘madness’. During our exploration we will encounter incredible events, at the edge of comprehension; and often we’ll read banned books, that in turn affects our mental health.
It will be the player’s decision on how much to linger in the exploration of what should not be revealed, choosing to satisfy our curiosity or safeguard our reasoning.
On the one hand, it is an undeniable creative effort made by developers to create a cosmology, the Lovecraft ones, indeed fascinating but very difficult to achieve graphically.
After all, the situation is presented as ‘unspeakable’, ‘indefinable’ and ‘incomprehensible’. I challenge anyone to say that the reconstruction work is smooth.
In the game there is no general attention to detail, the soundtrack is just mentioned resulting in it not being incisive. In the characters there is missing a marked variety, faces and animations are poorly maintained.
The master is undoubtedly the narrative, but the adventure lacks sandbox, and components are only hinted. The description is fascinating but not disturbing; however, the story is pleasant to follow, but without twists that leaves the sensation of discomfort, anxiety and wrong feeling that has always accompanied H.P. Lovecraft’s books.
Photo by Gautier Salles on Unsplash