Martin Burgoyne reviews White Night…
White Night is an ‘Old School’ survival-horror game, shot in a very stark black & white style with heavy film noir influences. You play a mysterious individual who crashes his car late one night after he tries to avoid an apparition in the middle of the road (sound familiar?) The game is set in the jazz soaked era of the late 1930’s and has a suitable tone to match, with narration from your own character describing events as they transpire. Think Alone In The Dark meets Hotel Dusk with a little bit of Grim Fandango thrown in for good measure.
One of the first things that you’ll notice about White Night is its incredible visual style; the Sin City-esque comic book style makes great use of the current hardware that’s on offer. There are some cool lighting effects as you explore your environments as well as some carefully placed camera angles for added spookiness… There are times when it’s SO black that it became hard to make out where your character starts and the night begins.
The sound in the game is absolutely incredible, gravel crunches as you step on it, your jacket creases as you bend down to pick up clues and matches spark with such realism that you really feel like you are in that spooky mansion yourself. When you are enveloped in the darkness for too long the camera starts to shake and a steady crescendo of music arrives which makes you desperate to light your next match! I never did find out what happens when you’re left without light for too long, nor did I want to…
The gameplay style is very much akin to games like Resident Evil where you read documents, pick up items and try to solve puzzles (Without Zombies) While there are no shuffling undead to speak of exactly, this mansion is far from Monster-free. There are spookier goings on in the form of a ghostly woman who haunts this place like she owns it or something? Your only allies are the many boxes of matches that you find littered about and electric light which can dispel the evil spirits from the area if only temporarily.
This does provide for some great puzzle solving and the game developers are really encouraging you to think outside the box here. There is very little in the way of hints or directions at anytime which does keep in line with the ‘Old School’ approach to videogames. This can be frustrating as there were several times in the game where I almost gave up after doing the same section more than ten times over. A lot of times you know what you need to do but seem unable to figure out a way of doing so.
There is a wide array of literature on display to read and by wide array I mean LOADS! The attention to detail has to be applauded I mean all of the diaries, letters, news articles (Some of which are real by the way) are so thorough that you really feel like you are trapped in a haunted library. It was sometimes a bit too much information as a lot of the articles were lengthy and very wordy, making you kind of sigh every time there was another three or four items to read in a room. If you’re somebody like myself who wants to collect every bit of information that you can, it’s a lot of work! This is a shame as the more you read the more you find out about the history of the mansion and its occupants. I just worry that a lot of players would end up leaving these books to collect dust.
Osome Studios’ debut title is dripping with atmosphere and menace, at being around 8-10 hours in length it is great value. Just a shame that the difficulty and thoroughness might put the more casual of game players off. One thing is for sure though, it has made this studio stand out like a lonely street lamp on the blackest of nights.
Great Film-noir storyline
Frustrating gameplay elements
A little bit too much to reading involved
White Night is available now on PC, Ps4 & X-Box One
Martin Burgoyne – Follow me on Twitter