Villordsutch reviews Slender: The Arrival…
It seems strange but it was only a few years back that Slender was born. It was over at Something Awful forums back in 2009 that this malevolent faceless figure was spawned by the SA forum user Victor Surge (RL name Eric Knudsen); this went on to generate a number of rather amazing YouTube videos of grown adults breaking down in absolute fear whilst playing games staring this new urban legend like Slender: 8 Pages and Slender: The Arrival. Well now thanks to Blue Isle Studios us Next-Gen machine owners finally get the chance to be scared out of our wits.
It’s clear that this port over of Slender: The Arrival is meant to please owners of the shiny new black boxes straight away as the game looks fantastic. You’re instantly transported to a hazy autumn evening in an American wooded area, the birds are lazily chirping in the distance and the breeze is moving across the ground. This is all quite fantastic as your shadow is cast across the floor and you see yourself with camcorder in hand. You need to make sure your headset is on to ensure that you’re fully absorbing what Blue Isle Studios have put into the atmosphere of this game, especially when you turn the corner and the sun finally dips behind the hills and you suddenly enter the realms of the Slender; any odd noise will have you flipping and looking in the corner of your own home.
Separated into numerous levels and with different play styles it’s here unfortunately the game may actually lose any new arrivals after a few repeat plays. For old hats at the Slender games we are more than aware of the different game styles of the Slender series so we know what to expect however even I found myself – due to the lack of any narrative in the game – wandering lost in the first level looking for something to do. Occasionally you’ll find a piece of the games jigsaw-like story that will eventually mean something as a whole, but as you’re a permanently silent character during the game – there is no feedback being given at all – it’s a fairly empty game to play.
The other problem is the games loses its “scare”. Yes on the initial appearance of the Slender or The Chaser etc. you’re freaked out, but after 20 minutes or so of running through the same woods looking for Page 8 of 8, being the Human Mouse to the randomly appearing Slender Cat, it becomes nothing more than a frustrating game. This and when the torch refuses to stop the Chaser – once again – in the mine you want to scream at the television as the cards are clearly stacked against you and you’re feeling like progression is something you are unlikely to achieve here.
There are other minor issues stopping Slender: The Arrival feeling real e.g. walking into the children’s swings and they don’t move, the grass on the ground sometimes feeling 4ft high, your path being blocked by a small rock in the floor, and the camcorder view finder going off the screen; minor I know but they are frustrating and distract you.
For major fans of the Slender series both the audio and visual achievements of this game are two big reasons to consider buying this, especially at its low price. If you’re new to the Slender world be aware you will be wandering around lost and frustrated in between the moments of panic when your screen flickers; you’ll also be more frustrated when you find out the game can be completed in under an hour.
N.B. This version of Slender: The Arrival was reviewed on the PS4
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.