Lone Survivor Director’s Cut Review
Lone Survivor makes PS3 less … Lonely
Lone Survivor was first released on PC, Linux and Mac by Jasper Byrne last year and has since been ported over to PS3. It features a “Lone Survivor”, a plush cat toy and some really bald, really annoying monsters. It’s a side-scrolling, loot grabbin’, pistol shootin’, horror survivin’ psychological thriller taking place in a dystopian city where a plague has ravaged mankind and left the monsters in its wake.
Lone Survivor follows the story of the survivor of a deadly plague that has turned people into monsters or killed them outright. He wears a surgical mask to avoid infection and is well…bat-poop crazy. Throughout the game the survivor encounters things that make the player question his sanity, for instance it’s actually possible to converse with a cat, and mind you, it’s not even a real one – it’s a plush toy. He also encounters strange things like A Man Wearing a Box, which is his actual name, by the way. He also faces the monsters (which I assume are the former populace) who are tall, bald, shrieking nightmares that you will learn to hide from rather than repeatedly run at them like I did – not wise.
The gameplay in Lone Survivor is a straightforward 2D side-scrolling-based survival-horror thriller. It also contains extra elements like an added dimension – it gives you the option to go into hidey holes to escape the less than amorous attentions of the horrible, bald monsters, that are on the loose. This literally adds a new dimension as it gives you the option to go back and forward and side-to-side. It has a pretty intuitive inventory system that’s straightforward and easy to use. It displays all your items in classes down the left and gives you a side scroll menu to choose your items from –easy huh? The only problem I encountered with it is that I couldn’t drop multiple items all at once, so usually I would have to stand there for a good 30 seconds dropping a few items from the same stack that I didn’t want.
The combat is fairly decent, although dying is a bitch. Not because you have to start the level again and lose progress or anything; those are forgivable reasons. I hate dying because of the awful death screen. I’ll explain that in just a minute. You get a whole set of controls dedicated to wielding your trusty pistol to fight off all the baldy monsters. As comes with the territory the ammo is scarce so use wisely.
Graphics & Sound
The sound in Lone Survivor is good in most places, although there are a few really annoying bits that made me irritable just listening to them. And the death screen, oh the death screen: a combination of sound and sight that made me grit my teeth in annoyance. The screen goes bright red and plays a long and loud whine. It’s unnecessary and uncomfortable to watch. The developer put in the “ritual” – a set of instructions on how to best enjoy the game. I did like that about Lone Survivor, however, usually devs don’t take into account the real-world atmosphere for a game and lose out on immersion due to it. There’s no recorded dialogue in Lone Survivor, as you would expect from an indie title. The game handles the tutorials and story with text based entries on the screen – while basic, I always prefer to have subtitles on anyway so it works for me.
The visuals are excellently laid out, the pixel graphics give it an old and vintage feel, but still maintains the horror/ thriller aspect with clever use of lighting. The lighting is used to awesome effect with the side-scrolling nature of the game. Basically, the player has a light attached to them revealing limited amounts of space around him, meaning that whatever is ahead or behind is in total darkness and you can’t see anything unless you’re right on top of it. It adds a nice thrill to the game as well it should.
The game is a port from PC & Mac, so it’s been around for a while this and pre-dates this release by about a year or so. I got the PC version of the game for a basis of comparison and found that other than the obvious graphical differences and some control changes, it was pretty much the same game, aside from a bevy of extras. In the first playthrough, there are two additional locations, a new side-quest, and easter-eggs, and in the New Game plus mode, there are two new endings, 6 additional locations, 3 new songs, 20 new items, 2 new side-quests, a new enemy, and a buttload of even more easter eggs. So all-in-all, a good port with some decent extras.
So far the only major issues I’ve encountered have been some laggy transitions from inventory to gameplay in which the inventory sticks for a second or two.
The gameplay and story are intriguing and definitely worth a look, and the graphics are so well done that I would have to recommend that you buy this game! The only issue is the sound; it doesn’t stand well with the rest of the game and therefore drags it down somewhat. But otherwise it’s a solid title with a lot of merit within it’s genre, and all the more reason for you to stop reading this review, and to go check out Lone Survivor.